The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHARD LEON, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiffs, Elisa Lyles and Tom Mark ("the plaintiffs"),
brought this action seeking damages for civil rights violations
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and various civil torts against the the
District of Columbia, individual police officers, and their next
door neighbors, John and Ellen Micenko ("the Micenkos"). See
Pls.' Am. Compl. The Micenkos have moved for summary judgment.
Upon consideration of the parties' submissions and the entire
record herein, the Court GRANTS the defendants' motion.*fn1
In 1999, the parties resided in adjoining townhomes that shared
a common facade in the Capitol Hill section of the city. Defs.'
Statement of Facts ¶ 2; Pls.' Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. ¶ 1. Starting with a house painting dispute in July
1999, disputes constantly arose between Ms. Lyles and Mrs.
Micenko across a wide range of issues. Defs.' Statement of Facts
¶¶ 4-5; Pls.' Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. ¶ 1. The
acrimonious relationship culminated on or about August 20, 1999,
with a dispute concerning the removal of an oil tank from the
back of the Micenkos' property, which necessitated the
involvement of Metropolitan Police Department Officers ("MPD").
Defs.' Statement of Facts ¶ 7; Pls.' Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. for
Summ. J. ¶¶ 2-6. According to the plaintiffs, the MPD on that
occasion forced Ms. Lyles to stay at home as the police and the
Micenkos determined whether the oil tank could be removed from
the defendants' backyard through the plaintiffs' backyard. Pls.'
Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23-36; Pl. Lyles Dep. ¶¶ 27-32, 99-118. Plaintiffs
allege in their complaint that the MPD and the Micenkos
"intentionally and maliciously conspired" to intimidate the
plaintiffs concerning these various disputes. Pls. Am. Compl. ¶
51. Plaintiffs also allege that Ms. Lyles was arrested the next
day by the MPD and held for two days by MPD on felony assault
charges based on false allegations by the Micenkos that Ms. Lyles
attempted to hit Mrs. Micenko with a copper pipe.*fn2 Id.
at ¶¶ 40-49; Pls.' Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. ¶ 15. According to the plaintiffs, the
police had no probable cause to arrest Ms. Lyles. As a result of
her arrest and detention and subsequent prosecution for assault,
the plaintiffs allege that Ms. Lyles suffered from post-traumatic
stress disorder which adversely affected their marriage. Pls.'
Am. Compl. ¶¶ 58-60, 72-74. Plaintiffs also contend that
defendants defamed the plaintiffs by telling the surrounding
neighbors that Ms. Lyles was "crazy." Pls.' Am. Compl. ¶¶
The plaintiffs filed a suit in this Court on December 14, 2000
seeking monetary damages from the Micenkos for false arrest,
false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress,
malicious prosecution, slander and defamation, gross negligence,
negligent infliction of emotional distress and loss of
consortium. The Micenkos have moved for summary judgment as to
Counts IV (i.e., Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress), V
(i.e., Malicious Prosecution), VI (i.e., Slander and Defamation)
and IX (i.e., Loss of Consortium) of the amended
complaint.*fn4 The Court will address each of these counts separately and for the following reasons, GRANTS summary judgment
to each of those counts, and Count VIII (i.e., Negligent
Infliction of Emotional Distress).
Summary Judgment is appropriate when the pleadings and the
record demonstrate that "there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment
as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see also Celotex v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Diamond v. Atwood,
43 F.3d 1538, 1540 (D.C. Cir. 1995). To determine which facts are
"material," a Court must look to the substantive law on which
each claims rests. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A "genuine issue" is one whose resolution could
establish an element of a claim or defense and, therefore, affect
the outcome of the action. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322;
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Additionally, to be a genuine issue
of fact, it must be supported by sufficient admissible evidence
such that a reasonable trier of fact could find for the
nonmovant. See Laningham v. United States Navy, 813 F.2d 1236,
1242-43 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
The moving party bears the initial burden of "identifying those
portions of the `pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrates the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact." See Celotex,
477 U.S. at 323-24. In order to prevail on its motion for summary judgment,
the movant must show that the nonmovant "fail[ed] to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of
proof at trial." Id. at 322.
In opposing summary judgment, the "nonmoving party [must] go
beyond the pleadings and by [its] own affidavits, or by the
`admissions on file,' designate `specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 324. The Court must
view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmovant,
giving the nonmovant the benefit of all justifiable inferences
derived from the evidence in the record. Anderson,
477 U.S. at 255 (1986). The nonmovant, however, must establish more than "the
mere existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of its
position. Id. at 252. However, it may not rely solely on
allegations or conclusory statements. Greene v. Dalton,
164 F.3d 671, 675 (D.C. Cir. 1999); Harding v. Gray, 9 F.3d 150,
154 (D.C. Cir. 1993). The nonmovant must present specific facts
that would enable a reasonable jury to find in its favor.
Greene, 164 F.3d at 675. If the evidence presented "is merely
colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment
may be granted." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50.
However, a court ruling on summary judgment motions must not
determine the credibility of witnesses or weigh material facts
legitimately in dispute. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255
("[c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and
the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury
functions, not those of a judge"); Exxon v. Fed. Trade Comm'n,
663 F.2d 120, 126 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (holding that the function of
the court is to determine whether relevant factual controversy
exists; it is not to make determinations of contested fact) (emphasis added). The drawing of inferences is
the jury's function so long as the competing inferences are
reasonable under the law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
B. Count IV: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Plaintiffs' allege that the defendants' conduct of initiating
the complaint with the MPD that led to Ms. Lyles' arrest,
incarceration and subsequent criminal trial, for a crime that Ms.
Lyles maintains she never committed, caused her severe emotional
distress. Pls.' Am. Compl. ¶¶ 58-60. However, after reviewing
both parties' motions and accompanying documents in support of
their positions, the Court finds that plaintiffs have failed to
establish that the conduct of the defendants rose to the
necessary level of "outrageousness" or that plaintiff suffered
the necessary "severe emotional distress" and, therefore, grants
defendants motion for summary judgment as to this count.
To prove a claim of intentional infliction of emotional
distress, "a plaintiff must show (1) extreme and outrageous
conduct on the part of the defendant which (2) intentionally or
recklessly (3) causes the plaintiff' severe emotional distress.'"
Larijani v. Georgetown Univ., 791 A.2d 41, 44 (D.C. 2002). The
conduct alleged must be "so outrageous in character, and so
extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of
decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable
in a civilized community." Homan v. Goyal, 711 A.2d 812, 818
(D.C. 1998) (quoting Drejza v. Vaccaro, 650 A.2d 1308, 1316
(D.C. 1994). Liability does not extend to "mere insults,
indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions, or other