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Smith v. Hope Village

April 12, 2007

CAROL SMITH, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF ERIKA SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HOPE VILLAGE, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reggie B. Walton United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Carol Smith brings this action against Hope Village, Inc. ("the defendant" or "Hope Village"), a privately-operated facility that "provide[s] halfway house services to offenders in the District of Columbia," for compensatory and punitive damages arising from the murder of her daughter, Erika Smith, by Anthony Kelly, a convicted felon and former Hope Village resident. Complaint ("Compl.") ¶ 7. On July 26, 2006, the Court granted the defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings as to Count II of the complaint, the plaintiff's wrongful death claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Procedure 12(c). Order at 6. Currently before the Court is the defendant's motion ("Def.'s Mot.")*fn1 for judgment on the pleadings, or in the alternative for summary judgment, on the plaintiff's remaining claim, a survival action filed on behalf of her daughter's estate. Def.'s Mot. at 1. Also before the Court is the plaintiff's motion ("Pl.'s Mot.") to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), which asks the Court to reconsider its July 26, 2006 Order dismissing the plaintiff's wrongful death claim. Pl.'s Mot. at 1. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings or in the alternative for summary judgment and grants the plaintiff's motion to alter or amend judgment.

I. Background

The plaintiff alleges the following facts in support of her complaint.*fn2 In August 1996, Anthony Quentin Kelly was convicted "for pointing a loaded gun at the head of a woman, threatening to kill her and her husband, and driving a stolen car," Pl.'s Opp. at 4; see also Compl. ¶ 8; Pl.'s Opp., Exhibit ("Ex.") 3 (Presentence Report for Anthony Kelly) ("Presentence Report") at 2, and sentenced to a ten year and six month term of incarceration in federal prison, Pl.'s Opp. at 4. Kelly is a repeat offender with a long and checkered criminal history, including an arrest for escaping from a halfway house, an indictment for making felony threats, and multiple prior convictions for, inter alia, burglary and the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.*fn3 Pl.'s Opp. at 5; see also Presentence Report at 3-6 (detailing Kelly's criminal record); Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 8 (January 28, 2003 memorandum from Assistant United States Attorney Michael Britton to attorney John McCarthy) ("Britton Memo") at 2-3 (summarizing Kelly's criminal record and stating that "[h]e has been convicted of thirteen crimes[,] eleven felonies and two misdemeanors[,] . . . which stem from six separate criminal cases"); Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 9 (Affidavit of Dr. Mario Paparozzi, Ph.D) ("Paparozzi Aff.") ¶ 50 (stating that "[t]he record shows that Anthony Kelly was a known violent criminal offender who frequently engaged in theft, burglaries, and other property crimes, as well as violent crime, including with a loaded gun"); Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 25 (June 27, 2001 decision of United States Parole Commission) ("Parole Decision") at 1 (noting Kelly's prior convictions).*fn4 On December 12, 2001, after serving approximately five years of his sentence, Kelly was transferred from prison to Hope Village, a halfway house located in the District of Columbia. Compl. ¶ 9; Def.'s Mem. at 3; Pl.'s Opp. at 4.

Hope Village is a private facility that contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), among other entities, to provide transitional services and housing to various correctional populations, including felons such as Kelly who have been convicted of violent crimes. Compl. ¶¶ 7, 10; see also Pl.'s Opp. at 4 (stating that "[Hope Village] is a private, for-profit, community-based correctional facility . . . responsible for supervising criminal offenders while it was determined whether they would be released on parole"); Paparozzi Aff. ¶ 16 (stating that "halfway houses are required to provide correctional and paroling authorities with the information necessary to make determinations regarding release or reincarceration by closely watching and reporting how inmates adjust as the restraints and degree of supervision of prison confinement are lessened"). According to the plaintiff, "[t]he purpose of programs like [Hope Village] [is] to provide an opportunity for offenders to demonstrate, while under constant scrutiny, that they might safely be returned to the community . . . without reasonable fear for the safety of local citizens." Pl.'s Opp. at 9; see also Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 6 (BOP January 2000 Comprehensive Sanctions Center Statement of Work) ("SOW") at 0 (stating that "[t]he mission of [facilities such as Hope Village] is to protect society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of . . . community-based facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient[,] and appropriately secure, [while] provid[ing] work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens"); Paparozzi Aff. ¶ 16 (stating that "[t]he primary mission of . . . private correctional organizations[] like Hope Village . . . is to ensure public safety while safely transitioning inmates from incarceration back to their communities, or returning inmates to prison when they are not fit for community release"). In order to accomplish these goals, halfway houses such as Hope Village are required, upon the admission of each resident, to "review available documents[] [such as] Judgment/Commitment Order[s] from the sentencing [c]court[s], criminal records, [and] presentence investigation reports[] for any indication that an offender has a history of . . . violent or escape behavior." SOW at 36; see also Pl.'s Opp. at 8; Paparozzi Aff. ¶ 26 (stating that halfway houses must "take into account the specific history and characteristics of each individual inmate in order to provide adequate supervision and monitoring, and to protect the community from foreseeable conduct"). While at Hope Village, Kelly remained an inmate under the care and custody, if not the direct supervision, of the BOP. Paparozzi Aff. ¶ 19 (stating that "Anthony Kelly was an inmate under the care and custody of the [BOP] when he was serving his sentence at Hope Village"); see also SOW at 0 (stating that facilities such as Hope Village "provide[] comprehensive community-based services for offenders . . . who are in the custody of the BOP, United States Attorney General, or under the supervision of the United States Probation Office"); Paparozzi Aff. ¶ 17 (stating that "[i]nmates placed in halfway houses are still under the custody of the prison system governing the jurisdiction of their sentence").

Kelly resided at Hope Village from December 2001 until March 2002. Def.'s Mem. at 3; Pl.'s Opp. at 5. During this four-month period, the plaintiff alleges (1) that Hope Village was negligent in its supervision of Kelly, "failing to review or take into account [his] history of violence and escape," Pl.'s Opp. at 8, and overlooking or disregarding his numerous violations of the conditions of his confinement there; and (2) that through this negligence and inaction, Hope Village was ultimately responsible for Kelly's improper and untimely release into the community, where he was free to commit violent criminal acts. Id. at 5-19; Compl. ¶¶ 10-12. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that during Kelly's tenure at Hope Village, he "openly violated the terms of his conditional release to [Hope Village] by failing to secure employment as required, submitting to [Hope Village] facially false (and inadequate) documentation to facilitate his release to the community, and spending his days of 'confinement' roaming the community freely, committing acts of crime." Pl.'s Opp. at 5; see also Compl. ¶¶ 10-12. The plaintiff asserts that although these violations were known or should reasonably have been known by Hope Village, the facility "never disciplined Kelly, never reported his actions to the appropriate federal agencies, and never recommended his return to federal custody for violating the conditions of his release to the halfway house." Pl.'s Opp. at 6 (emphases omitted); see id. at 8 (alleging that Hope Village "failed to review or take account of Kelly's history of violence and escape . . . [or] report to the government significant verifiable facts regarding Kelly's noncompliance with employment and payment obligations"); see also Paparozzi Aff. ¶ 19 (opining that "had Hope Village reported Kelly's violations [to the BOP] when they occurred . . . Kelly would have been returned to prison and his parole date rescinded"). The plaintiff also contends that Hope Village negligently contributed to Kelly's parole when it, inter alia, "knowingly submitted erroneous documentation to the government that Kelly had met all conditions for release . . . execut[ed] the documentation which permitted Kelly to be released[,] . . . [and] recommend[ed] to federal authorities that Kelly be released to the community." Pl.'s Opp. at 6. Finally, the plaintiff alleges that Hope Village failed, in a manner that amounts to massive and large-scale institutional indifference and incompetence, to provide basic levels of facility security and resident oversight or to otherwise "exercise reasonable care to ensure that its residents did not, as a result of [Hope Village's] own action or inaction, cause harm to innocent members of the community."*fn5 Id. at 7; see also id. at 7-17 (describing numerous and endemic failures to properly supervise residents), 18 (alleging that "[Hope Village's] failures . . . pervaded every aspect of the company's operation, from its hiring and staffing decisions to its monitoring protocols to its reporting functions"). Significantly, the defendant does not attempt to rebut, nor does it even address, any of the plaintiff's allegations regarding either (1) the failure of Hope Village to properly supervise Kelly or report his repeated violations of the conditions of his release; (2) the role of Hope Village in improperly recommending and facilitating Kelly's release into the community; or (3) the general inability of Hope Village "to abide by comprehensive rules and requirements designed to ensure the accountability of [Hope Village] and its residents[] and the protection of the outside community," Pl.'s Opp. at 7, including the pervasive inadequacy of facility security, daily monitoring and supervision of residents, and staffing levels and training. See generally Def.'s Mem.; Def.'s Reply; see also Def.'s Mem. at 3 (contending that "[t]he matters at issue in this [m]otion are purely legal"); Def.'s Reply at 1 (identifying as the central issue of the case whether "a halfway house owe[s] a duty to unknown parties with whom it has no relationship for harm caused by an offender previously housed at the halfway [house] approximately [five months] prior to the offender's harmful act").

One example of Hope Village's alleged failure to properly supervise Kelly is particularly instructive. Hope Village residents are required to secure full-time, gainful employment during their time at the facility, subject to ongoing verification by Hope Village staff, as part of their transition back into the community.*fn6 Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 7 (Hope Village Policies and Procedures Manual) ("PPM") at 74; see also SOW at 43-44. Among other conditions related to this requirement, residents (1) may not be employed by family members; (2) must always be available by phone at their work site; (3) must account for all hours spent at work; and (4) must remain at Hope Village to see their employment counselor on any day on which they are not actively employed. PPM at 74-77. Furthermore, Hope Village policy states that "[i]f the resident's work day is cut short . . ., they must return immediately to the facility." Id. at 76. Failure to comply with any of these conditions should result in the creation of an incident report and a possible recommendation to the BOP that the resident's parole status be rescinded and that he be reincarcerated. See PPM at 77 (stating that if Hope Village discovers that a resident has violated the terms of his employment, "an incident report must be immediately initiated"); see also id. at 74, 76; Pl.'s Opp. at 16. In addition, any resident who "fails to remain at [his] approved place of employment . . . during the hours specified by the terms of their employment" is considered to be on "escape." SOW at 94; see also PPM at 125 (stating that "[a]n escape is defined as any unauthorized absence from a program assignment without a verifiable or justifiable reason"). In the event of an escape, Hope Village is required to "immediately notify" the BOP if the escaped resident is not located within twenty minutes. SOW at 95. Hope Village must also "prepare an incident report and conduct a disciplinary hearing in the [escapee's] absence." Id. Residents who have been placed on "escape" status are also documented in a written incident report and are subsequently subject to reincarceration. Id. at 94-95; see also Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 5 (Deposition of Joseph Wilmer) ("Wilmer Dep.") at 111-12 (stating that if a resident "signed out for 40 hours . . . and [gets] paid for 32, something's wrong because [he's] missing for 8 hours. . . . [T]hat's an escape[, and if the resident has no legitimate explanation for the discrepancy, he would] be written up for an escape, [there would be a] recommendation of termination, and then [the case] goes to the [BOP] to see what they're going to do").*fn7

Kelly supposedly secured a full-time landscaping position in January 2002, shortly after he arrived at Hope Village. Pl.'s Opp. at 13. However, the plaintiff alleges, and the defendant does not dispute, that Kelly failed to comply with the terms of his employment in a number of ways. Pl.'s Opp. at 10-17. First, the plaintiff contends that Kelly's purported employer was his stepfather, an arrangement forbidden by Hope Village policies. Id. at 13, 16; see also Pl.'s Stmt. at 7 (alleging that "[Hope Village] staff failed to make any inquiry regarding the relationship between Kelly and his purported employer"). Second, the plaintiff claims that the "documentation provided by Kelly to prove his employment was facially inadequate," Pl.'s Stmt. at 7, and reflected only thirty-two hours of work during Kelly's entire time at Hope Village, Pl.'s Opp. at 16; Wilmer Dep. at 250-56 (examining Kelly's pay stub, which reflected four days of eight-hour employment over a two-week period). Under the relevant regulations, this discrepancy alone was, or should have been, sufficient to put Hope Village on notice that Kelly was not working his full allotment of hours and that he should be considered to be on "escape" status. SOW at 94-95; see also Pl.'s Opp. at 16 (stating that "the pay stubs and subsistence receipts[] in Kelly's file . . . were so inadequate as to have required further inquiry and ultimate recommendation that Kelly be terminated from the program for escape") (citation omitted). Third, the plaintiff alleges that in actuality, "Kelly did not work a single day [while at Hope Village]," but rather "left [the facility] each morning, went around the corner, got into a stolen car, and drove around the community until he returned each evening." Pl.'s Opp. at 13-14. Nevertheless, at no point "[d]uring his tenure [at Hope Village] . . . [did Kelly] incur any incident reports." Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 10 (March 8, 2002 Final Progress Report) ("Final Progress Report") at 2. Indeed, the plaintiff contends that Hope Village (1) did not properly verify Kelly's employment; (2) failed to continue to monitor Kelly's employment situation through on-site visits, telephone calls, and other means of contact; and (3) never "attempted to confirm that Kelly was still working when . . . recommend[ing] his release to the community." Pl.'s Opp. at 15 (emphasis added); see id. at 12-17 (detailing deficiencies); Pl.'s Stmt. at 6 (alleging that "Hope Village failed to verify Anthony Kelly's employment consistent with the Statement of Work or the standard of care for community-based correctional facilities"). The plaintiff further asserts that had Hope Village monitored Kelly's employment situation in a manner consistent with its own stated policies and procedures, "Kelly's violations would have been detected and he would not have been released, but rather returned to prison." Pl.'s Opp. at 15; see also Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 16 (Deposition of Coretta Nichelle Brown-Speight) ("Brown Speight Dep.") ¶ 16 (stating that Hope Village residents "who said they were working but who were found not to be working . . . [were] always sent back to jail");*fn8 Paparozzi Aff. ¶ 46 (opining that "the paroling authority would have rescinded Kelly's parole date based on these violations[,] and . . . Kelly [likely] would not have been eligible to be released into the community for 12 to 18 months"). Instead, Hope Village "issued a favorable report for Kelly and took the final steps necessary to facilitate his release by the government." Id.; see also Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 10 (March 8, 2002 Final Progress Report) ("Final Progress Report") at 1-2 (stating that Kelly "[m]aintained [his] employment [at his landscaping job] until his departure" and finding that "[h]is prognosis for the future is favorable"); Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 11 (March 4, 2002 Request for Parole Certificate by Hope Village for Anhony Kelly) at 1; Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 12 (February 6, 2002 Release Plan from Hope Village to Community Supervision Officer Jerry Doh) ("Release Plan") at 1 (stating that Kelly's "[e]mployment [p]attern . . . [is] [s]table").

On March 7, 2002, Kelly was discharged from Hope Village and released into the community, where he was placed under the supervision of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency ("CSOSA").*fn9 Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 5; Pl.'s Stmt. at 3; see also Paparozzi Aff. ¶ 48. It is undisputed that the level of scrutiny with which an offender is supervised following his release on full parole is more relaxed and less restrictive than the conditions of his confinement as a halfway house resident. Pl.'s Opp. at 38; see Paparozzi Aff. ¶ 21 (remarking upon the "more liberal monitoring" of offenders by the CSOSA relative to a halfway house). Following Kelly's discharge, he allegedly embarked on a crime spree including "several auto thefts throughout the [District of Columbia metropolitan] area, the burglary of a gun store in Montgomery County[,] [Maryland], armed robberies in Takoma Park[,] [Maryland], sex assaults in Montgomery County[,] . . . and the murder of a tourist in Washington[,] D.C." Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 13 (July 20, 2006 Affidavit of Detective Michael Brent) ("First Brent Aff.") ¶ 3; see also id. ¶¶ 4-18. The parties do not dispute that the CSOSA "improperly supervised Anthony Kelly after his discharge from [Hope Village]." Pl.'s Stmt. at 4; see also Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 7. According to the plaintiff, the CSOSA did not "take[] the necessary measures to detect Kelly's violations and reincarcerate him, and [did not] supervise[] Kelly as it would an individual who was likely to commit additional serious crime."*fn10 Pl.'s Stmt. at 6; see also Def.'s Mem. at 11 (discussing the plaintiff's claims that the CSOSA negligently supervised Kelly after his release from Hope Village); Def.'s Reply at 10 (same).

On the night of August 6, 2002, five months after his release, Kelly broke into the house of Gregory Russell in Silver Spring, Maryland, armed with a .32 caliber revolver.*fn11 Compl. ¶ 14; see also First Brent Aff. ¶ 1; Pl.'s Opp., Ex. 14 (October 19, 2006 Affidavit of Detective Michael Brent) ("Second Brent Aff."), Ex. A (Summary of Anthony Kelly's Involvement in the Russell/Smith Murder Investigation) ("Investigation Summary") at 1-2. Erika Smith, the plaintiff's nine-year-old daughter, was present in the house with Russell, her natural father. Id. Kelly shot Erika Smith once at point-blank range and shot Russell eight times, killing them both. Id. After a multiple-state manhunt, Kelly was captured by authorities in College Park, Maryland, on September 5, 2002. Compl. ¶ 15; see generally Investigation Summary. He was then indicted in Montgomery County Circuit Court on May 15, 2003, Compl. ¶ 15, and charged with the murders of Smith and Russell, as well as various other crimes including "two rapes, burglary, and armed robbery," First Brent Aff. ¶ 19.*fn12

The plaintiff brought this wrongful death and survival action against Hope Village on March 28, 2005, alleging that the facility had, "by virtue of its negligent acts and/or omissions, directly and proximately caused the premature and wrongful death of Erika Smith . . . [by] prematurely and negligently releas[ing] [Kelly] from its custody." Compl. ¶¶ 1-2. The plaintiff seeks compensatory damages as well as "[p]unitive damages . . . for [the] [d]efendant's conscious, willful, wanton, and reckless disregard for the rights of innocent members of the community." Id. ¶¶ 25-26. On July 26, 2006, the Court granted the defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings as to the plaintiff's wrongful death claim, concluding that the claim was "time-barred by the statute of limitations contained in . . . the District of Columbia's wrongful death statute." Order at 2 (citing D.C. Code § 16-2702 (2001)). The defendant has now moved for judgment on the pleadings or, in the alternative, for summary judgment on the plaintiff's remaining claim, arguing that (1) it did not owe any legal duty to the plaintiff for injuries resulting from the criminal act of a third party, Def.'s Mem. at 6-8; (2) the murder of the plaintiff's daughter was not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of Hope Village's allegedly negligent conduct, id. at 8-10; (3) the plaintiff's asserted injury was too remote in time and space, and too unrelated to the defendant's conduct, to be proximately caused by Hope Village's alleged negligence, id. at 12; and (4) any duty that Hope Village might have had to protect the community from harm done by Kelly was extinguished upon Kelly's March 2002 discharge from the facility and subsequently superseded by the intervening negligence of the CSOSA and by Kelly's own criminal acts, id. at 10-12. In turn, the plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the Court's July 26, 2006 order, contending that the Maryland statute of limitations properly governed the time limit for filing her wrongful death claim. Pl.'s Mot. at 1-2. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies the defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings or for summary judgment and grants the plaintiff's motion for reinstatement of her wrongful death claim.

II. Standards of Review

A. Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings

Courts will grant judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) "only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Longwood Village Rest., Ltd. v. Ashcroft, 157 F. Supp. 2d 61, 66 (D.D.C. 2001) (citing Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). "[I]f there are allegations in the complaint which, if proved, would provide a basis for recovery[,]" the Court cannot grant judgment on the pleadings. Bradley v. Smith, 235 F.R.D. 125, 126 (D.D.C. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "[A]ll factual doubts [must therefore be] resolved in favor of the plaintiff[]." Chang v. United States, 338 F. Supp. 2d 20, 21 (D.D.C. 2004) (citation omitted). The standard of review under Rule 12(c) is thus essentially the same as that for a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plain v. AT&T Corp., 424 F. Supp. 2d 11, 20 n.11 (D.D.C. 2006).

B. Motions for Summary Judgment

Courts will grant a motion for summary judgment if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show 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). When ruling on a Rule 56(c) motion, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Holcomb v. Powell, 433 F.3d 889, 895 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (citing Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000)). The Court must therefore draw "all justifiable inferences" in the non-moving party's favor and accept the non-moving party's evidence as true. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). The non-moving party, however, cannot rely on "mere allegations or denials." Burke v. Gould, 286 F.3d 513, 517 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248) (quotation marks omitted). Thus, "conclusory allegations unsupported by factual data will not create a triable issue of fact." Pub. Citizen Health Research Group v. FDA, 185 F.3d 898, 908 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). If the Court concludes that "the non-moving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof," then the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Thus, in a negligence action, the defendant is entitled to summary judgment only if, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, "no reasonable jury could find that [the plaintiff] established each of the elements of negligence." Briggs v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., ___ F.3d ____, ____, No. 06-7037, slip op. at 6 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 27, 2007) (citation omitted).

C. Motions to Alter or Amend Judgment

A motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) is subject to the Court's discretion and "need not be granted unless the [Court] finds that there is an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Messina v. Krakower, 439 F.3d 755, 758 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "[A] Rule 59(e) motion to reconsider is not simply an opportunity to reargue facts and theories upon which a court has already ruled, nor is it a vehicle for presenting theories or arguments that could have been advanced earlier." Fresh Kist Produce, LLC v. Choi Corp., 251 F. Supp. 2d 138, 140 (D.D.C. 2003) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); see also Messina, 439 F.3d at 759 (stating that Rule 59(e) motions may not simply "rely on the same arguments . . . originally made" by the moving party) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "While the [C]court has considerable discretion in ruling on a Rule 59(e) motion, the reconsideration and amendment of a previous order is an extraordinary measure." Fresh Kist Produce, 251 F. Supp. 2d. at 140 (citing Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1208 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (per curiam)); see also Jung v. Ass'n of Am. Med. Colls., 184 Fed. Appx. 9, 13 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (noting "the high standard for relief under Rule 59(e)").

III. The Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings or for Summary Judgment

Hope Village contends that it is not responsible for the death of the plaintiff's daughter as a matter of law. Def.'s Mot. at 1. Specifically, it argues that it cannot "be held liable for the alleged, unforeseeable criminal act of a third party that occurred . . . five months after the third party at issue (1) left [the] [d]efendant's facility, custody, and supervision, and (2) was placed under the sole supervision of government agencies who are not parties to this lawsuit." Def.'s Mem. at 3 (emphasis omitted). The defendant further states that the plaintiff's theory of liability "reshape[s] the law of causation and create[s] massive, expanded liability for alleged tortfeasors where neither duty nor causation exist." Def.'s Mot. at 1. In response, the plaintiff asserts that "[m]yriad state and federal cases, in the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions, have found both the existence of a duty[] and liability[] on facts similar to those at issue here," and that the defendant has failed to demonstrate that it is entitled to either judgment on the pleadings or summary judgment with respect to the plaintiff's action. Pl.'s Opp. at 1-2. Moreover, she claims that "[a]ccording to ...


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