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Farooq v. MDRB Corp.

August 3, 2007

AMINA FAROOQ, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF NADIR FAROOQ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MDRB CORPORATION D/B/A RAMADA INN HOTEL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rosemary M. Collyer United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Amina Farooq seeks to recover in negligence for the death of her son who was killed at a private party held at a hotel. Plaintiff filed this suit against Defendants, MDRB Corporation d/b/a Ramada Inn Hotel ("MDRB"), John Doe d/b/a Taking Care of Business Event Sponsor, and Richard Roe Security. With regard to MDRB, the Complaint alleges that MDRB negligently supervised security hired by John Doe, the event sponsor. Because Plaintiff has failed to name an expert to testify regarding the appropriate standard of care, the claim against MDRB will be dismissed.

I. FACTS

John Doe*fn1 leased a meeting room from MDRB Corporation, doing business as the Ramada Inn, to host an event which was initially described as a "private party." Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. ("Def.'s Mem.") at 2. MDRB did not have any further details about what type of event would occur. Id. John Doe used the room to host a paid admission party and allegedly hired security for this event. Id. MDRB did not have any information about the hired security until the evening of the party. Id. During the event, MDRB interacted with the security through its employee, Stanley Travers. Pl.'s Opp. at 4. Mr. Travers' main interaction with the security staff was to instruct them to make sure no one smoked in the room, one of the conditions of the contract. Id. At some point during the event, Travis Littlejohn, an attendee of the party, stabbed and killed another attendee, Nadir Farooq. Def.'s Mem. at 2. Mr. Littlejohn was later convicted of "voluntary manslaughter while armed." Id. at 2-3.

Ms. Farooq, mother of Mr. Farooq and personal representative of his estate, brought suit against MDRB, alleging that MDRB failed to properly supervise the security staff hired by John Doe. MDRB has filed a motion for summary judgment, which is fully briefed and ready for decision. As explained below, the motion will be granted.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment must be granted when "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); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Diamond v. Atwood, 43 F.3d 1538, 1540 (D.C. Cir. 1995). Moreover, summary judgment is properly granted against a party that "after adequate time for discovery and upon motion . . . fails 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." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). To determine which facts are "material," a court must look to the substantive law on which each claim rests. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 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.

III. ANALYSIS

Plaintiff contends that MDRB negligently supervised the security that was retained by John Doe. Pl.'s Opp. at 4. Plaintiff argues that (1) because MDRB assigned an employee to interact with John Doe and (2) the MDRB employee spoke with men wearing "security" t-shirts, MDRB must have had control over the security personnel. Because MDRB must have had control, Plaintiff contends that MDRB should be liable for negligent supervision of the security staff. Id.

The District of Columbia holds a defendant liable for negligent supervision under the definition provided in the Second Restatement of Agency:

A person conducting an activity through servants or other agents is subject to liability for harm resulting from his conduct if he is negligent or reckless:

(a) in giving improper or ambiguous orders or in failing to make proper regulations; or

(b) in the employment of improper persons or instrumentalities in work involving ...


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