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Slovinec v. American University

July 16, 2008

JOSEPH SLOVINEC, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gladys Kessler United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This action is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Upon consideration of the motion, Plaintiff's opposition, and the entire record of this case, the Court will grant summary judgment for Defendant.

I. BACKGROUND

The record shows that Plaintiff was barred from the American University's Main Campus and University Shuttle Service "for disruptive activity at various [U]niversity offices." Compl., App. A (letter from M. McNair, Chief of Police - Director, Public Safety Office of the Chief, American University).*fn1 The Barring Notice advised that, "should [Plaintiff] return, [he] will be arrested and charged with unlawful entry, under [Section] 22-3302 of the DC Code." Id., App. B (Barring Notice, Case Number 050425). The initial Barring Notice remained in effect from May 17, 2005 through May 17, 2006, see id., and apparently was renewed or remained in effect in subsequent years. See Pleading to Request Court to Refuse and Deny American University's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Pl.'s Opp'n") at 2. American University's Chief of Police and Director of the Public Safety Office explained the situation as follows:

Due to concern about Plaintiff's unpredictable and erratic behavior, the University determined it prudent to bar Plaintiff from campus to protect University employees and students. The Barring Notice was forwarded to safety officers and other administrators on campus who had a duty to protect [U]niversity employees and students. The Barring Notice was not distributed to students or posted in public view. The Barring Notice was not intended to injure Plaintiff's reputation in any way.

Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant American University's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Def.'s Mot."), Affidavit of Michael McNair ("McNair Aff.") ¶¶ 5-7.

Plaintiff acknowledges that he visited several offices on the University's campus on May 17, 2005 to deliver copies of a letter he had addressed to Margaret Spellings, Secretary of the United States Department of Education. See Compl. at 4-5. He believes that he was "falsely accused of 'disruptive activities'" on the University's campus. Id. at 1. Plaintiff opines that the "real reason for the barring order was [his] nonpayment of fees although McNair did not state it." Id. at 3. He presumes that the Barring Notice "must have been distributed to every office on campus to make [Plaintiff] look bad to American U. faculty, administration, and staff: this making someone look bad could cause comparisons of the barred individuals to burglars, [and] sex [] offenders: this circulation of order is still defamation." Id. at 5-6.

As the Court construes the Complaint, Plaintiff raises two claims:*fn2

It appears that Plaintiff challenges the barring order on the ground that it violates his rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In addition, Plaintiff appears to bring a defamation claim against American University for the issuance and distribution of the barring order.

Slovinec v. American Univ., No. 06-1143 (GK) (D.D.C. Nov. 9, 2006) (order denying without prejudice Defendant's motion for a more definite statement and denying Plaintiff's motion to consolidate).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is granted to the movant if it has shown, when the facts are viewed in the light most favorable to the non-movant, that there is no genuine issue of material fact in dispute and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The mere existence of a factual dispute, by itself, is not a sufficient bar to summary judgment. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). To be material, the factual allegation must affect the substantive outcome of the litigation; to be genuine, the factual allegation must be supported by sufficient admissible evidence that a reasonable trier of fact could find for the non-moving party. Id. at 251; Laningham v. United States Navy, 813 F.2d 1236, 1242-43 (D.C. Cir. 1987). Evidence that is "merely colorable, or is not sufficiently probative" does not bar summary judgment. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 149-50.

The party opposing a motion for summary judgment "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248; see also Jackson v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, 101 F.3d 145, 150 (D.C. Cir. 1996). He cannot merely "show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1996). Rather, he must "come forward ...


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