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Scott v. District of Columbia

February 20, 2009

CAPTAIN GERRY SCOTT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Gerry Scott, a D.C. Metropolitan Police officer, brought this suit against the District of Columbia asserting that he was erroneously placed on leave without pay resulting in disciplinary action. His suit alleges a claim under the First Amendment as well as various claims under state law. The District moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Because the Complaint fails to state a constitutional claim and because the D.C. Comprehensive Merit Protection Act ("CMPA"), D.C. Code §§ 1-601.01 et seq., provides an exclusive remedy for the state law claims, the motion to dismiss will be granted. I. FACTS

Captain Scott alleges that while he was assigned as evening watch commander for the second district, he discovered that his annual leave balance was low. Compl. ¶ 3. Upon investigation, he found that he had been placed on leave without pay ("LWOP") on various occasions when he had actually been at work. Id. ¶ 4. He alleges that he attempted to correct his work attendance records but that he was unsuccessful and he was subjected to disciplinary action. Id.

¶¶ 6-8. Based on these facts, Captain Scott brought a four count Complaint against the District of Columbia alleging the following causes of action:

Count I -- violation of the First Amendment via 42 U.S.C. § 1983;

Count II -- breach of contract;

Count III -- negligence; and Count IV -- intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Compl. ¶¶ 11-27.*fn1 Captain Scott seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.

The Complaint was filed in D.C. Superior Court on December 9, 2008, and the District removed the case to this Court on January 12, 2009. The District now moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim; Captain Scott opposes. As explained below, the motion to dismiss will be granted.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the adequacy of a complaint on its face, testing whether a plaintiff has properly stated a claim. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). A complaint must be sufficient "to give a defendant fair notice of the claims against him." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007). Although a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 1964-65 (internal citations omitted). Rule 8(a) requires a "showing" and not just a blanket assertion of a right to relief. Id. at 1965 n.3.

In considering a motion to dismiss, a court must treat the complaint's factual allegations as true, "even if doubtful in fact," id. at 1965, and must draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Macharia v. United States, 334 F.3d 61, 64, 67 (D.C. Cir. 2003). Even so, the facts alleged "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level," Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, and the court need not accept as true inferences unsupported by facts set out in the complaint or legal conclusions cast as factual allegations. Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). "[A] complaint needs some information about the circumstances giving rise to the claims." Aktieselskabet Af 21. Nov. 2001 v. Fame Jeans, Inc., 525 F.3d 8, 16 n.4 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (emphasis in original).

In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court may consider only "the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the complaint, and matters about which the Court may take judicial notice." Gustave-Schmidt v. Chao, 226 F. Supp. 2d 191, 196 (D.D.C. 2002) (citation omitted). Once a claim has been stated adequately, "it may be supported by ...


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