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Hirpassa v. Albert

August 31, 2009

KEDIST D. HIRPASSA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SARAH ALBERT, DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for a more definite statement. The motion to dismiss will be granted, and the motion for a more definite statement will be denied as moot.

I. BACKGROUND

In its entirety, Plaintiff's complaint states:

On February 27th, 2008, I Kedist D. Hirpassa was illegally arrested and detained by Secret Service Officer Sara Albert.

Compl. (emphasis in original). Defendant moves to dismiss the complaint on the ground that it fails to comply with Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Mem. in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for a More Definite Statement ("Def.'s Mot.") at 2-3. Defendant argues that the complaint contains neither a short and plain statement of the ground upon which the Court's jurisdiction depends nor a short and plain statement of the claim showing that Plaintiff is entitled to relief.*fn1 See id. (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)).

In her opposition to Defendant's motion, Plaintiff states that Defendant arrested and detained her illegally on February 27, 2008 in front of the White House, that Defendant "made a discriminative remark" to Plaintiff, that Defendant used excessive force in effecting her arrest, and that Defendant or Defendant's supervisor damaged her cell phone. Pl.'s Mot. in Opp'n to [D]ismissal ("Pl.'s Opp'n"). Plaintiff alleges that she was "humiliated and emotionally abused" in this incident and that the criminal charges against her may "have an impact on [her] overall advancement," particularly if Plaintiff seeks employment in a security-related field. Id. Lastly, Plaintiff demands monetary compensation and other relief. Id.

The Court construes the complaint as raising common law tort claims of defamation, false arrest and false imprisonment, and constitutional claims under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution against Defendant in her individual capacity only.

II. DISCUSSION

A.. Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(6)

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint contain "'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) does not test a plaintiff's likelihood of success on the merits; rather, it tests whether a plaintiff properly has stated a claim. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). "When ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint." Atherton v. District of Columbia Office of the Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (other citations omitted)). As the Supreme Court recently has instructed,

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement," but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S. __, __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (internal quotation marks ...


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