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Smith v. Fenty

February 16, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Re Document Nos. 12, 24




In this civil action filed pro se, the plaintiff brings suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983") for alleged actions taken during his confinement at the District of Columbia's Correctional Treatment Facility ("CTF").*fn1 Defendants Deborah Miller, Devon Brown and District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty (collectively "the moving defendants") move to dismiss the complaint against them pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons discussed below the court grants these defendants' motions to dismiss. Accordingly, only employees of the Corrections Corporation of America ("CCA") remain as defendants in this case.


The plaintiff alleges generally that the defendants violated his rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments during his confinement at CTF at an unspecified time as well as committed various common law torts. See generally Compl. The plaintiff sues Miller in her capacity as contract monitor for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections ("DOC"), alleging that she "fail[ed] to investigate, and rectify [his] grievances," Compl. at 14,*fn2 and that she, along with District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty, DOC Director Devon Brown and CTF Warden John Caulfield, "evaded obligations to insure that actions of employe[e]s under their command [do not] endanger persons or interest of persons subject to their custody," id. at 22. The plaintiff also alleges that Fenty and Brown knowingly "turned [a] blind eye" to his complaints against CTF, id. at 13, and faults Fenty for failing to "take away [CCA's] contract," id. at 12. The plaintiff seeks monetary damages of $10 million and equitable relief. Id. at 12.

Defendant Miller filed a motion to dismiss on August 6, 2009, see generally Miller Mot., which the plaintiff opposed on September 10, 2009, see generally Pl.'s Opp'n. Defendants Fenty and Brown filed a joint motion to dismiss on September 24, 2009. See generally Fenty & Brown Mot. On September 28, 2009, the court advised the plaintiff, pursuant to Fox v. Strickland, 837 F.2d 507 (D.C. Cir. 1988), that failure to respond to defendants Fenty and Brown's motion could result in the court treating the motion as conceded.*fn3 See generally Order (Sept. 28, 2009). Nevertheless, the plaintiff never filed a response to that motion.


1. Legal Standard for Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(6)

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The complaint need only set forth a short and plain statement of the claim, giving the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Williams, 348 F.3d 1033, 1040(D.C. Cir. 2003) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2) and Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). "Such simplified notice pleading is made possible by the liberal opportunity for discovery and the other pre-trial procedures established by the Rules to disclose more precisely the basis of both claim and defense to define more narrowly the disputed facts and issues." Conley, 355 U.S. at 47-48 (internal quotation marks omitted). It is not necessary for the plaintiff to plead all elements of his prima facie case in the complaint, Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 511-14 (2002), or "plead law or match facts to every element of a legal theory," Krieger v. Fadely, 211 F.3d 134, 136 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Yet, "[t]o 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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (abrogating the oft-quoted language from Conley, 355 U.S. at 45-56, instructing courts not to dismiss for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that "no set of facts in support of his claim [] would entitle him to relief"). A claim is facially plausible when the pleaded factual content "allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. "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." Id.

In resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must treat the complaint's factual allegations -- including mixed questions of law and fact -- as true and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in the plaintiff's favor. Macharia v. United States, 334 F.3d 61, 64, 67 (D.C. Cir. 2003); Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev. v. Ashcroft, 333 F.3d 156, 165 (D.C. Cir. 2003); Browning, 292 F.3d at 242. While many well-pleaded complaints are conclusory, the court need not accept as true inferences unsupported by facts set out in the complaint or legal conclusions cast as factual allegations. Warren v. District of Columbia, 353 F.3d 36, 40 (D.C. Cir. 2004); ...

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