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Aaron Chandler, et al v. Gregory Jones

August 9, 2011

AARON CHANDLER, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GREGORY JONES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy Berman Jackson United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiffs brought this action against the District of Columbia and a number of Metropolitan Police Department officers, alleging various torts and violations of their constitutional rights. Defendants Adrian Fenty, Cathy Lanier, Brian Hollan, Orlando Torres, Brian Bradley, and Benjamin Fetting have moved to dismiss. On July 20, 2011, after a return of service had been filed for defendant Gregory Jones, he indicated that he wished to adopt the motion. Upon consideration of the motions, plaintiffs' opposition, and the entire record of the case, the Court will grant defendants' motions.

BACKGROUND

Aaron Chandler ("A. Chandler"), David Chandler ("D. Chandler"), and Raymond Hamilton (collectively "plaintiffs") brought this suit against the District of Columbia,*fn1 Mayor Adrian Fenty, Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, twelve individual Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD") Officers,*fn2 and "unknown MPD officers and staff" (collectively "defendants") seeking in excess of fifty-six million dollars in damages for alleged violations of their constitutional rights. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss at 1 ("Defs.' Mot."); Am. Compl. ("2d Compl.") ¶¶ 66•113.

Plaintiffs' claims arise from a series of encounters on the streets of the District of Columbia with Officer Jones. One or more of the plaintiffs was involved on each occasion, and the allegations identify various other MPD officers who played a role on different dates. While the complaint does not describe them in an order that is easy to understand, the events giving rise to this lawsuit are as follows:

1. August 24, 2004: Officer Jones's stop and search of an automobile driven by Hamilton, and his detention and release on the scene of Hamilton and D. Chandler, who was driving a separate car and objected to the traffic stop involving Hamilton. Id. ¶¶ 46•56.

2. April 15, 2007: Officers Jones's demand that A. Chandler take a field sobriety test, and his arrest of A. Chandler, assisted by Officer Hollan, when A. Chandler refused to do so. Id. ¶¶ 31•34.

3. May 22, 2007: The arrest of Hamilton and D. Chandler by Officers Jones, Fetting, and Bunnels. Id. ¶¶ 35•45.

4. May 31, 2007: Officer Jones's arrest of A. Chandler, with the participation of Officers Mitchell, Bradley, Torres, and Hollan. Id. ¶¶ 15•30.

From these incidents, plaintiffs allege eight claims: (1) false arrest, (2) defamation, (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (4) violations of the Fourth Amendment, (5) violations of the Fifth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, (6) violates of the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause, (7) malicious prosecution, and (8) negligence. Id. at ¶¶ 66•113.

Plaintiff A. Chandler filed a substantially similar complaint in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on June 3, 2008 against the District of Columbia, Officer Jones, Mayor Fenty, Chief Lanier, Acting General Counsel Peter Nichols, and nine John Doe MPD officers. Chandler v. District of Columbia, Civ. No. 08-01158, 1st Am. Compl., at 1 (D.D.C. Nov. 14, 2008) ("1st Compl."). In that suit, plaintiff A. Chandler brought claims of false arrest, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, violations of his Fifth Amendment rights, violations of his Eighth Amendment rights, assault, and battery. Id. ¶¶ 112•147. Those claims also stemmed from the April 15, 2007 and May 31, 2007 arrests of plaintiff A. Chandler that are described in the instant complaint. Id.¶¶15•111.

The defendants removed the first action to the District Court on July 1, 2008 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and filed a motion to dismiss on December 2, 2008. See Chandler v. District of Columbia, Civ. No. 08-01158, Motion to Dismiss at 1 (D.D.C. Dec. 2, 2008). Under Local Rule 7(b), plaintiff A. Chandler's opposition to defendants' motion was due, at the latest, on December 16, 2008. See Local Rule 7(b). No opposition was filed. Plaintiff A. Chandler attempted to file an amended complaint on April 8, 2009 -- nearly four months late -- without an accompanying motion for an extension of time making the requisite showing of excusable neglect as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b). See Chandler v. District of Columbia, Civ. No. 08-01158, Report & Recommendation at 3•4 (D.D.C. Sep. 3, 2009). At the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, the court ordered the dismissal of plaintiff A. Chandler's claims on September 30, 2009, citing plaintiff's noncompliance with the Court's local rules. See Chandler v. District of Columbia, Civ. No. 08-01158, Order Adopting Report & Recommendation (D.D.C. Sep. 30, 2009) ("Dismissal Order").

On June 1, 2010 plaintiffs filed this complaint, and they amended it on August 16, 2010. On August 30, 2010 defendants Mayor Fenty, Chief Lanier, Officer Torres, and Officer Hollan moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. On September 16, 2010, defendants Officer Bradley and Officer Fetting filed a similar motion.

ANALYSIS

I. STANDARD OF ...


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