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Leavon Z. Reeves v. Mv Transportation

February 24, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Emmet G. Sullivan United States District Judge


This matter is before the Court on defendants' motions to dismiss [Dkt. # 3, 12].*fn1 For the reasons discussed below, the motions will be granted.


On Thursdays, plaintiff has traveled from his home in Southeast, Washington, D.C. to Washington Hospital Center Behavioral Health Services at 216 Michigan Avenue, N.E. Defendant MV Transportation, Inc. ("MV Transportation") has provided transportation for plaintiff at the District of Columbia government's expense, and apparently in conjunction with MetroAccess, a paratransit service of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Notwithstanding this arrangement, when plaintiff boarded the van on March 17, 2011, the operator directed plaintiff to "pay [a fare of] five dollars and some change." Compl. at 2. Police were called "to have [plaintiff] removed from the van," but without a crime having been committed, the police took no action. Id. Apparently plaintiff "departed the . . . [v]an" on his own. Id. A second incident occurred on March 24, 2011, when an MV Transportation operator "refused to use the money in the MetroAccess Easy Pay Account once again." Id. at 3.

According to plaintiff, MV Transportation and the individuals to whom he made complaints "are purposely and intentionally inflicting . . . undue inhuman treatment" on him and otherwise are mistreating people such as plaintiff with disabilities. Id. Plaintiff demands an "award [of] Fifty Thousand Dollars because of the inhuman treatment and stress that has been inflicted" on him. Id. at 4. He also demands injunctive relief. Id.


The Court concurs with defendants' assessment that, although "[p]laintiff's pro se complaint is, quite frankly, difficult to interpret at times," it properly is construed "to generally allege disability discrimination with respect to access to transportation . . . under the public accommodations provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act." Defs.' Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss ("Defs.' Mem.") at 3. Defendants move to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on the ground that the pleading fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See id. at 3-5. Plaintiff's opposition is devoted entirely to defendants' alleged failure to serve him a copy of their motion in accordance with Local Civil Rule 5.3(e), see Opp'n Mot. to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss the Compl. at 2 (page number designated by the Court), and ignores completely the arguments set forth in defendants' motion.

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

A complaint need only provide a "short and plain statement of [plaintiff's] claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief," Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), that "give[s] the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (internal quotation marks omitted). On a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a "complaint is construed liberally in the plaintiff['s] favor, and [the Court] grant[s] plaintiff[] the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged." Kowal v. MCI Comm'cns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). At the pleading stage, a plaintiff need not allege all the elements of his prima facie case. See Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 511-12 (2002).

A complaint survives a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) only if it "contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw [a] reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.,129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "A complaint alleging facts which are merely consistent with a defendant's liability . . . stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). A pro se complaint "must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers," Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted), but it, too, "must plead 'factual matter' that permits the court to infer 'more than the mere possibility of misconduct.'" Atherton v. District of Columbia Office of the Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681-82 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950).

B. Plaintiff Fails to State a Claim Under Title III of the ADA

With respect to public transportation, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") provides:

No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of specified public transportation services provided by a private entity that is primarily engaged in the business of ...

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