*fn7,The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reggie B. Walton United States District Judge,DAVID OLABAYO OLANIYI, PLAINTIFF, v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS." />

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David Olabayo Olaniyi v. District of Columbia

July 11, 2012 *fn7


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reggie B. Walton United States District Judge


Plaintiff David Olabayo Olaniyi brings this action against the District of Columbia ("District") and the United States, asserting constitutional and common law claims arising from his detention in March of 2003, and a separate incident involving a traffic stop in January of 2004. See generally Second Amended Complaint ("2d Am. Compl."); Complaint ("United States Compl.").*fn1 Currently before the Court are motions for summary judgment filed by the District and the United States. Upon careful consideration of the parties' submissions,*fn2 the Court concludes for the following reasons that the defendants' motions must be granted.


A. Facts

Many of Olaniyi's claims have already been dismissed by the Court. See Olaniyi v. District of Columbia, 416 F. Supp. 2d 43, 59-60 (D.D.C. 2006); Olaniyi v. District of Columbia, 763 F. Supp. 2d 70, 78 (D.D.C. 2011). Olaniyi's remaining claims in this case arise from the following two events: the alleged forcible injection of Olaniyi by District personnel with an unknown drug in March of 2003, and a traffic stop conducted by the United States Capitol Police ("Capitol Police") in January of 2004. The following facts recounting these two events are undisputed unless otherwise noted, and are presented in the light most favorable to Olaniyi.

1. The March 2003 Forcible Injection

Olaniyi, a native of Nigeria, describes himself as "an artist, philosopher, scholar, performer, and director." 2d Am. Compl. ¶ 3. On March 6, 2003, Olaniyi and his now-wife, Reena Patel Olaniyi ("Patel"), visited the United States Capitol Building "to tour and conduct research for his stage play." Id. ¶¶ 65-66. Olaniyi was wearing "an artistic garment that he made out of cardboard, empty bottles, newspaper, a book, and other common materials secured with duct tape." Pl.'s Response to District's Facts ¶ 1. "He also carried a stone sculpture." Id. Upon entering the Capitol Building with this paraphernalia, Olaniyi "began to sing and dance," which "attracted the attention of the Capitol Police." District's Facts ¶¶ 2-3. The Capitol Police "detained and thereafter arrested [Olaniyi] and searched his car on suspicion that he was going to bomb the Capitol." Id. ¶ 3. "Olaniyi appeared before a Federal Magistrate Judge on the morning of March 7, 2003, who held him over until March 10, 2003." Id. ¶ 4.

Olaniyi was detained at the Mental Health Unit of the District of Columbia Jail ("D.C. Jail") during the period of his detention under the Magistrate Judge's order. Id. ¶ 5; Pl's Response to District's Facts ¶ 5. According to Olaniyi, at some point during his detention at the D.C. Jail, he was forcibly injected with a drug that caused him to lose consciousness. See Pl.'s District Opp'n, Exhibit ("Ex.") D (Deposition of Olabayo David Olaniyi ("Olaniyi Dep.")) at 187:4-190:25, 196:1-3. Specifically, he claims that a D.C. Jail employee gave him an injection in his left arm while a guard restrained him, despite his verbal objections to receiving the injection. See id. Olaniyi maintains that prior to giving him the injection "[t]hey told [him] they were treating [him] for diabetes," which they claimed had been detected by testing conducted during his detention. Id. at 194:10-13. Olaniyi explained that he did not have diabetes, but they nonetheless administered the injection. See id. at 194:13-16. The medical personnel did not tell Olaniyi what drug they used, and Olaniyi does not know what it was. See id. at 190:10-17. Olaniyi claims that "when the injection was given, things calm[ed] down, and . . . everything just whitewashed out." Id. at 190:24-25. He then "lost consciousness." Id. at 198:20-23. Olaniyi's next memory is waking up in his jail cell "the following morning." Id. at 196:3. Olaniyi acknowledges that no medical record exists documenting the injection, attributing the lack of documentation to deficient record-keeping practices at the D.C. Jail. See Pl.'s Response to District's Facts ¶ 34. The District denies that this incident occurred, asserting that "Olaniyi was tested, but not treated[,] for diabetes." District's Facts ¶ 25.

On March 10, 2003, federal prosecutors charged Olaniyi and Patel with "False Bomb Threats, Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds, Aiding and Abetting, and Assault or Threatened Assault." Id. ¶ 6. Olaniyi was then released from the D.C. Jail on March 11, 2003. District's Facts ¶ 31. The government dismissed all charges against Olaniyi and Patel in August of 2003. 2d Am. Compl. ¶ 78.

2. The January 2004 Traffic Stop

On January 20, 2004, Olaniyi, his two minor children, and Patel traveled to the District from Michigan. United States's Facts ¶¶ 1-2. The purpose of the trip was to retrieve several pieces of artwork that had been confiscated by the Capitol Police as a result of the March 2003 event at the Capitol Building. United States Compl. ¶ 34. During their cross-country trip, Olaniyi's vehicle, a white van, "accumulated dirt and grime from driving through snow." United States's Facts ¶ 3. The van's license plate had "accumulated dirt and grime as well." Id. ¶ 4. In addition to "the dirt covering the windows, the windows themselves were tinted a dark shade." Id. ¶ 5.

Olaniyi's trip to the District coincided with former President George W. Bush's State of Union Address. Id. ¶ 6. The Capitol Police were accordingly "on high alert and fully staffed" on that date. Id.

Olaniyi claims that while he and his family were riding in his van in the District, a Capitol Police officer, Sergeant Jessica Gissubel,*fn3 signaled him to stop the van in front of Capitol Police headquarters.*fn4 See Pl.'s Response to United States's Facts ¶ 7; Pl.'s United States Opp'n, Ex. 1 (Olaniyi Dep.) at 70:6-16. Capitol Police headquarters "is located directly adjacent to the United States Capitol, where the President planned to deliver his State of the Union address." United States's Facts ¶ 8. Sergeant Gissubel does not recall "being able to read the license plate on [Olaniyi's] van when she initially saw it." Id. ¶ 10. After pulling the van over, she "radioed headquarters and requested a canine unit and the hazardous device unit to 'check out [the] vehicle.'" Id. ¶ 11.

"When [Sergeant] Gissubel approached the vehicle, [Olaniyi] asked [for] Detective Joseph DePalma," id. ¶ 12, one of the officers who had "arrested and jailed" Olaniyi in connection with the March 2003 incident at the Capitol Building, Pl.'s District Opp'n at 7. In response to Olaniyi's request, Sergeant "Gissubel called [Detective] DePalma, advising him of the vehicle in front of [Capitol Police] headquarters and requested his presence on the scene." United States's Facts ¶ 12. Detective "DePalma arrived on the scene shortly thereafter." Id. ¶ 13. "He spoke to [Olaniyi] and requested that [he] exit the vehicle." Id. Olaniyi "obliged and began to converse with [Detective] DePalma." Id.

Olaniyi's van was then searched by the Capitol Police's canine unit. Id. ¶ 14. "Olaniyi's two minor children remained in the van while it was searched by police officers and two canines." Pl.'s Response to United States's Facts ¶ 13; Pl.'s United States Opp'n, Ex. 1 (Olaniyi Dep.) at 67:13-19. "[N]o [p]olice dog growled at or bit any member of [Olaniyi's] family, and the children were not heard crying or screaming in any way during the canine sweep of the van, which last no more than 5 minutes." United States's Facts ¶ 14. And "the dog[] search did not damage [Olaniyi's] vehicle." Id. The "canine sweep" took only "a few minutes . . . because it was the day of the State of the Union Address and the canine officers were extremely busy, given the large number of vehicles they were called upon to sweep." Id. ¶ 29.

Following the canine sweep, Patel "began recording a video of the events that transpired in front of [Capitol Police] headquarters." Id. ¶ 15. "On the video recording, [Detective] DePalma audibly tells [Olaniyi] that his license plate was dirty, obscuring an officer's ability to read it." Id. ¶ 16; see United States's Mem., Ex. 7 (Video of January 20, 2004 Traffic Stop). Detective "DePalma then advised [Olaniyi] that he was likely to be pulled over again if his vehicle remained in the same condition." United States's Facts ¶ 16. Heeding this advice, Olaniyi "cleaned the partially obscured license plate with a rag while [Detective] DePalma observed." Id. ¶ 17. Detective DePalma also questioned Olaniyi about his presence in the District, noting that the President's State of the Union Address was scheduled for that evening and asking Olaniyi "are you going to pull a stunt?" Pl.'s United States Opp'n, Ex. 2 (Deposition of Reena Patel Olaniyi ("Patel Dep.")) at 44:13-45:7. Detective DePalma then asked Olaniyi a series of questions concerning the custody of his children. Id. at 45:21-23. During the encounter, Olaniyi explained that he requested Detective DePalma's presence so that his son could "'see the man who tried to make me lose my children,' referring to [Detective] DePalma's . . . involvement in [Olaniyi's] arrest in 2003 for false bomb threats." United States's Facts ¶ 18; see United States's Mem., Ex. 7 (Video of January 20, 2004 Traffic Stop).

After completing "a routine background check for outstanding warrants," Sergeant Gissubel returned Olaniyi's driver's license "and sent him on his way." United States's Facts ¶ 19. The Capitol Police did not "issue [Olaniyi] a citation for the incident, nor did they seize any of [Olaniyi's] property." Id. However, "as [Olaniyi] was leaving the scene of the incident, [Sergeant] Gissubel issued [him] a verbal warning that he was parked illegally." Id. ¶ 22. None of the Capitol Police officers made threatening remarks, raised their voices, brandished weapons, or physically restrained Olaniyi or his family during the January 20, 2004, encounter. Id. ¶¶ 20-21. "The total duration of the incident was approximately 18 minutes." Id. ¶ 23.

B. Procedural Background

Olaniyi instituted this action on March 3, 2005, asserting constitutional and common law claims against the District and several federal defendants. By Memorandum Opinion and Order dated February 17, 2006, the Court granted dismissal of many of Olaniyi's claims on qualified immunity grounds, but denied the federal defendants' motion to dismiss with respect to Olaniyi's Fourth Amendment claims arising from a search of his van that was conducted following the March 2003 incident at the Capitol Building. See Olaniyi v. District of Columbia, 416 F. Supp. 2d 43, 59-60 (D.D.C. 2006).

On October 31, 2006, Olaniyi filed his Second Amended Complaint, again asserting constitutional and common law claims against the District, as well as various District and federal employees. See generally 2d Am. Compl. These claims stem from his arrest and detention in March 2003, and the traffic stop in January 2004. See id. Olaniyi then filed a separate complaint against the United States on December 20, 2006, alleging tort claims pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C §§ 1346(b), 2674 (2006), arising out of the March 2003 and January 2004 incidents. See generally United States Compl.

The Court issued a Memorandum Opinion on February 4, 2011, granting in part and denying in part the United States's motion to dismiss, denying the District's motion for summary judgment without prejudice pending further discovery, and granting summary judgment to the individual defendants. See Olaniyi v. District of Columbia, 763 F. Supp. 2d 70, 78 (D.D.C. 2011). As a result of the Court's rulings, Olaniyi's remaining claims in this case are (1) a claim against the District under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution for the alleged forcible injection of Olaniyi by District authorities in March of 2003, see id. at 96-99; and (2) a false arrest and imprisonment tort claim against the United States, brought pursuant to the FTCA, arising out of the January 2004 traffic stop, see id. at 92-94. The defendants have now moved for summary judgment on these two claims.


A motion for summary judgment must be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of showing the absence of a disputed material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The party opposing a motion for summary judgment "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A material fact is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Id. "The evidence is to be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Talavera v. Shah, 638 F.3d 303, 308 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). "Although summary judgment is not the occasion for the court to weigh credibility or evidence, summary judgment is appropriate 'if the nonmoving party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.'" Id. (citations omitted). "[T]here is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a [reasonable] jury to return a verdict for that party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff." Id. at 252 (emphasis added).


A. Olaniyi's Claim Against the District Based on the March 2003 Forcible Injection

Olaniyi asserts a § 1983 claim against the District "predicated upon the deprivation of due process he suffered when D.C. Jail personnel forcibly, and without consent, injected [him] with an antipsychotic drug." Pl.'s District Opp'n at 5. Section 1983 creates a private cause of action against any person who, acting under color of state or District of Columbia law, deprives another of a federal constitutional or statutory right. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Under the Supreme Court's decision in Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), "municipalities are liable for their agents' constitutional torts only if the agents acted pursuant to municipal policy or custom . . . . Respondeat superior liability does not apply." Warren v. District of Columbia, 353 F.3d 36, 38 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (citing Monell, 436 U.S. at 694). Courts therefore "conduct a two-step inquiry" in evaluating § 1983 claims against municipalities. Baker v. District of Columbia, 326 F.3d 1302, 1306 (D.C. Cir. 2003). First, a court must determine whether the plaintiff has offered proof of a "predicate constitutional violation."*fn5 Id. Second, if step one is satisfied, a court must then assess whether the plaintiff has provided evidence "that a custom ...

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