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Nelson v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 8, 2013

Ronnie NELSON, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant.

Page 211

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 212

Ronnie Nelson, Butner, NC, pro se.

Shermineh C. Jones, Office of Attorney General, Washington, DC, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BERYL A. HOWELL, District Judge.

The Plaintiff Ronnie Nelson, proceeding pro se, sues the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Jail under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of the First, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution.[1] Second Amended Complaint (" Am. Compl." ), ECF No. 17. The Plaintiff also asserts a common law claim of negligence. See id. ¶ 18. The complaint arises out of the Plaintiff's detention at the D.C. Jail from November 3, 2011, to November 15, 2011.

The District of Columbia moves to dismiss the amended complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on the grounds that (1) the Plaintiff failed to comply with the claim notice requirements of D.C.Code § 12-309, with regard to the negligence claim,[2] and (2) the complaint fails to state constitutional claims and a claim for which the District may be held liable under § 1983. Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss Am. Compl., ECF No. 18. Upon consideration of the Second Amended Complaint, the Defendant's motion papers, and the Plaintiff's opposition papers, the Court finds that the complaint fails to state a municipal liability claim and, therefore, will grant the Defendant's motion to dismiss the § 1983 claim. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, the Court will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the negligence claim and, thus, will dismiss the case.

BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff alleges that he was arrested in the District of Columbia in July 2011 and was " transported to D.C. Jail as a detainee pended [sic] court proceedings." Am. Compl. ¶ 6. On November 3, 2011, the Plaintiff injured his lower back and right hand when the double bunk bed he attempted to climb separated from the wall and collapsed. Id. ¶ 9. The Plaintiff was

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treated in the Jail's infirmary from November 3 to November 10, 2011, and each time was returned to his " Unit." Id. ¶¶ 10-11.

After falling twice on November 10, the Plaintiff, at a nurse's insistence, was placed in a " Safe Cell" located in the infirmary that allegedly reeked of urine and spoiled food. Id. ¶¶ 12-14. The Plaintiff alleges that he was held in the Safe Cell for five days " and only given one shower despite numerous requests." Id. ¶ 15. The Plaintiff also alleges that while in the Safe Cell, he was refused " a phone call and envelopes to contact [his] lawyer and family," and was refused a clean cell because the " duty officer ... told [ ] Plaintiff [that he] would not be in that cell long." Id. The Plaintiff alleges that when his property was returned to him " two or three days later," items were missing. When he complained about the missing items, the duty officer told him " that it will be logged in the log book." Id. ¶ 16. On the morning of November 15, 2011, the Plaintiff was transferred to " C.C.A. Medical Unit for treatment." Id. ¶ 17.

The Plaintiff filed this action on May 3, 2012, from the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina. He claims that the District breached its duty of " reasonable care and safekeeping owed to Plaintiff," id. ¶ 18, " knowingly, intentionally ... ex-communicated" him from his family and attorney, in violation of the First Amendment, id. ¶ 20, and placed him " in a filthy, urine infested cell with reckless disregard for his health and safety ...." and maintained a " defective ...


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