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Lewis v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District of Columbia

April 23, 2014

Radcliffe Bancroft Lewis, Plaintiff,
v.
District of Columbia et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on review of the plaintiff's pro se complaint and application to proceed in forma pauperis. The application will be granted and the case will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) (requiring dismissal of a case upon a determination that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted).

Plaintiff is a resident of Silver Spring, Maryland. He sues the District of Columbia, an officer of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, a McDonald's restaurant in the District of Columbia, the restaurant's insurer, and a law practice in Illinois. Plaintiff demands $3 million in damages. Compl. at 30.

The complaint is nearly impossible to follow but plaintiff, after "substitu[ing]" defendants, id. at 6, purports to sue all but McDonald's for libel, false arrest, and obstruction of justice; he purports to sue McDonald's for gross negligence based on the same underlying conduct. Id. at 6-7. The complaint arises from an alleged encounter plaintiff had with MPD Officer Vazquez on February 12, 2011, when plaintiff entered the McDonald's restaurant to buy a cup of coffee. The encounter led to plaintiff's arrest and his release from custody the same day. See Compl. ¶¶ 34-46. Allegedly, "charges were filed against [plaintiff] on February 28, 2011" in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Id. ¶ 49. When plaintiff appeared in court on March 1, 2011, he "challenged the jurisdiction of the court while asserting special appearance [and] determined in about two minutes [that a public defender the court attempted to appoint him was] unqualified to defend him." Id. ¶ 50. Eventually, the charges were dismissed on June 23, 2011, Id. ¶ 59. The Clerk of this Court received the instant complaint on March 11, 2014.

Under the statute of limitations applicable to this diversity action, claims "for libel, slander... malicious prosecution, [and] false arrest or false imprisonment" must be brought within one year from the time the claim accrues. D.C. Code § 12-301(4); see Duberry v. Inter-Con Sec. Systems, Inc., 898 F.Supp.2d 294, 300 (D.D.C. 2012) (citing cases); see also Hobley v. Wachovia Corp., 275 Fed.Appx. 16 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (per curiam) ("[T]he district court properly treated appellant's allegations as analogous to claims for libel, slander, and malicious prosecution, which are subject to a one-year statute of limitations, and dismissed them as time barred.") (citing D.C. Code § 12-301(4)). This action lodged three years after the alleged events in February 2011 is time-barred and, thus, dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which can be granted. A separate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.


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