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James v. United States

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

June 13, 2014

NORMAN JAMES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., DEFENDANTS

Page 59

NORMAN JAMES, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

For DR. LEE, Officer, Metropolitan Police, JOSE, WILLLIAM CHANDLER, SGT, GREGORY BENNETT, LT., CHRIS WALKER, U.S. MARSHALS, 2 BLACK, U.S. MARSHAL, 1 WHITE, AGENT, 1 F.B.I., also known as BALDHEAD, Defendants: Rafique Omar Anderson, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

Page 60

MEMORANDUM OPINION

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, United States District Judge.

In August of 2013, pro se Plaintiff Norman James (" James" ) filed an action in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia related to two alleged incidents of police misconduct. ( See Attach. to Suppl. Mem. to Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 12, at 34 (" Compl." ); Superior Court Original File, ECF No. 3-1 at 34 (" Am. Compl." ).)[1] James maintained, first, that Officer Lee of the Metropolitan Police Department (" MPD" ) had improperly detained him and had mistakenly accused him of assault when James attempted to assist a woman who was crying on the street. (Compl.) James also alleged that, when he went to Superior Court to file a lawsuit related to that initial miscarriage of justice, another officer questioned him about his possible association with an individual who had just been arrested in the courthouse, and three U.S. Marshals, one FBI agent, and two clerks who overheard the interaction allegedly laughed at James, purportedly defaming him. (Am. Compl.) James's amended complaint regarding both of these incidents--which was removed to federal court on November 14, 2013 (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1)--seeks one million dollars in damages from (1) the various state and federal law enforcement officers involved in the two events; (2) the person who was arrested in Superior Court; and (3) an individual named " Jose." ( Id. )

Before this Court at present is the United States' motion to dismiss the complaint, in which it argues that this Court has no jurisdiction over James's action because the United States has not waived sovereign immunity for the defamation

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claims. (Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 2, at 3.)[2] Because this Court agrees that it lacks jurisdiction over James's claims against the United States, the United States' motion to dismiss is GRANTED. Moreover, as explained below, this Court concludes that James has failed to articulate any facts that state a plausible claim for relief against the remaining defendants in this matter. Accordingly, the entire case is DISMISSED with prejudice. A separate order consistent with this opinion will follow.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

James's handwritten complaints contain very little factual information and are difficult to decipher, but what can be gleaned about the relevant events, both from the original complaint and the amended complaint, is as follows.[3]

On an unspecified date, James alleges that he heard a shirtless and shoeless woman crying near the Government Printing Office (" GPO" ), and that he requested assistance for her from two nearby GPO police officers. ( See Compl.; Am. Compl.) James asserts that the officers accused him of assaulting the woman (Compl.) and " refused to give their names" (Am. Compl.). He further asserts that MPD Officer Lee placed him " in handcuffs" and that the officers " put the [woman] in the back seat of the car." (Compl.) Thereafter, James filed a complaint in Superior Court of the District of Columbia arising from this incident, alleging that " [u]nnecessary force and false accusation was used by the police." ( Id. )

The amended complaint alleges additional facts arising out of James's trip to the courthouse to file his civil complaint. Specifically, James states that " after walking from the judge's chamber to the Civil Division[,]" an unnamed officer came into the courthouse and arrested an individual named " Chris Walker." (Am. Compl.) That officer then asked James--who was a total bystander--if he was with Walker (the arrestee). The complaint does not provide any additional details regarding that interaction, but James alleges that two clerks, three unnamed U.S. Marshals and one FBI agent then laughed at him,

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which, according to the complaint, constituted defamation. ( Id. ) James then amended his initial ...


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