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Lesesne v. Doe

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

August 21, 2014

JOHN B. LESESNE, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN DOE, et al., Defendants

Page 2

For John B. Lesesne, Plaintiff: Moses Vincent Brown, LEAD ATTORNEY, BROWN & BUTLER, PLLC, Washington , DC.

For Henry R. Lesansky, Health Service Administrator, Department of Correction of The District of Columbia, District of Columbia, Defendants: Joseph Alfonso Gonzalez, Steven J. Anderson, LEAD ATTORNEYS, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR DC, Washington , DC.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff John Lesesne alleges that he suffered physical injuries and emotional distress due to negligent treatment by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections (" DOC" ) while hospitalized for a gunshot wound following his arrest. He has sued the District of Columbia, the DOC, and several named and unnamed DOC employees. The Defendants move to dismiss or for summary judgment. Because Lesesne has failed to allege any custom or policy by the District that caused his injuries, and because he alleges no negligence by Defendant Henry R. Lesansky, the Court will dismiss these parties. The Court finds that Lesesne's statutory notice to the District put the city on notice of the necessary facts underlying his claims, and that Lesesne has adequately pled negligent infliction of emotional distress. It will therefore deny the Defendants' motion as to those claims.

I. Background

Lesesne was shot in the abdomen by his brother, a D.C. police officer, who, according to a police report, Lesesne had attacked with a knife. Defs.' Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. 1 at 2. He was arrested and taken to a nearby hospital where he underwent surgery. During his ensuing hospital stay, Lesesne was in the custody of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections. In his amended complaint, Lesesne alleges that DOC personnel continuously handcuffed him to his bed and ignored his attending physicians' requests that he be allowed to receive physical and occupational therapy, causing long-term injury. Id. ¶ ¶ 15-18. Later, when the hospital discharged him, DOC officers allegedly made Lesesne walk to a transport vehicle while shackled and then dropped him, causing a pulmonary embolism. Id. ¶ ¶ 20-22. After a second trip to a hospital and a return to the D.C. Jail, Lesense claims he contracted a staph infection because DOC denied him adequate medical treatment. Id. ¶ ¶ 26-28.

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Lesesne brought suit in this Court against the DOC, the District of Columbia and three individuals: an unnamed DOC officer that oversaw his detention; Captain David Holmes, a DOC employee; and Henry R. Lesansky, a DOC health services administrator. His initial complaint listed sixteen claims, including for violations of the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Compl. ¶ ¶ 27-42. Judge Wilkins, who was previously assigned to this case, granted the District's motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub.L. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321, and for failure to state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Order, Dkt. 32 (Sept. 30 2011). The D.C. Circuit reversed as to Lesesne's federal claims. Mandate, Dkt. 35 (June 4, 2014). After remand, Lesesne filed an amended complaint alleging a violation of the Eight Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Defendants move to dismiss, or alternatively for summary judgment, as to Lesesne's constitutional claims against the District of Columbia and Dr. Lesansky, and his claims for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress against all Defendants. The Court held a hearing on the Defendants' motion on June 17, 2014.

II. Standard of Review

To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to " state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). " A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 556. The complaint must contain more than " a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" and " naked assertion[s]" devoid of " further factual enhancement." Id. at 555, 557. The Court assumes the plaintiff's factual assertions to be true and draws all inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Id.

Summary judgment should be granted when " 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). A fact is material if it could affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A dispute is genuine if the " evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. The " evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255. The non-movant, however, must establish more than " the existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of his position, id. at ...


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