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Slate v. D.C.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

February 10, 2015

GREGORY SLATE, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants

GREGORY A. SLATE, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant: Sarah L. Knapp, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC.

For UNITED STATES, UNIDENTIFIED JOHN DOE U.S. MARSHAL SERVICE, JIN PARK, Defendants: William Mark Nebeker, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

For MEDICAL FACULTY ASSOCIATES INC., trading as GEORGE WASHINGTON MEDICAL FACULTY ASSOCIATES, Defendant: Callyson Taylor Grove, Jodi V. Terranova, LEAD ATTORNEYS, WILSON ELSER MOSKOWITZ EDELMAN & DICKER LLP, Washington, DC.

For HOWARD UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, Defendant: Lydia Auzoux, LEAD ATTORNEY, HOWARD UNIVERSITY, Washington, DC.

Page 226

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, United States District Judge.

Regarding Medical Faculty Associates' Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. 24]; Federal Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. 25]; Howard University Hospital's Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. 29]

On April 10, 2014, Plaintiff Gregory Slate filed a 333-paragraph Complaint in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia,

Page 227

alleging twenty-two different claims against more than twenty defendants. The case was removed to this Court, and Mr. Slate filed a 441-paragraph Amended Complaint on October 1, 2014, alleging twenty-eight claims against more than twenty-three Defendants.[1] Most of the Defendants have some relationship, however tangential, to Mr. Slate's encounters with officers of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department when he was documenting and filming alleged police harassment. Among other claims, Mr. Slate alleges illegal arrests by MPD officers, warrantless searches of his property, destruction of his film tapes, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and wrongful incarceration.

Medical Faculty Associates, Inc. and Howard University Hospital move to dismiss for failure to state a claim. In addition, the United States moves to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction based on sovereign immunity. As explained below, these motions will be granted.

I. FACTS

Mr. Slate asserts that he is " an Emmy award winning investigative journalist whose work focuses on police misconduct and corruption." Am. Compl. [Dkt. 22] ¶ 1.[2] He claims that he filmed police harassment on October 26 and 28, 201, id. ¶ ¶ 23-27, and since that time, he has been subject to numerous instances of police harassment.[3] See e.g., id. ¶ ¶ 28-30, 34-40, 45-60.

Mr. Slate alleges that on December 10, 2011,[4] Mr. Slate called 911 to report a disturbance at the property he leases in the 1700 block of Kilbourne Place NW, Washington D.C. Id. ¶ 32. MPD officers allegedly forced their way into his residence and, without a warrant, searched the first floor and Mr. Slate's office on the third floor. Id. ¶ ¶ 34-39. MPD Officer James Boteler, a named Defendant, then arrested Mr. Slate for felony assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of ammunition, which Mr. Slate alleges are bogus charges. Id. ¶ 40. When told he would be arrested, Mr. Slate suffered a severe panic attack and was transported to George Washington University Hospital (GW Hospital) for treatment. Id. ¶ 41. Treatment was provided by one or more

Page 228

physicians associated with Medical Faculty Associates, also known as the George Washington Medical Faculty Associates. Mr. Slate told GW Hospital that he did not want treatment because he was uninsured, and the hospital allegedly told him that the District of Columbia would pay for his treatment because he was in custody. Id. ¶ 42. Unidentified MPD officers then forced Mr. Slate to sign forms without letting him read what he was signing. Id. ¶ 43. Subsequently, Mr. Slate was billed by Medical Faculty Associates for physician services he received from the doctor(s) who cared for him at GW Hospital. Mr. Slate was held in D.C. Jail for one night and released on personal recognizance. Id. ¶ 44.

Six days later, on December 16, 2011, D.C. Metropolitan Police (MPD) officers executed a search warrant of Mr. Slate's property on Kilbourne Place N.W. Id. ¶ 47. The officers allegedly forced entry, destroyed personal property, and falsely charged him with possession of methamphetamines. Id. ¶ ¶ 47-60. Upon hearing that he would be charged, Mr. Slate suffered a severe panic attack; he was transported to Howard University Hospital. Id. ¶ 61. Mr. Slate told Howard University Hospital that he did not want treatment because he was uninsured, and like GW Hospital, Howard University Hospital allegedly told Mr. Slate that because he was in police custody, the District of Columbia would pay for his treatment. Id. ¶ 62. After receiving treatment, unidentified MPD officers forced Mr. Slate to sign various forms, which had not been filled out; they did not allow Mr. Slate to read what he was signing. Id. ¶ 63. Mr. Slate was held in custody and released seven days later on personal recognizance. Id. ¶ 66.

On January 4, 2012, MPD Officer John Carruthers, a named Defendant, together with unidentified MPD officers and unidentified U.S. Marshal Service deputies, allegedly kicked down the door of property Mr. Slate leases at 35 Bryant Street, N.W. and entered without a warrant. Id. ¶ 69. Mr. Slate alleges further:

70. While inside 35 Bryant Street, N.W. an unidentified USMS Marshal told Plaintiff's tenant that Plaintiff was engaged in financial fraud and to close the bank account from which Plaintiff deducted the tenant's rent.
71. Plaintiff has never engaged in or been charged with financial fraud and as a result of Defendant Unnamed Marshal's and MPD officer's knowing misrepresentation Plaintiff's tenants at 35 Bryant Street N.W. stopped paying rent and moved out causing Plaintiff to lose the rental income he would have otherwise earned but for the Marshal's representation.

Id. ¶ ¶ 70-71. The officers arrested Mr. Slate on two counts of felony contempt of court. Id. ¶ 72. Mr. Slate had another severe panic attack. Id. ΒΆ 72. This time he was transported to Washington Hospital Center, also known as MedStar Washington Hospital Center. As he had on prior occasions, Mr. Slate told the hospital that he did not want treatment because he was uninsured; the hospital assured him that the District of Columbia would pay for his treatment because he was in police custody; and unidentified MPD officers ...


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