United States District Court, D. Columbia.
ABDUL C. GREENE, Plaintiff: Gregory L. Lattimer, LEAD
ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICES OF GREGORY L. LATTIMER, PLLC,
JODY SHEGAN, Officer, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendants: James
Anthony Towns, Sr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Shermineh C. Jones, OFFICE
OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
W. ROBERTS, Chief United States District Judge.
Abdul Greene filed an action asserting common law claims of
false arrest, assault and battery, and intentional infliction
of emotional distress, and a claim under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 of deprivation under color of law of the constitutional
right to be free from unreasonable seizure, all stemming from
an encounter with Metropolitan Police Officer Jody Shegan in
2010. Defendants Shegan and the District of Columbia filed a
post-discovery motion for
summary judgment, arguing that probable cause for arresting
Greene shielded Shegan with qualified immunity from
liability, that Shegan used reasonable force to effect the
lawful arrest, and that Greene's factual allegations of
intentional infliction of emotional distress are insufficient
as a matter of law. The Court heard arguments on the motion
on August 11, 2015. Because genuine disputes existed over
material facts bearing on whether probable cause existed to
arrest and use force against Greene and whether Shegan's
actions could amount to extreme and outrageous conduct, the
defendants' motion for summary judgment was denied. This
memorandum opinion memorializes the findings and conclusions
announced at the hearing.
defendants moved under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a)
for summary judgment on all of Greene's claims. Summary
judgment may 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 dispute is genuine where the "
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505,
91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). At summary judgment stage, a court
must view the conflicting evidence and draw all reasonable
inferences from it in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Id. at 255.
first of the defendants' three principal arguments
advanced was that the undisputed facts show that Officer
Shegan had probable cause to arrest Greene. The defendants
claimed that the presence of probable cause entitled Officer
Shegan to qualified immunity from Greene's 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claim, and voided Greene's false arrest/false
imprisonment claim. Defs.' Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of
Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. (" Defs.' Mem. of P. &
A." ), ECF No. 43-1 at 5-8.
The doctrine of qualified immunity protects government
officials 'from liability for civil damages insofar as
their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory
or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would
have known.'" Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S.
223, 231, 129 S.Ct. 808, 172 L.Ed.2d 565 (2009) (quoting
Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 102 S.Ct.
2727, 73 L.Ed.2d 396 (1982)). To resolve a government
official's qualified immunity claim, " a court must
decide [(1)] whether the facts that the plaintiff has alleged
or shown make out a violation of a constitutional right . . .
[and (2)] whether the right at issue was 'clearly
established' at the time of the defendant's alleged
misconduct." Id. at 232 (internal citations
well established when this event occurred that the Fourth
Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. An
arrest without probable cause is an unreasonable seizure that
violates the Fourth Amendment. Martin v. Malhoyt,
830 F.2d 237, 262, 265 U.S. App.D.C. 89 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
Under D.C. law,
[t]he focal point of [a false arrest or false imprisonment]
action is the question whether the arresting officer was
justified in ordering the arrest of the plaintiff; if so, the
conduct of the arresting officer is privileged and the action
fails. . . . Justification can be established by showing that