United States District Court, D. Columbia
CHARLES JOHNSON, JR., Plaintiff: Gladys M. Weatherspoon, LEAD
ATTORNEY, THE LAW OFFICE OF GLADYS WEATHERSPOON, LLC,
VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant: Peter Rolf Maier,
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.
Document No.: 10
CONTRERAS, United States District Judge.
Defendant Veterans Affairs Medical Center's Second Motion
Charles Johnson, Jr., has brought this action seeking damages
from Defendant Veterans Affairs Medical Center and four
unknown individual defendants (" Does 1-4" ) for
claims arising from Mr. Johnson's inpatient treatment at
the Medical Center. Mr. Johnson initially brought common law
tort claims against the defendants in the Superior Court of
the District of Columbia. But the Medical Center removed to
this Court and has now moved to dismiss Mr. Johnson's
claims against the Medical Center on sovereign immunity
grounds. Because the Medical Center correctly argues that Mr.
Johnson did not name the United States as a defendant and
that he has therefore failed to sue the only proper defendant
in this action, the Court will grant the Medical Center's
motion and dismiss Mr. Johnson's claims against the
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
to the Complaint, Plaintiff Charles Johnson, Jr., was
receiving inpatient care from Defendant Veterans Affairs
Medical Center on November 13, 2011, when four Medical Center
employees, the Defendants Does 1-4, searched his belongings
and his person. Compl. ¶ ¶ 3, 9, 11-13, ECF No.
1-1. At the time, Mr. Johnson was receiving treatment for
depression and neurovegetative symptoms, and he had not used
illicit substances for eighteen years. Compl. ¶ ¶
9-10. Suspecting that Mr. Johnson's visiting family
members had brought him narcotics, the four Medical Center
employees searched Mr. Johnson's bed, his personal
effects, and his person. Compl. ¶ ¶ 11-13, 21;
Opp'n Mot. Dismiss Exs. A-B, ECF No. 6-2. The employees
conducting the search included one female nurse--a member of
the opposite sex as compared to Mr. Johnson, who is male.
Compl. ¶ ¶ 3, 13, 20. During the search of Mr.
Johnson's person, the Medical Center employees made him
hold up his arms, lift his scrotum, and bend down and part
his buttock cheeks so that the employees could thoroughly
search his body. Compl. ¶ ¶ 13, 21.
the search, Mr. Johnson made several informal complaints to
the Medical Center and also sent the Medical Center a letter
through counsel, complaining about his treatment. Mem. P. &
A. Supp. Pl.'s Opp. Mot. Dismiss ¶ ¶ 1-15, ECF
No. 6-1. Unsatisfied with the Medical Center's
perfunctory responses, Mr. Johnson filed suit against the
Medical Center and its four unnamed employees (" Does
1-4" ) in the District of Columbia Superior Court on
June 2, 2014. See Compl. Seeking damages, he charged
the Medical Center with six common law tort violations
arising from the search of his belongings and his
person: assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional
distress, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, and
negligence. Compl. ¶ ¶ 16-39.
Medical Center removed to this Court and filed an initial
motion to dismiss Mr. Johnson's claims for failure to
exhaust administrative remedies. See Notice of
Removal, ECF No. 2; Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 5. However, the
Medical Center withdrew its first motion to dismiss, and now
it has filed a second motion to dismiss--this time arguing
that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Mr. Johnson's
claims because sovereign immunity bars them. See
Def.'s Second Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 10; Mem. P. & A.
Supp. Def.'s Second Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 10-1.
Medical Center argues that sovereign immunity bars Mr.
Johnson's claims for three reasons:
(1) despite the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)'s waiver
of the federal government's sovereign immunity, federal
agencies such as the Medical Center ...