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Davis v. Sarles

United States District Court, D. Columbia

September 29, 2015

JUDY DAVIS et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
RICHARD SARLES et al., Defendants

          JUDY DAVIS, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

         ZURI DAVIS, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

         SOLOMON DAVIS, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

         TAVARES DAVIS, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

         For RICHARD SARLES, WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY, COLIN DORRITY, ERIN COOPER, JOSEPH LEWIS, PATRICK BRANDON, Defendants: Janice Lynn Cole, LEAD ATTORNEY, WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Office of General Counsel, Washington, DC.

         For CATHY L. LANIER, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants: Caliandra Burstein, Christina E. Cobb, LEAD ATTORNEYS, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC.

         For RONALD C. MACHEN, JR., Defendant: Rhonda Lisa Campbell, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

         For DANIEL K. DORSEY, Defendant: Daniel Kevin Dorsey, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICE OF DANIEL K. DORSEY, Washington, DC.

Page 224

         MEMORANDUM OPINION [#10, #11, #12, #15, #21]

         RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Judy Davis is the mother of co-plaintiffs Zuri, Tavares, and Solomon Davis. Proceeding pro se, plaintiffs bring this suit alleging violations of their civil rights against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (" WMATA" ); Richard Sarles in his official capacity as Chief Executive of WMATA; several WMATA transit police officers in their official capacities; [1] the Metropolitan Police Department (" MPD" ); MPD Chief Cathy Lanier in her official capacity; former United States Attorney for the District of

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Columbia Ronald Machen in his individual capacity; and attorney Daniel K. Dorsey in his individual capacity.[2] See generally Compl. [Dkt. #1]. This case is before the Court on five separate motions to dismiss.[3] Having carefully considered the parties' pleadings, the relevant case law, and the entire record herein, for the reasons stated below, defendants' motions to dismiss are hereby GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         This case arises from Solomon Davis' (" Mr. Davis" ) June 2013 encounter with WMATA transit police officers that resulted in his arrest and ensuing searches of his residence. For the purposes of the motions to dismiss, the Court takes all plaintiff's factual allegations as true. On June 14, 2013, Mr. Davis was riding his bike home when he was rear-ended twice by " transit officer Patrick Brandon/Brandon Patrick driving a WMATA police cruiser." Compl. Section IV, ¶ 1. The impact knocked Mr. Davis off of the bike " and over a fence." Id. Meanwhile, " several blocks away[,]...a suspect snatched a phone and fled on foot," but " the transit police were not then in 'hot pursuit' when they assaulted Solomon Davis." Id. ¶ 2. Plaintiff further states that the victim informed the transit officers and two MPD officers called to the scene that Mr. Davis was not the suspect, but he was nevertheless " left ... in the clutches of the transit officers, who [] reported that they found a gun and [] placed Solomon under 'arrest.'" Id. ¶ 3-4. The officers then placed Mr. Davis in handcuffs, took him to the hospital " to tend to [his] injuries," and finally to the MPD's 5th District Headquarters. Id. ¶ 4. Eventually, Mr. Davis was charged with armed robbery and held at the D.C. jail for four days. Id. ¶ 6. According to plaintiff, the charge was reduced to felony possession of a gun " based exclusively on the 'charge' made by the defendant transit officers." Id.

         On June 27, 2013, defendant Colin Dorrity obtained a warrant to search plaintiffs' home for guns.[4] Id. ¶ ¶ 7, 11. Thereafter, " approximately a dozen transit officers dressed as a military assault team, kicked or rammed the metal front door out of its frame and burst in with guns drawn, screaming obscene orders as they pointed the guns into the [plaintiffs'] faces." Id. ¶ 14. The plaintiffs were ordered to get down on the ground, handcuffed, and placed on their couch " as the transit officers ransacked their home in a search 'for guns' and finding none." Id.

         Defendant Dorsey was Mr. Davis' court-appointed counsel who allegedly limited his representation " to convincing Solomon [] to plead guilty." Id. ¶ 8. On April 21, 2014, Mr. Davis' trial date, the U.S. Attorney's Office dismissed the case without prejudice. See id. ¶ ¶ 15-17. Plaintiff contends

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that the next day, defendant Herbert Nichols obtained a warrant to search plaintiffs' home for drugs. Id. ¶ 17. Later that day, the search warrant was executed in the same manner as before. See id. ¶ 18. " The transit officers allegedly found to [sic] small bags of marijuana" and took Mr. Davis and Tavares Davis to the MPD's 5th District station " where both were processed as 'criminal defendants' even though neither had been arrested by an MPD officer." Id. ¶ 19. The U.S. Attorney decided not to prosecute these charges and dismissed the case. Id. ¶ 20.

         Based on these alleged facts, plaintiffs filed suit in this Court on August 14, 2014, asserting claims against defendants for " willfully engaging in and carrying forth a conspiracy that subjected them to numerous violations of their civil, constitution, and Human rights within a general scheme of continued racial segregation and oppression otherwise known as Jim Crow.'" Compl. 3. Plaintiffs seek declaratory relief along with compensatory and punitive damages. Id. Defendants move to dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (b)(6).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. ...


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