United States District Court, D. Columbia.
TERRIE BUNCH, TIARA HAMMOND, LARA HAMMOND, ALYSSA HAMMOND,
EUGENE FUTRELL, DERRICK BROOKS, Plaintiffs: Jay B. Dorsey,
LEAD ATTORNEY, J.B. DORSEY & ASSOCIATES, Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON D.C. POLICE DEPARTMENT, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
WASHINGTON D.C., MAYOR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendants:
Michael K. Addo, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL/DC, Washington,
SEGAL HUVELLE, United States District Judge.
allege that, in May 2012, a hot pursuit police chase resulted
in a collision between the fleeing suspect's car and the
car in which plaintiffs were travelling. (Am. Compl. [ECF No.
5] ¶ 8.) They claim that the officers responsible for the
pursuit, two unidentified members of the D.C. Metropolitan
Police Department (the " Doe defendants" ),
violated their Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Amendment rights.
( Id. ¶ 7.) As such, they bring constitutional
claims against the Doe defendants under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, as well as common law claims of gross negligence. (
Id. ¶¶ 39-46.) In addition, they claim that the
District of Columbia is also liable for the constitutional
violations, because the accident was " a direct
consequence of [the District's] policies and
practices." ( Id. ¶ 28.) Finally, they assert
common law claims against the District for its alleged
negligent supervision, retention and training of the Doe
defendants ( id. ¶¶ 37-38), and for vicarious
liability arising from the Doe defendants' alleged gross
negligence ( id. ¶¶ 35-36).
District has moved to dismiss plaintiffs' amended
complaint. (Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss [ECF No.
6].) For the reasons that follow,
plaintiffs' constitutional claims lack merit and will be
dismissed as to all defendants. Because these claims formed
the sole basis for the Court's jurisdiction, the Court
declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
remaining state law claims, and thus it remands the case back
to D.C. Superior Court.
about May 12, 2012, plaintiffs were travelling in a car that
was struck by the car of a suspect who was then fleeing D.C.
Metropolitan Police in a high-speed chase, causing plaintiffs
to suffer unspecified injuries. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8, 16.) They
allege that the officers involved in the pursuit "
grossly violated the police general order" regarding
high-speed police chases ( id. ¶ 27), but also that
the same general order is " facially flawed"
because, inter alia, it allows officers too much
discretion to initiate pursuits, inadequately discourages or
restricts pursuits, and fails to consider such factors as
driving conditions and officer capability in determining
whether pursuit is appropriate ( see id. ¶
18). Furthermore, plaintiffs allege that the District has
inadequately trained its officers ( id. ¶¶ 19-20),
that it has done nothing in response to its officers "
routinely, flagrantly ignoring the edicts" restricting
high-speed chases ( id. ¶ 10, 15), that it lacks a
Critical Incident Review Board to review all high-speed
pursuits ( id. ¶ 23), that its officers do not
recall the general order on police pursuits ( id. ¶
25), and that its policymakers are " deliberate[ly]
indifferen[t] . . . to the constitutional rights of persons
within the District" ( id. ¶ 34).
initially filed this suit in D.C. Superior Court on May 11,
2015, and it was removed to this Court on August 7, 2015,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. ( See Joint
Notice of Removal [ECF No. 1].)
survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint " must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face,'"
such that a court may " draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678,
129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell A.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167
L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). The plausibility standard " asks
for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Thus,
" [f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that
all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if
doubtful in fact)." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(citations omitted). In ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion, a court
may consider facts alleged in the complaint, documents
attached to or incorporated in the complaint, matters of
which courts may take judicial notice, and documents appended
to a motion to dismiss whose authenticity is not disputed, if
they are referred to in the complaint and integral to a
claim. U.S. ex rel. Folliard v. CDW Tech. Servs.,
Inc., 722 F.Supp.2d 20, 24-25 (D.D.C. 2010).
allege " blatant and egregious constitutional violations
under the 4th, 5th, and 11th amendments of the United States
Constitution." (Am. Compl. ¶ 7.) The District argues
that plaintiffs fail to state a claim for any predicate
constitutional violation by the Doe defendants, and that
their related claim for municipal liability against the
District also necessarily fails. (Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss
at 3-6.) The Court will address each provision in turn.