United States District Court, District of Columbia
B. WALTON, United States District Judge
Dionne Lewis and Felton Hill, the named plaintiffs in this
civil suit, bring this putative class action against the
defendant, the District of Columbia (“District”
or “defendant”), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 (2012), alleging constitutional violations arising from
their arrests and subsequent detentions by the District in
2014. See generally Amended Complaint  (“Am.
Compl.”). Currently before the Court is the
defendant’s motion to dismiss all of the
plaintiffs’ claims. Defendant District of
Columbia’s Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint
(“Def.’s Mot.”) at 1. After carefully
considering the defendant’s motion to dismiss, and all
relevant memoranda of law and exhibits attached thereto,
Court concludes for the reasons that follow that it must
grant in part and deny in part the defendant’s motion.
plaintiffs assert the following in their Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff Hill was detained on Tuesday, July 8, 2014,
“at about 1:10 [A.M., ] when he was arrested by the
[Metropolitan Police Department] for suspicion of DUI
(driving while impaired).” Am. Compl. ¶ 56.
Plaintiff Hill was taken before the Superior Court of the
District of Columbia (“Superior Court”) for his
presentment and a detention hearing later that same day,
id. ¶ 57, supported by the submission of a
Gerstein affidavit setting forth the factual basis
for his arrest, id. ¶ 58. During that hearing,
the Magistrate Judge noted that the affidavit’s
narrative at times identified plaintiff Hill as “Mr.
Ramsey.” Def.’s Mem., Exhibit (“Ex.”)
H (Transcript of July 8, 2014 Superior Court of the District
of Columbia Proceedings in the Matter of District of
Columbia v. Hill (“Hill
Transcript”)) at 4. Based on these inconsistencies, the
Magistrate Judge continued the hearing until the next day so
that the District could perfect the affidavit. Id.
at 5; Am. Compl. ¶ 61. The District then transported
plaintiff Hill to the District of Columbia Jail, where he was
subjected to a strip search as part of the intake process.
Am. Compl. ¶¶ 62-63. The next day, Wednesday, July
9, 2014, the District returned plaintiff Hill to the Superior
Court, id. ¶ 65, and the Magistrate Judge
concluded that the District “did not perfect the
[G]erstein” affidavit and “ordered
[plaintiff] Hill released, ” id. ¶¶
Saturday, November 1, 2014, the Metropolitan Police
Department arrested plaintiff Lewis “for suspicion of
DUI (driving while impaired).” Id. ¶ 43.
She was brought before the Superior Court for her presentment
and a detention hearing on Monday, November 3, 2014,
id. ¶ 44, supported by the submission of a
Gerstein affidavit setting forth the factual basis
for her arrest, id. ¶ 45. The Magistrate Judge
who presided over the hearing noted that the
Gerstein affidavit referred to plaintiff Lewis in
some places as “Ms. Jones, ” and in other places
as “Mr. Jones.” Def.’s Mem., Ex. G (Nov. 3,
2014 Superior Court for the District of Columbia Proceedings
in the Matter of District of Columbia v. Lewis
(“Lewis Transcript”)) at 3. As a result
of these defects, the Magistrate Judge continued the
detention hearing until Tuesday, November 4, 2014, to permit
the District an opportunity to perfect the Gerstein
affidavit. Id. at 4; Am. Compl. ¶ 48
(“[T]he judicial officer ordered [the plaintiff] held
until the next day . . . for a ‘24 Hour
Gerstein perfection’ to give the District an
opportunity to ‘perfect the
Gerstein.’” (no citations in original)).
Plaintiff Lewis was then transported to the District of
Columbia Jail, where she was subjected to a strip search as
part of the intake process. Am. Compl. ¶ 50. The
following day, the District returned plaintiff Lewis to the
Superior Court, and the Magistrate Judge concluded that the
“government did not perfect the
[G]erstein” affidavit and released plaintiff
Lewis from custody. Id. ¶¶ 51-54.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). So to survive a motion
to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the
complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face, ’” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The
“claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); see also Kowal v. MCI
Commc’ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir.
1994) (plaintiff is entitled to “the benefit of all
inferences that can be derived from the facts
alleged”). Although the Court must accept the facts
pleaded as true, legal allegations devoid of factual support
are not entitled to this assumption. See, e.g.,
Kowal, 16 F.3d at 1276. Along with the allegations
made within the four corners of the complaint, the court can
also consider “any documents either attached to or
incorporated in the complaint and matters of which [it] may
take judicial notice.” EEOC v. St. Francis Xavier
Parochial Sch., 117 F.3d 621, 624 (D.C. Cir. 1997).
brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 “provides a
remedy against ‘any person’ who, under color of
state law, deprives another of rights protected by the
Constitution.” Collins v. City of Harker
Heights, 503 U.S. 115, 120 (1992). “Although a
municipality is a ‘person’ subject to suit
under § 1983 for constitutional violations, it
‘cannot be held liable solely because it
employs a tortfeasor-or, in other words, a municipality
cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a respondeat
superior theory.’” Singletary v.
District of Columbia, 766 F.3d 66, 72 (D.C. Cir. 2014)
(citing Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436
U.S. 658, 691 (1978)). As this Circuit has explained,
in considering whether a plaintiff has stated a claim for
municipal liability, the district court must conduct a
two-step inquiry. First, the court must determine whether the
complaint states a claim for a predicate constitutional
violation. Second, if so, then the court must determine
whether the complaint states a claim that a custom or policy
of the municipality caused the violation.
Baker v. District of Columbia, 326 F.3d 1302, 1306
(D.C. Cir. 2003) (citations omitted).
assessing whether the plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint
satisfies this second prong, “[t]he court must
determine whether the plaintiff has alleged an
‘affirmative link, ’ such that a municipal policy
was the ‘moving force’ behind the constitutional
violation.” Id. (citations omitted). There are
“a number of ways a municipality can adopt a policy or
custom that might create liability, ” Brown v.
District of Columbia, 514 F.3d 1279, 1283 (D.C. Cir.
the explicit setting of a policy by the government that
violates the Constitution; the action of a policy maker
within the government; the adoption through a knowing failure
to act by a policy maker of actions by his subordinates that
are so consistent that they have become “custom”;
or the failure of the government to respond to a need (for
example, training of employees) in such a manner as to show
“deliberate indifference” to the risk that not
addressing the need will result in constitutional violations,
Baker, 326 F.3d at 1306 (citations omitted).
Claims Pertaining to the Length of the Plaintiffs’
Detentions (Claims I, II, and III)
plaintiffs assert a number of claims against the District
regarding the length of their detentions. First, they allege
that the District violated the Fourth Amendment by continuing
to detain them “even after a judicial finding of no
probable cause.” Am. Compl. ¶ 69. Similarly,
plaintiff Lewis alleges that the District violated the Fourth
Amendment “by holding [her for] more than [forty-eight]
hours after [her] arrest without a finding of probable cause
by a judicial officer.” Id. ¶ 73. Lastly,
both plaintiffs claim that “[t]he District violated
their Eighth Amendment rights by holding them without
probable cause after the administrative steps incident to
their arrest had been completed without holding a bail
hearing.” Id. ¶ 78.
“a policeman’s on-the-scene assessment of
probable cause provides legal justification for arresting a
person suspected of crime, ” Gerstein v. Pugh,
420 U.S. 103, 113-14 (1975), “the Fourth Amendment
requires a timely judicial determination of probable cause as
a prerequisite to detention, ” id. at 126.
“[A] jurisdiction that provides judicial determinations
of probable cause within [forty-eight] hours of arrest will,
as a general matter, comply with the promptness requirement
of Gerstein.” City of Riverside v.
McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 56 (1991). And where the
arrested individual is detained for more than forty-eight
hours without a judicial determination of probable cause,
“the burden shifts to the government to demonstrate the
existence of a bona fide emergency or other extraordinary
circumstance.” Id. at 57; see also
Cherrington v. Skeeter, 344 F.3d 631, 644 (6th Cir.
2003) (“[T]he undisputed record establishes a violation
of City of Riverside’s [forty-eight]-hour
rule, and [the] [d]efendants have failed to identify any
emergency or other extraordinary circumstance that might take
this case outside of the general rule.”).
Gerstein, jurisdictions may choose to combine
probable cause determinations with other pretrial
proceedings, . . . such as bail hearings and arraignments . .
. .” Riverside, 500 U.S. at 58. The Eighth
Amendment prohibits “excessive bail, ” U.S.
Const. amend. VIII, and while the Amendment “says
nothing about whether bail shall be available at all, ”
United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 752 (1987),
“[a] prompt hearing is necessary” because
“a vital liberty interest is at stake, ”
United States v. Montalvo-Murillo, 495 U.S. 711, 716
(1990). Although the Supreme Court has not imposed a specific
time-limit by which the government must conduct a bail
hearing, lower courts have used Riverside’s
forty-eight hour limitation as a useful guidepost. See,
e.g., Collins v. Ainsworth, 382 F.3d 529, 545
(5th Cir. 2004) (“There is no right to post bail within
[twenty-four] hours of arrest. Mississippi law indicates that
this limitation is [forty-eight] hours.”); Holder
v. Town of Newton, No. 08-CV-197-JL, 2010 WL 432357, at
*11 (D.N.H. Feb. 3, 2010) (“The clear import of
McLaughlin, then, is that a bail hearing held within
[forty-eight] hours of a warrantless arrest is also
presumptively constitutional-if indeed the Constitution
speaks to that issue.”).
The Duration of Plaintiff ...