United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY United States District Judge
case arises from a physical altercation that took place
between Plaintiff and Defendant on April 30, 2015. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant attacked him on a sidewalk after
Plaintiff complimented the appearance of a woman who
Plaintiff later learned was Defendant's wife. Plaintiff
filed this civil lawsuit asserting causes of action for
assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional
distress. Defendant is also facing criminal charges
associated with the alleged assault. Defendant filed an
Answer in this lawsuit and asserted various counterclaims.
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's  Motion to
Dismiss Defendant's First Amended Counterclaim.
consideration of the pleadings,  the relevant legal
authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's  Motion to Dismiss. First, the Court
holds that Defendant's counterclaim for assault is barred
by the statute of limitations. Second, the Court holds that
Defendant's counterclaims for defamation or libel and
false light invasion of privacy are barred by the judicial
alleges that on April 30, 2015, he left a restaurant in the
District of Columbia with two friends and headed toward his
car. Compl., ECF No. 1, at ¶¶ 6-8. According to
Plaintiff, he then complimented a woman he saw on the street,
whom he believed to be alone, on her appearance. Id.
¶¶ 10-11. Plaintiff alleges that after continuing
to walk for a brief period, he heard shouting and turned
around, only to see Defendant running at him. Id.
¶¶ 12-13. Defendant then allegedly attacked
Plaintiff, causing him serious physical injuries.
Id. ¶¶ 14-15. Defendant was arrested later
that night and faces felony assault charges relating to this
incident. Id. ¶ 21. Plaintiff filed his
Complaint in this case on April 19, 2016, asserting causes of
action for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Id. ¶¶ 23-41.
14, 2016, Defendant filed an Answer and Counterclaim.
Def.'s Answer and Counterclaim, ECF No. 11. In
Defendant's Counterclaim, he alleged that on the night in
question he was out with his wife when Plaintiff
“brushed up against [Defendant's wife's] arm
and body while making a shocking, disrespectful, and
insulting comment.” Id. ¶ 2. Defendant
alleged that he heard Plaintiff's comment and asked
Plaintiff “what did you say?” Id. ¶
3. According to Defendant, Plaintiff then charged toward him
with the apparent intention of injuring both he and his wife.
Id. ¶¶ 5-6. Defendant alleged that he only
then hit Plaintiff after Plaintiff attempted to strike him,
and only in defense of himself, his wife, and a friend.
Id. ¶¶ 7- 11. Defendant claims that he
suffered injuries to his hand as a result of the incident.
Id. ¶ 12. Based on these facts, Defendant
asserted counterclaims for assault, intentional infliction of
emotional distress, defamation or libel, and false light
invasion of privacy. Id. ¶¶ 13-50.
Defendant has since amended his Counterclaim to remove his
claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Def.'s First Am. Counterclaim, ECF No. 29 (“Am.
has filed a motion to dismiss Defendant's Amended
Counterclaim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Pl.'s Mot. That motion has been fully briefed and is now
ripe for resolution.
Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a pleading on the
grounds that it “fail[s] to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
“[A] complaint [does not] suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). Rather, a complaint,
or counterclaim, must contain sufficient factual allegations
that, if accepted as true, “state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570. “A 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
Court will dismiss Defendant's Counterclaim in its
entirety under Rule 12(b)(6) for two reasons. First,
Defendant's counterclaim for assault is barred by the
statute of limitations. Second, Defendant's counterclaims
for defamation or libel and false light invasion of privacy
are barred by the judicial proceedings privilege. Although
the Court will dismiss Defendant's counterclaim for
assault with prejudice, the Court will only at this time
dismiss Defendant's counterclaims for defamation or libel
and false light invasion of privacy without prejudice to
Defendant moving to amend those claims by no later than March
Defendant's Counterclaim for Assault is Barred by the
Statute of Limitations
the Court will dismiss Defendant's counterclaim for
assault because it is barred by the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for civil assault claims in the
District of Columbia is one year. D.C. Code § 12-301(4);
Redding v. D.C., 828 F.Supp.2d 272, 283 (D.D.C.
2011). Defendant's civil assault counterclaim is based on
an incident that allegedly occurred on April 30, 2015.
See Am. Counterclaim ¶ 14. Defendant first
filed his Counterclaim over one year after that date, on May
14, 2016. See generally Def.'s Answer and
Counterclaim, ECF No. 11. It is accordingly untimely and
barred by the statute of limitations.
does not dispute these facts, but argues that his
counterclaim should be considered timely because it
constituted a compulsory counterclaim and was properly filed
along with Defendant's Answer in accordance with Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 13(a). Def.'s Opp'n at 2-3.
In other words, Defendant asks the Court to hold that
Plaintiff's filing of his Complaint in this case tolled
the statute of limitations with respect to Defendant's