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Banks v. Inspired Teaching School

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 17, 2017

LOUIS A. BANKS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
INSPIRED TEACHING SCHOOL, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          REGGIE B. WALTON, United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint With Prejudice, ECF No. 18, and the District Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 27. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the defendants' motions.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Plaintiffs' Allegations and Legal Claims

         Louis A. Banks (“the plaintiff”) brings this action on his behalf and on behalf of his minor son (“D.B.”). See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1-2.[2] Their claims arise from an incident that occurred on September 17, 2015, see id. ¶ 1, at the Inspired Teaching School, a public charter school in the District of Columbia, see generally id. ¶¶ 6-9, 12-28.

         According to the plaintiff, after he accompanied D.B. to his first grade classroom at 8:30 a.m., Am. Compl. ¶ 6, Misty Freeman, Zoe Duskin and Deborah Williams “lock[ed D.B.] in the psychologist room, ” id. ¶ 7, without first securing parental consent, id. ¶ 8, in order to “force [D.B.] to take a CAT assessment, ” id. ¶ 7; see id. ¶ 16. For reasons that are not stated in the pleadings, a call was made for emergency medical services, see id. ¶¶ 19-21, 31, and Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (“FEMS”) personnel arrived at the school at 3:16 p.m., id. ¶ 26. Their report suggested that D.B. was “not completely alert (not responding appropriately)” and displayed “Abnormal Behavior.” Id., Exhibit (“Ex.”) 4 (Incident Report 2015-0153642-000).

         The plaintiff returned to the school “to pick up [D.B.] at 3:15 p[.]m., ” id. ¶ 25, arriving when D.B. was “being seen by Emergency Medical Services” personnel, id. ¶ 26. The plaintiff entered the room where D.B. was located, id. ¶ 27, he observed “4 men around [D.B.], and “yelled . . . to them do not touch [D.B.], ” id. Zoe Duskin allegedly “close[d] and block[ed] the door for 5 sec[onds] keeping the [p]laintiff[] and [D.B.] inside” the room. Id. ¶ 28. When Duskin “move[d] from the door, ” id., the plaintiff and D.B. left the premises, id. ¶ 29. The plaintiff took D.B. to Children's National Medical Center, where D.B. was treated and released. Id.

         A Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) officer also responded to the school. Id. ¶ 31. According to the police report, D.B. “was making threats to harm himself.” Id., Ex. 5 (CCN # 15146975 - Public Narrative). According to the plaintiff, however, defendants Duskin, Freeman, Mathews, Williams, Proctor, Harris and Sotelo “lied to [the responding officer by] making a false statement in the police public incident report making up crimes to frame [him] and [D.B.]” Id. ¶ 31. Subsequently, an individual whom the plaintiff does not identify accompanied the officer to the plaintiffs' residence “to conduct a welfare check, ” but “there was no answer at the door after multiple attempts and nobody was heard inside.” Id., Ex. 5. Although the plaintiffs were not clients of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, id. ¶ 13, the plaintiff alleges that an unidentified Catholic Charities staff member made a “false police report statement, ” id. ¶ 34, to MPD Officer Fred Rosario at the Fifth District police station, id. ¶ 35. According to the plaintiff, information in the police report has been used “for secret surveillance to target [him, ]” as information about these events is maintained in records of the Child and Family Services Agency, the MPD, and the FEMS “for financial gain. (Racial Profiling).” Id. ¶ 33.

         The plaintiff describes this case as an action

for money damages, declaratory, injunctive relief brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. [§] 1983, 28, U.S.C. [§] 1331[, ] Fourth, Fourteenth Amendments fundamental rights liberty, due process, equal protection clause under the law United States Constitution[]. In addition United States Constitution Title 18 U.S.C. Section 241 Conspiracy Against Right, and 242 Deprivation of Right Under Color of State law.

         Am. Compl. ¶ 5. Among the defendants he is suing are: (1) the Inspired Teaching School and three of its faculty members (Misty Freeman, Zoe Duskin and Deborah Williams); (2) Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and five of its employees (Susan Proctor, Chanel Sotelo, Kristin Mathews, Huy Bui and Donte Harris); (3) the District of Columbia; and (4) the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency and two of its employees (Raymond Davidson and Shirley Green). Id. at 1 (caption). The plaintiffs allegedly have “suffered loss to [their] reputation, shame, emotional distress, denial procedural, denial of fair process, unjustifiable deprivation of liberty due process . . ., false imprisonment [and] the plaintiffs['] federally protected rights, ” for which they demand damages totaling $100 million. Id. ¶ 48.

         B. The Plaintiffs' Superior Court Case

         On December 30, 2015, the plaintiff filed a civil action in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Superior Court”) against the District of Columbia, the Inspired Teaching School, Misty Freeman, Zoe Duskin, Deborah Williams, Catholic Charities, Susan Proctor, Chanel Sotelo, Kristin Mathews, Huy Bui, and the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency. See Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint With Prejudice (“Defs.' Mem.”), Ex. 1 (docket sheet). The factual allegations set forth in the plaintiffs' Superior Court complaint also pertain to the events of September 17, 2015, see generally id., Ex. 2 (Complaint, Banks v. District of Columbia, No. 15-10051 (D.C. Super. Ct. Dec. 30, 2015)), as do the allegations in the amended complaint filed in that Court, see generally Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of the District Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (“District Defs.' Mem.”), Ex. 1 (Am. Compl., Banks v. District of Columbia, No. 15-10051 (D.C. Super. Ct. Mar. 16, 2015)). The plaintiffs brought claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of their constitutional rights, as well as tort claims for “slander, libel, Malice Deformation [sic], False light, ” and demanded $100 million as compensation for “loss of . . . reputation, shame, mortification, and injury to [their] feelings.” Defs.' Mem., Ex. 2 at 7 (page number designated by ECF); see generally District Defs.' Mem., Ex. 1 at 17-23 (alleging defamation, false light, actual malice and negligence) (page numbers designated by the plaintiff). All of the defendants moved to dismiss the Superior Court complaint, and the parties appeared before Superior Court Judge Jennifer DiToro on May 12, 2016, for oral argument on the defendants' motions.[3]See District Defs.' Mem. at 4; Defs.' Mem. at 2. Judge ...


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