United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY United States District Judge
Osman Mohamed Hamid brings this action under the Federal Tort
Claims Act (“FTCA”) against Defendant United
States of America for damages stemming from his alleged false
arrest and imprisonment in the District of Columbia by an
officer of the United States Capitol Police. Pending before
the Court is Defendant's  Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings and, Alternatively, for Summary Judgment. Upon
consideration of the pleadings,  the relevant
legal authorities, and the record for purposes of the pending
motions, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment, but STAYS entry of final judgment until MAY 1,
2017, during which time Plaintiff may file a substantive
response to the motion for summary judgment in light of the
Court's denial of Plaintiff's request for Rule 56(d)
forth in the Complaint, on March 30, 2014, Plaintiff was
stopped by an Officer of the Capitol Police in the District
of Columbia while operating a taxicab. Compl. ¶ 7. The
Complaint alleges that the Capitol Police Officer, Officer
Seth A. Carll, “lacked probable cause or an articulate
suspicion that [Plaintiff] had committed or was in the
process of committing any criminal offense or traffic
violation of any law or regulation.” Id.
¶ 8. Despite the alleged lack of probable cause, the
Capitol Police Officer allegedly ordered Plaintiff out of the
taxicab, and conducted a search of both Plaintiff and the
vehicle. Id. ¶ 9. Plaintiff alleges that this
search failed to uncover “any illegal materials or any
evidence of criminal activity, ” but that Plaintiff was
nonetheless arrested “for the offense of operating
without a valid driver's license and transported to
Capitol Police headquarters.” Id. ¶ 10.
Later that day, the charges against Plaintiff were dropped
and he was released from custody, but as a result of the
force used during the arrest, Plaintiff allegedly suffered
injuries that required emergency medical treatment at George
Washington University Hospital. Id. ¶¶
connection with the pending motions, Defendant has submitted
the declaration of Officer Seth A. Carll, signed under
penalty of perjury, which provides additional information
regarding the circumstances of the arrest pleaded in the
Complaint. See Carll Decl., ECF No. 9-3
(“Declaration”). According to the Declaration,
while Plaintiff's vehicle was stopped at a red traffic
light, Officer Carll observed plaintiff “going through
papers on the steering wheel.” Id. ¶ 7.
When the light changed, Plaintiff's vehicle did not move,
and several other vehicles honked their horns. Id.
Plaintiff then began driving slowly and swerved between
lanes, at which time Officer Carll determined that he had
probable cause to effectuate a traffic stop. Id.
¶ 9. As part of the traffic stop, Officer Carll
requested and received Plaintiff's District of Columbia
driver's license. Id. ¶ 11. In accordance
with standard operating procedure, Officer Carll then
proceeded to confirm the validity of the license over the
Capitol Police radio. Id. 12. Under that procedure,
the Capitol Police official who responds to the radio request
for confirmation checks the credentials of the driver's
license through two systems: the Washington Area Law
Enforcement System (“WA L E S ”) and the National
Crimes Information Center (“NCIC”). Id.
According to the Declaration, the WALES/NCIC check of
Plaintiff's license indicated that the license was a
disqualified commercial driver's license, which rendered
it invalid. Id. ¶¶ 14-15. Because
operating a motor vehicle without a valid and current license
is an arrestable offense in the District of Columbia, Officer
Carll concluded that he had probable cause to arrest
Plaintiff, and did so. Id. ¶¶ 15, 17.
While in custody, however, another Officer found what
appeared to be a valid Australian driver's license on
Plaintiff's person, and Plaintiff was subsequently
released from custody. Id. ¶¶ 19-20.
According to the Declaration, Plaintiff did not present
Officer Carll with the Australian driver's license, or
any other valid and current license, during the traffic stop.
Id. ¶ 16. Plaintiff was arrested at 12:08 A.M.
on March 30, 2017, and was released by 12:45 A.M. on the same
day. Id. ¶¶ 17, 20. While in custody,
Plaintiff complained of head pain, and upon his release, he
was transported to George Washington University Hospital, at
which time he was provided with a PD-731 “information
to arrestee released without charge” report.
Id. ¶¶ 21 -23.
judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The mere existence of some factual dispute
is insufficient on its own to bar summary judgment; the
dispute must pertain to a “material” fact.
Id. Accordingly, “[o]nly disputes over facts
that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Nor may summary judgment be avoided
based on just any disagreement as to the relevant facts; the
dispute must be “genuine, ” meaning that there
must be sufficient admissible evidence for a reasonable trier
of fact to find for the non-movant. Id.
order to establish that a fact is or cannot be genuinely
disputed, a party must (a) cite to specific parts of the
record-including deposition testimony, documentary evidence,
affidavits or declarations, or other competent evidence-in
support of its position, or (b) demonstrate that the
materials relied upon by the opposing party do not actually
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Conclusory assertions offered without
any factual basis in the record cannot create a genuine
dispute sufficient to survive summary judgment. See
Ass'n of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO v. Dep't of
Transp., 564 F.3d 462, 465-66 (D.C. Cir. 2009).
Moreover, where “a party fails to properly support an
assertion of fact or fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact, ” the district court may
“consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the
motion.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
faced with a motion for summary judgment, the district court
may not make credibility determinations or weigh the
evidence; instead, the evidence must be analyzed in the light
most favorable to the non-movant, with all justifiable
inferences drawn in his favor. Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. at 255. If material facts are genuinely in dispute, or
undisputed facts are susceptible to divergent yet justifiable
inferences, summary judgment is inappropriate. Moore v.
Hartman, 571 F.3d 62, 66 (D.C. Cir. 2009). In the end,
the district court's task is to determine “whether
the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require
submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law.” Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. at 251-52. In this regard, the
non-movant must “do more than simply show that there is
some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); “[i]f the
evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly
probative, summary judgment may be granted.”
Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (internal
citations omitted). However, summary judgment is premature
unless “all parties have ‘had a full opportunity
to conduct discovery.'” Convertino v. U.S.
Dep't of Justice, 684 F.3d 93, 99 (D.C. Cir. 2012)
(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 257 (1986)). Pursuant to Rule 56(d), “[i]f a
nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for
specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to
justify its opposition, the court may . . . allow time to . .
. take discovery . . . .” In Convertino, the
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) instructed that a Rule
56(d) affidavit must satisfy three requirements:
First, it must outline the particular facts [the party]
intends to discover and describe why those facts are
necessary to the litigation. Second, it must explain why [the
party] could not produce [the facts] in opposition to the
motion [for summary judgment]. Third, it must show the
information is in fact discoverable.
684 F.3d at 99-100 (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted). A district court “should resolve each
‘Rule 56(d)' request based on its application of
the Convertino criteria to the specific facts and
circumstances presented in the request.” U.S. ex
rel. Folliard v. Gov't Acquisitions, Inc., 764 F.3d
19, 27 (D.C. Cir. 2014).
FTCA provides a limited waiver of sovereign immunity for
certain tort actions “where the United States, if a
private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance
with the law of the place where the act or omission
occurred.” 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1). Through the
FTCA, the United States has granted a limited waiver of
sovereign immunity for claims of false arrest and
imprisonment, so long as the claims arise out of acts or
omissions of “investigative or law enforcement officers
of the United States Government[.]” Id. §
2680(h); see also Scruggs v. Bureau of Engraving &
Printing, 200 F.Supp.3d 78, 82 (D.D.C. 2016) (explaining
that although the FTCA “preserves sovereign immunity in
claims against the government for certain intentional torts,
” that exception “has its own exception, known as
the ‘law enforcement proviso, ' wherein sovereign
immunity is waived”). Plaintiff alleges that he
“was falsely arrested and imprisoned in the District of
Columbia on or about March 30, 2014.” Compl. at 1.
Although Plaintiff has alleged that he suffered injuries
during the course of this arrest, Plaintiff does not bring
any claims other than those for false arrest and
imprisonment. Opp'n Mem. at 1 n.1.
Plaintiff's “complaint arises entirely from acts
that occurred in Washington, D.C., this Court must consult
District of Columbia tort law when assessing the
complaint's FTCA claims.” Smith v. United
States, 121 F.Supp.3d 112, 118 (D.D.C. 2015),
aff'd, 843 F.3d 509 (D.C. Cir. 2016). Under
District of Columbia law, there is no material difference
between claims of false arrest and false imprisonment.
Enders v. D.C., 4 A.3d 457, 461 (D.C. 2010)
(“‘False arrest' is indistinguishable as a
practical matter from the common law tort of ‘false
imprisonment.'”). The essential elements of both
claims are: “(1) the detention or restraint of one