United States District Court, District of Columbia
REVEREND DAVID L. JEFFERSON, Plaintiff,
STINSON MORRISON HECKLER LLP d/b/a STINSON LEONARD STREET LLP, Defendant.
B. WALTON United States District Judge
plaintiff in this civil action, Reverend David L. Jefferson,
alleges that the defendant, Stinson Morrison Hecker
(“Stinson”), discriminated against him on the
basis of his disability, Third Amended Complaint
(“Third Am. Compl.”) ¶ 1, and brings claims
against the defendant under the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§
12181-12189 (2012), the District of Columbia Human Rights Act
(the “Human Rights Act”), D.C. Code Ann.
§§ 2-1401.01-1404.04 (2001), and a claim of
intentional infliction of emotional distress under District
of Columbia common law, Third Am. Compl. ¶¶ 45-46,
57-58, 63. Currently before the Court is the Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint
(“Def.'s Mot.”). Upon careful consideration
of the parties' submissions,  the Court concludes that it
must grant Stinson's motion to dismiss.
to the plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint, he suffers
from “physical and mental impairments of mild Traumatic
Brain Injury, Somatoform Disorder, Convergence Insufficiency,
Fatigue, Memory Loss, Major Depressive Disorder[, ] and
Occipital Neuralgia that substantially limit him in the major
life activities of working, reading, seeing[, ] and
communicating.” Third Am. Compl. ¶ 6. During 2014,
Stinson represented clients who were named as defendants by
the plaintiff in a separate matter assigned to this Court.
Id. ¶ 8. Related to that litigation, on
September 8, 2014, a Stinson attorney sent to the
plaintiff's counsel a notice to take the plaintiff's
deposition. Id. ¶ 12. In response, on September
10, 2014, the plaintiff's counsel sent an e-mail to
Stinson requesting that a computer or tablet be provided for
the plaintiff to use during the deposition. Id.
¶ 13. Stinson neither objected to this request nor did
it provide the plaintiff with a computer or tablet during the
deposition, which was conducted on September 17, 2014.
Id. ¶¶ 13-18. The plaintiff asserts that
he felt obligated to continue with the deposition despite not
having the assistance of a computer or a tablet. Id.
plaintiff alleges that his participation in the deposition
without a computer or tablet caused him stress, which led him
to seek “help from a heath care facility recommended by
his psychiatrist.” Id. ¶ 19.
Subsequently, the plaintiff's wife took on the
responsibility of managing the plaintiff's affairs while
he received “out-of-state medical hospitalization and
treatment” until December 17, 2014. Id.
September 14, 2015, almost one year after the deposition was
conducted, the plaintiff filed a complaint with the District
of Columbia Office of Human Rights (the “Human Rights
Office”), id. ¶ 22, which dismissed the
plaintiff's complaint without prejudice for failing to
state a claim for which relief could be granted, id.
¶ 23. The plaintiff appealed the decision, but the Human
Rights Office affirmed its dismissal. Id.
¶¶ 24-25. The plaintiff then filed his original
complaint in this matter on May 11, 2016. See
Complaint (May 11, 2016), ECF No. 1.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
plaintiff seeks dismissal of the Third Amended Complaint
under both Rules 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. See generally Def.'s
Mot. Consideration of such motions are evaluated under the
following standards of review.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) “presents a threshold challenge to the
court's jurisdiction.” Morrow v. United
States, 723 F.Supp.2d 71, 75 (D.D.C. 2010) (Walton, J.)
(quoting Haase v. Sessions, 835 F.2d 902, 906 (D.C.
Cir. 1987)). While a court must “assume the truth of
all material factual allegations in the complaint and
‘construe the complaint liberally, granting [the]
plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be derived
from the facts alleged, '” Am. Nat'l Ins.
Co. v. FDIC, 642 F.3d 1137, 1139 (D.C. Cir. 2011)
(quoting Thomas v. Principi, 394 F.3d 970, 972 (D.C.
Cir. 2005)), the plaintiff nonetheless bears the burden of
establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the
court has subject matter jurisdiction, Lujan v. Defs. of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). Accordingly,
“‘the [p]laintiff's factual allegations in
the complaint . . . will bear closer scrutiny in resolving a
12(b)(1) motion' than in resolving a 12(b)(6) motion for
failure to state a claim.” Grand Lodge of the
Fraternal Order of Police v. Ashcroft, 185 F.Supp.2d 9,
13-14 (D.D.C. 2001) (quoting 5A Charles A Wright & Arthur
R. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 1350 (2d
ed.)). Moreover, “the court need not limit itself to
the allegations of the complaint.” Id. at 14.
Instead, “a court may consider such materials outside
the pleadings as it deems appropriate to resolve the question
[of] whether it has jurisdiction [in] the case.”
Scolaro v. D.C. Bd. of Elections & Ethics, 104
F.Supp.2d 18, 22 (D.D.C. 2000).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
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). Thus, 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)). 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.” 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)
(a 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 Kowal, 16
F.3d at 1276. Along with the allegations made within the four
corners of the complaint, the court may 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).