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Leonard v. George Washington University Hospital

United States District Court, District of Columbia

August 7, 2017

STEPHEN DANIEL LEONARD, Plaintiff,
v.
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, appearing pro se, has filed a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against George Washington University Hospital (“Hospital” or “GWUH”), Georgetown University Hospital, Georgetown University (“GTU”), the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”), [1] the District of Columbia, the District of Columbia Animal Shelter, the United States Capitol Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). See Compl. Caption, ECF No. 1. Certain defendants have moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, which plaintiff has opposed.[2] For the reasons explained below, the Court agrees that no federal claims have been stated, and it declines pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any non-federal claims.[3]Therefore, the Court will grant each defendant's motion and will dismiss the case in its entirety under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), which requires dismissal of “the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . . . fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.” Id. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). As a result, the Court will deny plaintiff's pending motions as moot.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The instant complaint presents a series of bizarre events “that began with [plaintiff's] walking into George Washington University Hospital with chest pains and culminated with him seeking political asylum in Canada and then Cuba.” GTU's Mem. at 1, ECF No. 23.[4] Along the way, plaintiff's dog ended up at an animal shelter and was euthanized. Id. at 6.

         Plaintiff alleges that the following events occurred between April 30, 2015, and May 3, 2015. Compl. at 3. After arriving at GWUH's emergency room “on or about April 30th, 2015 . . . with severe chest pains and abdominal pains” and being admitted, “agents of the D.C. Metro Police Department and FBI illegally without asking or knowledge of the [plaintiff] went and searched [his] truck parked along side [sic] the Hospital.” Id.. Plaintiff overheard the police and hospital staff “discussing [his] dog ‘having food but no water'” and “demanded to know what was going on, and why Police and Hospital Staff were in [his] vehicle and not treating [him] for medical emergencies.” Id. The police “quickly” left the Hospital and plaintiff “filed a[n] Oral & Written Request for the video feed inside the E.R. and Outside the E.R. showing [his] vehicle.” Id. at 3-4. Plaintiff addressed his request to “Hospital Security and Administrators inside the E.R. and also [to] George Washington University Police via the Emergency Beacon located 20-30 feet away from [his pickup] truck.” Compl. at 4.

         After the staff at GWUH “threatened to throw [plaintiff] out of the E.R., ” he left and “drove to D.C. Metro Police Headquarters to make a formal Internal Affairs Complaint.” Id. Plaintiff was told that the “2nd district” would handle “any I.A. investigation” and was given a telephone number to call. While “attempting to reach a supervisor, ” plaintiff “had an emergency inside his [pickup] truck while driving from the D.C.P.D. Headquarters, involving chest pains and abdominal pains.” Id. Plaintiff drove to a police cruiser parked nearby and asked the officer to call an ambulance. The officer, whom plaintiff later learned was a U.S. Capitol Police Officer, called an ambulance and “took possession” of plaintiff's truck and his dog inside the truck. Plaintiff was taken to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (“MedStar”) and his dog was taken to the D.C. Animal Shelter. Id.; see GTU's Mem. at 4 n.2 (“[T]he hospital colloquially referred to as ‘Georgetown University Hospital' is owned and operated by MedStar Heath, Inc., not by Georgetown University, ” and it “is a separate legal entity from the University itself.”)

         At MedStar, plaintiff “was left [without any treatment] on a gurney in the E.R. for close to 45 minutes, ” despite his loud pleas for help. Compl. at 4. Plaintiff “unbuckled [himself] from the gurney and ran outside stumbling to the residential houses off campus outside the E.R., knocking on doors to try to get someone to allow [him] to use the phone.” Id. at 4-5. Plaintiff “was being pursued by the D.C. Fire Rescue and D.C. Police Department until a man finally allowed [him] to use his phone.” Compl. at 5. Plaintiff called his “Aunt Loretta Leonard . . . and explained to her what had occurred[.] [A]t that moment [MPD officer] Tang or Tong arrived and [plaintiff] handed him the phone to speak to [his] Aunt about why the Police were chasing [him] with Rescue and why the two Hospitals were not helping [him].” Id. The officer “verified someone was on the line and abruptly hung up the phone.” Id. Plaintiff “then began walking down the street and away from the officer when [he] was surrounded by multiple units of the [MPD] who ordered [him] on the ground.” Id. Plaintiff “complied and advised” about his chest pains and his unsuccessful attempt to obtain medical care. The police “kept [plaintiff] on the ground for an hour or longer until [he] was rolling around in the dirt and grass with unbearable chest pains brought on by still unknown causes.” Id. Thereafter, Officer Tang or Tong and another officer placed plaintiff “into the back of a Police Car and drove [him] around the city making two separate stops” and “finally took [plaintiff] to some sort of Mental Health Evaluation Center . . . in D.C.” where he was “admitted against [his] will without a criminal charge or any other lawful reason and left . . . there.” Id. “[T]he nurses or doctors or staff and police officers came into the room with a needle, injected [plaintiff] with some type of liquid against [his] will and against [his] requests, took the handcuffs off and left [him] to sleep on the floor.” Id. at 6. The next morning, plaintiff was told he could leave and was “given a paper stating [he] had anxiety[.]” Id.

         While waiting for a bus outside of the Center, plaintiff “collapsed” and “woke up in the E.R. at George Washington University Hospital to nurses telling [him] to go into a Paded [sic] Room.” Id. Plaintiff refused and “ran out of the hospital” only to be “caught and detained” by hospital staff and security. Id. Plaintiff was told that he needed “to sign a Medical Refusal Form, ” which he “pretended” to do before “running into the sidewalk[.]” Compl. at 6. Plaintiff then “heard them yell ‘there's no ink on the paper, he didn't sign it' and someone in the bunch made the call to ‘let him go.' ” Id. Plaintiff ran five blocks and then “laid down in the grass” near the White House. He staggered a bit more but then experienced chest pains and collapsed near the National Archives building. Id. A man proceeded to help plaintiff and “offered” to get plaintiff's truck parked at 3rd and Constitution Avenue; plaintiff told the man that his keys were either with the Capitol Police or “on the seat” of the truck. Compl. at 7. The man returned “about 30-40 minutes later” without the truck and offered plaintiff cab fare to get to the truck and $10 should he need to return to the Hospital. Id.

         When plaintiff arrived at his truck, he smashed a door window, took his cell phone and “set off to C.N.N. Headquarters which was a few blocks away at Union Station.” Id. Plaintiff asked a security guard to allow him into the building because he “needed to speak to someone from C.N.N. about some incidents that had occurred over the past two days.” Id. The security guard “refused [plaintiff] access or help.” Id. Plaintiff sat on a bench outside of CNN to “wait[ ] for a journalist to come along, ” but his chest and stomach pains returned. Id. Plaintiff does not recall whether he or someone else called 911 but D.C. Fire Rescue arrived and plaintiff left. Id. Plaintiff tried to enter CNN's building through a side entrance but “was told via intercom by Security to ‘get away from the door.' ” Id.

         Plaintiff next walked “4 blocks away” to the “F.B.I. Field Office . . . to make [a] complaint about what was occurring.” Id. He was followed by a “black car w/tinted windows[.]” Compl. at 8. Plaintiff “ran into Georgetown University Law Library, ” signed the visitors log “on May 01 or May 02, 2015 and wrote help and turned it so that the Docent/Asst. could see what [he] wrote.” Id. Plaintiff waited “a few minutes” and then went outside where he “saw the car was gone.” Id. Plaintiff then “bolted out for the F.B.I. office 1 block over.” Id. When he arrived, plaintiff, speaking through an outside telephone, “advised them who I was, why I was there and requested to speak to the duty offices” but was refused help. Plaintiff “told them that [he] wasn't leaving until the duty agent came out or spoke to [him] and advised them [that he] was in fear for [his] life[, ]” but “[t]hey came outside and kicked [plaintiff] off their property.” Id.

         Having no success at the FBI, and “with no alternatives, ” plaintiff walked down the street and went inside a church “to hide.” Id. Plaintiff “kicked open the Pastor[']s door and barricaded [himself] inside with an Industrial Printer and Furniture blocking the door.” Id. Plaintiff called his Aunt Loretta again but she “acknowledged [plaintiff's] concerns but couldn't help [him].” Compl. at 9. Plaintiff left the church and obtained from the Capitol Police his truck keys, a case number, and the D.C. Animal Shelter's contact information. He then drove back to the church “and went inside and barricaded [himself] in the Pastor[']s office until daylight.” Id. At daylight, plaintiff sought help from the church's administrator and “had a brief Q & A” with the Pastor, who eventually contacted the “authorities.” Id. An MPD officer took plaintiff “outside and contacted D.C. Fire Rescue, ” which determined that plaintiff needed emergency care and transported him to “University Hospital off N. Capitol St.[.]” Id. According to plaintiff, MPD “attempted to get Hospital staff to inject [him] with some type of psychotropic and Baker Act [him], ” but he refused to be injected “with anything unless it was to help with [his] chest & abdominal pains.”[5] Id.

         After “arguing with the nurses and administrators” about his treatment, plaintiff “left the hospital staggering and struggling to a bus stop, ” where he again collapsed. Compl. at 10. After “an hour or so, ” plaintiff hailed a taxi and returned to his truck parked “outside the Church next to the F.B.I. office on 3rd St. N.W..” Id. Plaintiff then “left D.C. to go to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, [Maryland], but “was followed to Baltimore . . ., then to Glen Burnie, Md., and eventually had to Commodeer [sic] a Semitruck [sic] on May 04, 2015 while running for [his] life to get medical care and away from the people who were following [him] around since April.” Id. “A high speed chase up I-95 ensued, went across 4 States and ended when [plaintiff] made it to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, ” where he filed a “Complaint against the United States for violations of multiple treaties, laws and Constitutional Rights[.]” Id. Plaintiff then drove “to the Port Authority Police at Lincoln Tunnel and Requested their help and protection. That led to an incarceration at Rikers Island for 60 days [and] 4 separate hospital ER visits seeking proper medical care[.]” Id. After the U.N.'s Office of Human Rights “acknowledged” plaintiff's complaint in July 2015, he “ran for Political Assylum [sic] in Canada, was thereafter deported, and then to an effort to seek Assylum [sic] in Havana, Cuba.” Id.

         In August 2016, plaintiff filed the instant “Complaint Under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983” in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, ECF No. 1, which transferred the case to this Court on October 12, 2016. See Order, ECF No. 11. The complaint consists of five uncaptioned counts. See Compl. at 11-14. In the Relief section of the complaint, plaintiff seeks monetary damages. Id. at 15. In addition, plaintiff “want[s] to know who's responsible behind this cloak of shadows and secret lies that's destroyed my life. . . who killed [his] dog and why[, ] . . . [and] who took [his] truck from the Police yard in Maryland, ” as well as “accountability under Criminal Statutes and Civil laws.” Id.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim” in order to give the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); accord Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) “tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint.” Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The motion does not test a plaintiff's ultimate likelihood of success on the merits, but only forces the court to determine whether a plaintiff has properly stated a claim. ACLU Found. of S. Cal. v. Barr, 952 F.2d 457, 467 (D.C. Cir. 1991). “[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss [under Rule 12(b)(6)], a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint[, ]” Ath ...


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