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Jenkins v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District of Columbia

January 17, 2018

RICARDO JENKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          EMMET G. SULLIVAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant District of Columbia's Motion to Dismiss [ECF No. 5] and the Federal Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 13]. For the reasons discussed below, the motions are granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff's claims arose from an incident on November 13, 2014 at the Re-Entry Sanctions Center (“RSC”) operated by the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (“CSOSA”). Compl. at 2 (page number designated by the Court); Fed. Defs.' Mem. of P & A. in Support of Fed. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, or in Alternative, for Summ. J. (“Fed. Defs.' Mem.”), Leonard Decl. ¶¶ 1-2. Plaintiff and the other resident involved in the incident had been referred to the RSC “due to substance abuse issues.” Leonard Decl. ¶ 8. They “were roommates while housed at the RSC.” Id. Roger Leonard and Benjamin Treadwell were substance abuse counselors at the RSC. Def.'s Mem., Treadwell Decl. ¶ 1; Leonard Decl. ¶ 1. Neither Mr. Leonard nor Mr. Treadwell were aware of any animosity between, or any prior incident involving, plaintiff and the other resident. Leonard Decl. ¶ 8; Treadwell Decl. ¶ 3.

         According to plaintiff, while he was speaking with Mr. Leonard in the hand scan room, the other resident entered the room, sat on Mr. Leonard's desk, and refused to leave when “Mr. Leonard told [him] that he was not finish[ed] talking to [plaintiff].” Compl. ¶ 2. At that time, the other resident allegedly called plaintiff “derogatory names, ” and “started striking [plaintiff] viciously.” Id.; see Jenkins Decl., ECF No. 15 ¶¶ 2-3. Plaintiff claimed that “[t]here was no intervention by anyone until [the other resident] stop[ped] his attack . . . and left the room on his [own].” Compl. at 2.

         Mr. Leonard described the incident as follows:

2. While serving in the capacity of Substance Abuse Counselor, I was involved in an altercation that took place on November I 3, 2014 at the RSC. On that date, I was in the hand scan room at the RSC speaking with [plaintiff] about an incident that occurred the day before. I was sitting on a chair that was facing the computer in that room while [plaintiff] was sitting in a chair that was facing the opposite direction toward the doorway to the 6th floor hallway.
3. While speaking with [plaintiff], another RSC resident appeared in the doorway to the hand scan room. I asked the resident to leave and return when I was finished speaking with [plaintiff]. The other resident then left, and returned approximately five to ten minutes later.
4. When [plaintiff] saw the resident standing in the doorway he made an obscene comment about the resident's mother; specifically that [plaintiff] called the other resident's mother a “bitch.” Apparently a few days earlier both [plaintiff] and the resident were in a group meeting at the RSC during which the other resident shared that his mother had passed away while he was holding her.
5. After [plaintiff] made the comments, he got up from the chair and walked toward the resident. Because of where I was standing I could not tell whether the other resident walked toward [plaintiff] first, or whether [plaintiff] walked toward him first. At that point I turned my chair to face [plaintiff] and the resident, both of whom were already in the middle of the hand scan room attempting to punch each other. From my vantage point, I could not discern who attempted first contact.
6. I immediately called for assistance from Substance Abuse Counselor, Benjamin Treadwell, who entered the room and stood between the two men, at which time both men stopped fighting. Security personnel then entered the room and kept both men away from each other. To my best recollection, the entire altercation between the two residents lasted approximately thirty (30) seconds to one (1) minute. I was not aware of any animosity or any prior incident between [plaintiff] and the other resident.
7. At some point, [plaintiff] had a bruise on his face. I do not have any recollection or information as to when the injury occurred. Because of his injury, security personnel escorted [plaintiff] to the RSC's medical unit. [Plaintiff] was later seen at Providence Hospital where he was diagnosed with having a contusion and was prescribed ibuprofen for pain.

Leonard Decl. ¶¶ 2-7.

         When Mr. Treadwell entered the room, he “observed an incident . . . wherein the two men were trying to grab each other.” Treadwell Decl. ¶ 2. He believed the “altercation . . . to be more of a verbal exchange than a physical exchange, ...


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