United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY J. KELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Raheem Muhammad, appearing pro se, has brought this
action against the United States and several officials and
employees of the U.S. Postal Service (the “USPS”)
(collectively, for purposes of this motion, the “United
States”),  as well as the District of Columbia, for
alleged injuries he suffered when he slipped and fell on a
sidewalk outside a Post Office located in the District of
Columbia. ECF No. 1 (“Compl.”). Muhammad seeks $1
million in compensatory damages. Id. at 13. The
District of Columbia has moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF No. 9 (“DC
Mem.”). The United States has moved to dismiss all
counts under Rule 12(b)(6), as well as Count Two under Rule
12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. ECF No.
16-1 (“US Mem.”). For the reasons explained
below, the Court will (1) grant the District of
Columbia's motion in its entirety, (2) grant the United
States' motion in part and deny it in part, and (3) deny
Muhammad's pending motions to vacate certain minute
orders and transfer the case.
Court accepts as true the facts as pled in Muhammad's
complaint. On the afternoon of June 5, 2014, Muhammad slipped
and fell on the “public sidewalks and . . . curbs that
were directly adjacent to . . . 5636 Connecticut Avenue, NW,
Washington, D.C.” Compl. ¶¶ 16-17. The USPS
operates a Post Office at that address. Id. ¶
2. Muhammad suffered “major injuries to his head,
shoulder, ribcage and etcetera.” Id. ¶
18. The fall “caused a hole” in his forehead,
which resulted in “a massive amount” of bleeding.
Id. ¶ 19. A passerby helped Muhammad enter the
Post Office. Id. ¶ 20. Once inside, Muhammad
asked “Defendant [Jane] Doe and/or . . . anyone else .
. . to immediately call ‘911.'” Id.
¶ 22. However, Doe refused both this request and
Muhammad's request to use the Post Office's bathroom.
Id. ¶ 23. Doe instead instructed Muhammad to
use the bathroom of a grocery store “located down the
street.” Id. As a result, he was
“compelled to seek out ‘public
transportation' for his severe head injuries in order to
seek immediate medical treatment.” Id. ¶
24. Muhammad attributes his injuries to Defendants'
negligence in failing to maintain the sidewalk, as well as to
“racism and apathy.” See id.
complaint, Muhammad asserts the following claims, each
against all Defendants:
. Count One: Negligence for failure to
maintain the “postal facility's adjoining
sidewalks; walkways and curbs, free of defects and . .
hazardous conditions, ” and for failure to warn
“Postal Patrons and/or Postal Visitors of potentially
dangerous public sidewalks and/or public sidewalks'
curbs.” Id. ¶¶ 26-27.
. Count Two: Violations of Section 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for failure “to provide
adequate and meaningful safeguards for people with physical
disabilities within . . . Post Office Facilities, ”
which caused Muhammad “to suffer major and permanent
physical and/or mental injuries.” Id.
. Count Three: Intentional Infliction of
Emotional Distress (“IIED”) that caused Muhammad
to “suffer and continue to suffer severe mental
anguish and emotional and physical distress.”
Id. ¶ 50.
. Count Four: Violations of the Fourteenth
Amendment through the actions of Defendant Jane Doe, who
allegedly “deliberately and intentionally and
unconstitutionally discriminated against Plaintiff . . . on
the basis of his Islamic Religious Beliefs and/or his
Physical Disabilities and/or his Race, so as to deny him
equal protection of the law ” Id. ¶ 53.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See Gen.
Motors Corp. v. EPA, 363 F.3d 442, 448 (D.C. Cir. 2004)
(“As a court of limited jurisdiction, we begin, and
end, with an examination of our jurisdiction.”). The
law presumes that “a cause lies outside [the
Court's] limited jurisdiction” unless the party
asserting jurisdiction establishes otherwise. Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994);
see also Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S.
555, 561 (1992) (the burden is on the party asserting
jurisdiction to establish the court's subject matter
jurisdiction). “As a general matter, courts should
consider Rule 12(b)(1) challenges to its subject matter
jurisdiction before assessing the legal sufficiency of a
claim under Rule 12(b)(6).” Lempert v. Rice,
956 F.Supp.2d 17, 27 (D.D.C. 2013). “Because
subject-matter jurisdiction focuses on the court's power
to hear [a] claim, ” the plaintiff's factual
allegations are given “closer scrutiny” than
required in deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to
state a claim. Grand Lodge of Fraternal Order of Police
v. Ashcroft, 185 F.Supp.2d 9, 13 (D.D.C. 2001).
Failure to State a Claim
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 requires 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). “To survive a motion to dismiss, the
complaint must ‘plead factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged, ' and ‘must
suggest a plausible scenario that shows that the pleader is
entitled to relief.'” Patton Boggs LLP v.
Chevron Corp., 683 F.3d 397, 403 (D.C. Cir. 2012)
(citations omitted) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Jones v. Horne, 634 F.3d 588,
595 (D.C. Cir. 2011)). “Where a complaint pleads facts
that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability, it ‘stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of “entitlement to
relief.”'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must treat the
plaintiff's factual allegations as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See
Momenian v. Davidson, 878 F.3d 381, 387 (D.C. Cir.
2017). But the Court “need not accept inferences drawn
by plaintiff if such inferences are unsupported by the
facts set out in the complaint, ” Kowal v. MCI
Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994),
and it is “not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation, ”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotation
omitted). Although a pro se complaint, such as here,
“must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” the plaintiff still
must plead “‘factual matter' that permits the
court to infer ‘more than the mere possibility of
misconduct.'” Atherton v. D.C. Office of
Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681-82 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79).
Court will first consider, and deny, the United States'
motion to dismiss Count Two for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. The Court will then consider the United
States' and the District of Columbia's motions to
dismiss all claims for failure to state a claim. As explained
below, the District of Columbia's motion will be granted,
and the United States' motion will be granted in part (as
to Counts Two and Four) and denied in part (as to Counts One
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
United States asserts that jurisdiction is lacking over
Muhammad's Rehabilitation Act claim (Count Two) because
he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies under the
Act's “distinct remedial scheme.” U.S. Mem.
at 7. The USPS has promulgated regulations implementing
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. See 39 C.F.R.
pt. 255. Specifically, 39 C.F.R. § 255.6 sets out the
administrative procedures for filing Section 504 complaints
“alleging disability discrimination in any program or
activity of the Postal Service and brought by members of the
public.” 39 C.F.R. § 255.6(b). Under the
regulations, a complainant “shall first exhaust
informal administrative procedures before filing a formal