United States District Court, District of Columbia
RICHARD J. LEON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss and for Summary Judgment [Dkt. # 40], filed on behalf
of Defendants Michael Hughes and Jeremy Alford. For the
reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS the
Pamela Lyles ("plaintiff) alleges that Defendants
Michael Hughes, United States Marshal for the Superior Court
of the District of Columbia ("Hughes"), and Jeremy
Alford, Supervisory Deputy United States Marshal for the
Superior Court of the District of Columbia
("Alford"), in their individual capacities,
violated rights protected by the Fourth Amendment to the
United States Constitution in the course of evicting her from
her former residence on April 20, 2012. This matter is before
the Court on remand from the United States Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia Circuit "for further
proceedings with respect to [plaintiffs] claims under
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Fed. Bureau of
Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), against [defendants]
Hughes and Alford." Lyles v. Hughes, No.
15-5106 (D.C. Cir. June 24, 2016). According to the D.C.
Circuit, when this Court ruled on defendants' motion to
dismiss, it "applied too exacting a standard" and
failed to "construe the facts in the light most
favorable to the [plaintiff], the nonmoving party."
Id. Hughes and Alford move for summary judgment on
plaintiffs Bivens claims.
defendants have submitted and the Court has considered four
declarations, the Court treats their motion as one for
summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d)
("If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) . . ., matters
outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by
the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary
judgment under Rule 56."). On March 31, 2017, pursuant
to Neal v. Kelly, 963 F.2d 453, 456 (D.C. Cir.
1992), I issued an Order advising plaintiff of her
obligations under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and
the Local Civil Rules of this Court to respond to
defendants' motion. [Dkt. # 42]. Specifically, the Order
advised plaintiff that the Court would accept as true
defendants' assertions of fact unless plaintiff submitted
affidavits or documentary evidence showing that
defendants' assertions are untrue. Plaintiff filed her
opposition on May 8, 2017. See Pl's Response to
Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. ("Pl's Opp'n")
[Dkt. # 44].
Execution of Writs of Restitution
Superior Court of the District of Columbia ("Superior
Court"), Civil Division, Landlord and Tenant Branch
("L&T Court"), issues writs of restitution
(evictions). Mem. of P. & A. in Support of Defs.'
Mot. to Dismiss and for Summ. J. ("Defs.'
Mem."), Ex. A ("Coleman Decl.") ¶¶
7-8 [Dkt. # 41]. Once the judge approves a writ, the writ is
filed. and an L&T Court clerk delivers the writ to the
United States Marshals Service, Superior Court, District of
Columbia ("USMS") for execution. Id.
is valid for 75 calendar days. Id. ¶ 8. The
USMS stamps each writ with the earliest date (four days after
its issuance, excluding Sundays and holidays) and latest date
(75 calendar days after its issuance) on which the writ can
be executed. Id. ¶ 9. If a writ has been
reissued by the L&T Court because it had expired, it is
called an alias writ. Id. ¶ 10. An alias writ
takes priority, and it will be executed before all other
writs. Id. The writ for plaintiffs eviction was an
alias writ. Defs.' Mem., Ex. C ("Alford Decl.")
Deputy United States Marshal ("DUSM") does not
determine the appropriateness of evicting a tenant.
Id. ¶ 9. He is assigned to a team that
"merely execute[s] the order of the [L&T] Court by
assuring the peaceful repossession by the landlord."
Id.; see also Defs.' Mem., Ex. B ("Hunt
Decl.") ¶ 10.
Deputy in Charge ("DIC") performs administrative
functions regarding evictions. Coleman Decl. ¶ 5. Among
other duties, the DIC is responsible for compiling lists of
evictions and scheduling evictions upon receipt of writs from
the L&T Court. Id. Evictions are scheduled by
date and by quadrant of the city. Id. ¶ 10. The
DIC "assigns a sequential number and a time to each
eviction, " and "[o]nce a schedule is established,
an eviction list is produced and provided to the Superior
Court Dispatcher, and ... to the L&T Court."
Id. ¶ 11. However, "[d]epending upon the
circumstance of any given day, evictions may be done in a
different order." Alford Decl. ¶ 9.
of three or four DUSMs is assigned to execute the writs and
to complete and return paperwork. Coleman Decl. ¶ 12;
Alford Decl. ¶ 9; Hunt Decl. ¶ 6. Each team has a
team leader. Coleman Decl. ¶ 12. United States Marshal
Michael Hughes does not execute writs, is not a member of any
eviction team, and does not supervise directly the DUSMs
assigned to the writs section of the office. Coleman Decl.
¶ 12; Hunt Decl. ¶ 15; Alford Decl. ¶ 20;
Defs.' Mem., Ex. D ("Hughes Decl.")
¶¶ 5-7. It is the landlord's responsibility to
"hav[e] the necessary means for accomplishing evictions,
i.e., ensuring entry can be made in a reasonable time, and
hiring an eviction crew with the required number of
workers." Alford Decl. ¶ 6. DUSMs are not
responsible for moving a tenant's property. Id.
Coleman explains a typical eviction as follows:
13. Upon arrival at [a] residence, the DUSMs meet with the
landlord and have him/her sign a waiver of liability on the
back of the writ, and notify the dispatch. The team knocks
and announces, and notifies the dweller that [it is]
conducting an eviction. The deputies then enter the building
(generally with weapons at the ready) to make a deliberate
search of persons for items that may be of danger, clear the
residence and explain the process to the occupants.
14. After the search, if the occupants are being cooperative,
they are allowed a brief time to gather items such as money,
jewelry, medication, keys, phones, and documents. However,
there is no right to reenter the [residence], and disruptive
or belligerent occupants are not allowed to return into the
residence for the safely of everyone on the scene.
Occupants are then directed to exit the property and to wait
outside .... The movers are then allowed to enter the
dwelling to move out the property.
15. When all appropriate property has been removed from the
dwelling and placed in the public space, the DUSM[s] will
turn the premises over to the landlord, and the landlord will
sign the writ and acknowledge receipt of the premises. If
adversarial circumstances exist, the DUSMs should remain
while the landlord secures the premises to ensure that the
situation does not become dangerous.
16. At the completion of the day, all writs, regardless of
disposition, will be turned [in to] the Process Control