United States District Court, District of Columbia
C. LAMBERTH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case concerns allegations brought by Lynette Davis, on behalf
of herself and her minor child Coltan Edwards, and Michael
Banks ("plaintiffs") against Megabus Northeast LLC
and Megabus Southeast LLC ("defendants") for (1)
violations of Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866
("Section 1981"), 42 U.S.C § 1981, et
seq., as amended, (2) intentional infliction of
emotional distress ("IIED"), and (3) assault. [ECF
No. 1]. Defendants have moved for summary judgment on all
three counts. [ECF No. 23]. Plaintiffs have moved for partial
summary judgment on their Section 1981 claim. [ECF No. 24].
Because there is an issue of material fact on defendants'
liability under Section 1981, the Court
DENIES both defendants' and
plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on this claim.
The Court GRANTS defendants' motion for
summary judgment on the IIED claim because the plaintiffs
fail to allege more than mere mental and emotional distress
in their pleadings. The Court also GRANTS
defendants' motion for summary judgment on the assault
claim because it is barred by the one-year statute of
factual allegations in this case center on a confrontation
that occurred between the plaintiffs and a Megabus employee
on January 4, 2015. The plaintiffs purchased bus tickets from
the defendants to travel from New York City to Orlando,
Florida by way of three different busses. Upon boarding the
second bus of their trip at Union Station in Washington,
D.C., Bernard Antoine, a Megabus baggage handler, began
loading luggage behind plaintiff Davis and plaintiff
Edwards' seats. Plaintiff Davis voiced her concern to
Antoine that the baggage placement was unsafe. In response,
Antoine began using a number of highly offensive racial slurs
towards plaintiff Davis and her two sons. Antoine also
threatened to remove them from the bus. Antoine allegedly
continued to speak to Davis and Edwards in a derogatory
manner for a period of roughly 15 minutes. During this
period, another passenger on the bus, plaintiff Banks,
intervened on behalf of Davis and her sons. After
intervening, plaintiff Banks was also threatened and called
derogatory names by Antoine. After exiting the bus, Antoine
approached the window nearest the plaintiffs and pointed his
hands in the form of a gun shape at plaintiff Edwards.
then departed from Union Station and the plaintiffs allege
that they "were forced to ride nearly 17 hours on the
Megabus bus feeling humiliated, scared, distressed, and
upset." [Compl. ¶ 23, ECF No. 1]. Plaintiffs assert
that they continue to suffer mental and emotional distress
due to the actions of the Megabus baggage handler.
Rule 56, summary judgment is appropriate when "the
movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., Ml U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). "A
fact is material if it 'might affect the outcome of the
suit under the governing law, ' and a dispute about a
material fact is genuine 'if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.'" Steele v. Schafer, 535 F.3d 689,
692 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (quoting Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. at 248). All inferences drawn from the facts must be
viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.
See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144
(1970). To prevail on a summary judgment motion there must be
enough evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for
the moving party. Id. at 252.
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Section 1981, all persons within the United States are
entitled to (1) the right to make and enforce contracts and
(2) the right to enjoy all benefits, privileges, terms, and
conditions of their contractual relationships. 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981(a) reads:
"All persons within the jurisdiction of the United
States shall have the same right in every State and Territory
to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give
evidence, and to the full and equal benefits of all laws and
proceedings for the security of persons and property as is
enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like
punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions
of every kind, and to no other."
"Section 1981 claims most commonly involve contracts of
employment, " the provision "also prohibits refusal
of service based on race." Mitchell v. DCX,
Inc., 274 F.Supp.2d 33, 44 (D.D.C. 2003). "To
establish a claim under § 1981, a plaintiff must show
that (1) [he or she is a member] of a racial minority
[group]; (2) the defendant had an intent to discriminate on
the basis of race; and (3) the discrimination concerned one
or more of the activities enumerated in the statute."
Id. at 44-45.
Intentional Infliction of ...