United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON United States District Judge.
2014, plaintiff Gregory Smith was held at the D.C. jail for
twenty-three days after a judge ordered that he be released.
The District of Columbia has not suggested that there was any
legal justification for this undisputed
"overdetention"; what is at stake is whether
plaintiff has founded his claims for redress on the
appropriate legal theories, and whether he has come forward
with sufficient evidence to support them.
sued the District of Columbia and two individuals who worked
for the Department of Corrections ("DOC"): Jeanette
Myrick and Jack Jones. He brought claims against all three
defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations
of his Fifth Amendment rights, as well as common law claims
alleging false imprisonment and negligence. He also brought a
claim alleging negligent supervision and training against the
District of Columbia. Defendants moved for summary judgment
on all of the counts except the negligence claim,
see Defs.' Mot. for Partial Summ. J [Dkt. # 73]
("Defs.' Mot."), and plaintiff filed a
cross-motion for summary judgment on all four counts.
See Pl.'s Opp. to Defs.' Mot. &
Pl.'s Cross-Mot. for Summ. J. on Liability & Entry of
a Permanent Inj. [Dkt. ## 75, 77] ("Pl.'s
moved for summary judgment on the section 1983 claims in
Count I on the grounds that: (1) plaintiff has not
established the necessary predicate violation of his
constitutional rights; (2) the individual defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity; and (3) plaintiff has not
satisfied the prerequisites for establishing municipal
liability under section 1983, that is, the existence of a
policy or practice that caused the constitutional
deprivation. The Court concludes that there are genuine
disputes of material fact on the questions of whether
plaintiff s constitutional rights were violated, and whether
the District had a custom or practice concerning its receipt
of paperwork that caused plaintiff s overdetention, and those
disputes preclude the entry of summary judgment for plaintiff
or the District on Count I. However, the individual
defendants are both entitled to qualified immunity, so
summary judgment on Count I will be granted in their favor,
and the other theories advanced by plaintiff for section 1983
liability will not move forward.
Court will grant summary judgment on the false imprisonment
claim in Count II in favor of plaintiff because no reasonable
juror could find that he was lawfully detained. Since
plaintiff did not move for summary judgment on his negligence
claim in Count III on proper grounds, the Court will deny his
motion on that count without prejudice. Finally, the Court
will grant the District's motion for summary judgment on
the negligent supervision and training claim in Count IV
because plaintiff has not come forward with expert testimony
to establish the existence of a national standard of care
that was breached in this instance.
following facts regarding plaintiffs overdetention are
• On March 15, 2014, the Department of Corrections
("DOC") received commitment orders in two different
D.C. Superior Court misdemeanor cases, 2012 CMD 007806 and
2014 CMD 00445, ordering that plaintiff be committed to the
custody of the DOC until further order of the Court.
See Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 1-2; Pl.'s Resp.
SOF ¶¶ 1-2; Pl.'s SOF ¶ 2; Defs.'
Resp. SOF ¶ 2; see also Ex. 13 to Pl.'s
Cross-Mot. [Dkt. # 75-191 ("Court View No. 2014 CMD
004452"); Ex. 14 to Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. # 75-20]
("Court View No. 2012 CMD 007806").
• On March 18, 2014, plaintiff was transported from D.C.
jail to Superior Court, and a judge ordered him to be
released in both cases. Defs.' SOF ¶ 3; Pl.'s
Resp. SOF ¶ 3; Pl.'s SOF ¶ 4; Defs.' Resp.
SOF ¶ 4; see Ex. 1 to Pl.'s Cross-Mot.
[Dkt. # 75-71, Ex. 5 to Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. ## 75-11,
79] at 30-31 (together, "Release Order No. 2012 CMD
007806"); Ex. 2 to Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. # 75-8],
Ex. 5 to Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. ## 75-11, 79] at 35
(together, "Release Order No. 2014 CMD 004452");
see also Court View Case No. 2014 CMD 00452; Court
View No. 2012 CMD 007806.
• DOC received and processed the release order for case
number 2014 CMD 004452 on the same day. Defs ' SOF ¶
22; Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 22.
• Although the DOC received the release order in case
number 2012 CMD 007806 on March 18, 2014, the order was not
processed. Defs.' SOF ¶ 23; Pl.'s Resp.
SOF¶23; Pl.'s SOF ¶ 19; Defs.' Resp. SOF
¶ 19; see also Release Order No. 2012 CMD
• DOC did not release plaintiff from custody on March
18. Pl.'s SOF ¶ 5; Defs.' Resp. SOF ¶ 5.
• Plaintiff was held at the D.C. jail until April 10,
2014. Defs.' SOF ¶ 24; Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 24
process by which prisoners are supposed to be released is
also largely undisputed.
Superior Court judge authorizes an inmate's release
during a court appearance, the courtroom clerk generates a
release order and prints two copies, both of which are signed
by the judge, the clerk, and the U.S. Marshal in charge of
the prisoner. Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 4-5, 7; Pl.'s
Resp. SOF ¶¶ 4-5, 7. The clerk maintains the
court's copy and is responsible for submitting it to the
scanning department at the D.C. Superior Court, where the
release order is then scanned into a computerized database
called Court View. Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 6, 8;
Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶¶ 6, 8. This information is
also reflected in another court system called MyJUSTIS.
See Defs.' SOF ¶ 17; Pl.'s Resp. SOF
¶ 17. The Marshal retains the second copy and takes the
release order and the prisoner to the main cellblock in the
courthouse. Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 6, 9-10; Pl.'s
Resp. SOF ¶¶ 6, 9-10.
Marshal hand delivers the release order to a Legal Instrument
Examiner ("LIE") or Lead Legal Instrument Examiner
("LLIE") located at a Department of Corrections
satellite office within the courthouse, and the DOC employee
then uploads the document into a database called the
Transaction Management System ("TMS"). See
Defs.' SOF ¶ 12; Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 12; Ex.
7 to Defs.' Mot. [Dkt. # 73-9] at 19:1-10; Ex. B to
Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. # 75-25] at 54:l-22.Once the release
order is uploaded in TMS, a Legal Instrument Examiner located
in the Records Office at the D.C. jail itself will access the
document in TMS and begin processing the inmate's release
by performing the series of actions specified by the system.
See Defs.' SOF ¶ 12; Pl.'s Resp. SOF
¶ 12; see also Brown Dec. 2015 Dep. at
the first step involved in processing the release order is to
time stamp it. Pl.'s SOF ¶ 40; Defs.' Resp. SOF
¶ 40. The LIE then pulls the hard copy of the
inmate's institutional file to ensure that the release
order matches the commitment order, and that the inmate's
identifying information matches that of other records in the
institutional file. See Defs.' SOF ¶ 13;
Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 13; see also Brown Dec.
2015 Dep. at 20:4-12; Ex. 8 to Defs.' Mot. [Dkt. # 73-10]
at 16: l-8. If all of the information matches, the LIE
then goes into an internal database called JACCS and makes
sure that all of the documents contained in the inmate's
institutional file are also in JACCS, and again, that all of
the information is consistent across the commitment and
release orders. See Defs.' SOF ¶ 14;
Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 14; Ex. I to Pl.'s Cross-Mot.
[Dkt. # 75-31] at 20:6-19 (describing how once the LIE pulls
the institutional file, the LIE enters the data from the
order into JACCS). If all of the information is consistent,
the LIE closes out the case in JACCS, prints the release
order, and scans it into another DOC internal system called
Paper Clips. See Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 14-15;
Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶¶ 14-15.
order to further verify an inmate's paperwork, the LIE
must check MyJUSTIS, a court-based system that reflects
information that was entered by the court. See
Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 16-17; Pl.'s Resp. SOF
¶¶ 16-17. The LIE checks MyJUSTIS to confirm that a
release order has been issued in the relevant case, and that
there is no commitment order from another case for that
inmate. See Defs.' SOF¶¶ 16-17;
Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶¶ 16-17; see also
Jones Dep. at 17:3-18:10. The LIE must also check the
Washington Area Law Enforcement System ("WALES")
(also known as eAgent) and National Crime Information Center
("NCIC") to make sure there are no outstanding
active warrants for the inmate. Defs.' SOF ¶ 19;
Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 19.
this process is complete, a supervisory LIE is required to
double check all of the LIE'S work. Defs.' SOF ¶
20; Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 20. Then, the supervisor
prepares a release authorization form. Defs.' SOF ¶
21; Pl.'s Resp. SOF¶2l. While much of this work
takes place at the jail, misdemeanor inmates are supposed to
be released directly from D.C. Superior Court. Pl.'s SOF
¶ 50; Defs.'Resp. SOF ¶ 50.
filed this lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court on November 14,
2014, see Compl. [Dkt. #1-1], and defendants removed
it to this Court on February 2, 2015. See Notice of
Removal [Dkt. #1]. Plaintiff amended his complaint on April
21, 2016 after the Court granted defendant William
Smith's motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). See Smith v. District of
Columbia, 149 F.Supp.3d 128 (D.D.C. 2015); see
also Am. Compl. [Dkt. # 36].
December 8, 2016, defendants filed their first motion for
summary judgment. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. [Dkt. # 56];
Defs.' Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Defs.' Mot.
for Summ. J. [Dkt. # 56]. In support of their motion,
defendants asserted that the Department of Corrections did
not receive a release order in case number 2012 CMD 007806
until April 10, 2014. Id. at 1-2.
on February 8, 2017, defendants notified the Court that DOC
had discovered that it had indeed received a copy of the
release order for case number 2012 CMD 007806 on March 18,
2014, and that it was time stamped on March 18 at 9:33 PM.
Notice of Filing [Dkt. # 69]. In light of this revelation,
the Court allowed the parties to undertake additional limited
discovery, and the Court denied the pending cross-motions for
summary judgment as moot. See Min. Order (Feb. 21,
March 31, 2017, defendants filed the pending motion for
partial summary judgment on Counts I, II, and IV.
See Defs.' Mot.; Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of
Defs.' Mot. [Dkt. # 73] ("Defs.' Mem.").
Plaintiff opposed the motion and filed a cross-motion for
summary judgment on all four counts. See Pl.'s
Cross-Mot.; Pl.'s Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of
Pl.'s Mot. [Dkt. # 75-1] ("Pl.'s
Cross-Mem."). The motions are fully
RELATED TO PLAINTIFF'S OVER DETENTION
the parties agree on the general procedure for processing a
release order, the circumstances surrounding the processing
of the two release orders in this case have not been
appeared in Superior Court on two misdemeanor cases before
the same judge, case numbers 2012 CMD 007806 and 2014 CMD
00452, on March 18, 2014. The Superior Court's Court View
database reveals that an order to release plaintiff was
entered into the system, and "sent" to the D.C.
jail, in case number 2012 CMD 007806 at 1:26 PM, and in case
number 2014 CMD 00452 at 1:28 PM. See Court View No.
2014 CMD 00452; Court View No. 2012 CMD 007806. Plaintiff was
ordered to return to court on April 9, 2014 in both cases.
See Court View No. 2014 CMD 00452; Court View No.
2012 CMD 007806.
record that has been provided to the Court does not include
testimony from a U.S. Marshal, or other evidence, concerning
what was done with the paper copies of the release orders
that were supposed to travel with plaintiff to the cell block
and then into the hands of an LIE at the DOC's office in
the courthouse. But the record does include one copy of a
release order signed by a Deputy U.S. Marshal on March 18,
2014 in case number 2012 CMD 007806. See Ex. 5 to
Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. ## 75-11, 79]
("Institutional File") at 30.
undisputed that DOC both received and processed the release
order for case number 2014 CMD 004452 on March 18, 2014.
Defs.' SOF ¶ 22; Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 22.
There is no direct evidence indicating what steps, if any,
were taken by the LIE located at the courthouse. Jack Jones,
an LIE who works in the Records Office at the D.C. jail,
Defs.' SOF ¶ 25; Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 25,
testified that he processed this release order. Jones Dep. at
36:22-37:22. He knew that he did so because his hand-written
initials appear in the upper left-hand corner of the
document. Id.; see also Institutional File at 35.
Jones went about processing this order is somewhat unclear.
He testified that he wrote "PS" on the document
with his initials to indicate that he had both printed and
scanned the order. Jones Dep. at 53:14-20; see also
Institutional File at 35. But see Jones Dep. at
37:10-14 (explaining that the "P" stands for
"posted, " and "S" for
"scanned"). But he did not specify at what point in
the process he printed it out, or what system he then scanned
it into. Further, he admitted that he failed to time stamp
the release order, notwithstanding the DOC policy that
required him to time stamp every document he processed.
Id. at 53:2-54:17. And the document he worked with
that bears his initials does not include the signature of a
U.S. Marshal. Id. at 43:1-7; see also
Institutional File at 35. There is no evidence in the record
regarding whether Jones checked the various external systems,
such as MyJUSTIS, as he was required to do.
to the order in case number 2012 CMD 007806, the parties
agree that DOC received the release order on March 18, 2014
because it bears a time stamp for March 18 at 9:33 PM.
Defs.' SOF ¶ 23; Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 23;
Release Order No. 2012 CMD 007806; see also Brown
Mar. 2017 Dep. at 20:1-22; id. at 33:14-3
(testifying that she knows DOC received the order because of
the time stamp). But one cannot discern from the document
whether it was time stamped by a Department of Corrections
LIE at Superior Court, or by an LIE at the Records Office
located at the jail. Compare Brown Mar. 2017 Dep. at
22:4-20; id. at 33:4-6 (testifying that the first
step to processing a release order is to time stamp it, and
then to input the data into TMS, which occurs at the
courthouse), with Jones Dep. at 53:2-54:17
(testifying that LIE's were required to time stamp
release orders when they were received at the jail).
also unclear whether the release order in the 2012 case was
ever uploaded to TMS. Robilyn Brown, a supervisory LIE,
testified that she did not believe it was, since the
information contained in the release order never made its way
into JACCS. Brown Mar. 2017 Dep. at 23:2-8 (testifying that
uploading the document into TMS was not "done with
respect to this document" because she "did a JACCS
audit, and it wasn't in there, the information wasn't
uploaded into JACCS"); id. at 34:7-16; see
also Ex. C to Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. # 75-33]
("Myrick Mar. 2016 Dep.") at 54:10-55:6 (testifying
that DOC has no "transaction" dated for March 18,
and that all documents "received from D.C. Superior
Court . . . would be uploaded within TMS so that the staff
could maintain processing of that document").
is undisputed that the release order from case number 2012
CMD 007806 did ultimately make its way into plaintiffs
institutional paper file. See Pl.'s SOF ¶
19; Defs.' Resp. SOF ¶ 19; see also Brown
Dec. 2015 Dep. at 51:4-16 (acknowledging that the 2012
release order was contained in plaintiffs institutional
file); Myrick Mar. 2016 Dep. 53:17-54:9 (testifying that the
release for case number 2012 CMD 007806 was found within
plaintiffs institutional file). However, the record does not
establish how long it has been there. See Brown Mar.
2017 Dep. at 32:17-33:13 (testifying that she could not
confirm if the release order had been in plaintiffs
institutional file since March 18, 2014); Ex. 17 to
Defs.' Reply [Dkt. # 82-7] ("Myrick Decl.) ¶ 7
("Release orders are placed in an inmate's
institutional file when they are received which may be at the
time of issuance or sometime thereafter."); Myrick Mar.
2016 Dep. at 55:7-10 (agreeing that "all documents
received from the D.C. Superior Court are also included in
the inmate's institutional file").
plaintiff was scheduled to return to Superior Court on April
9, 2014, he failed to appear because DOC did not transport
him there. Ex. A to Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. # 75-24]
("Smith Dep.") at 60:8-61:6. As a result, the
Superior Court judge issued a bench warrant. See
Court View No. 2014 CMD 00452; Court View No. 2012 CMD
007806. Plaintiff was brought to the courthouse the next day
for a status hearing, and two more release orders were
issued. See Ex. 3 to Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. #
75-9]; Ex. 4 to Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. # 75-10]; see
also Institutional File at 5-6, 29, 33 (release orders
from both cases that were signed by the judge and U.S.
Marshal and dated on April 10); see Id. at 30
(release order from case number 2012 CMD 007806 that includes
the U.S. Marshal signature from March 18, but is time stamped
on April 10).
was released from custody on April 10, 2014. Defs.' SOF
¶ 24; Pl.'s Resp. SOF¶24. After he was
released, no investigation took place; no report concerning
his overdetention was created, Pl.'s SOF ¶¶
13-14; Defs.' Resp. SOF ¶¶ 13-14; see
Myrick Nov. 2015 Dep. at 70:21-71:3; and no employee was
disciplined. See Myrick Nov. 2015 Dep. at 37:15-22.
Plaintiff is not counted in the 2014 overdetention statistics
contained in the reports submitted as evidence in this case.
See Ex. 9 to Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. # 75-15]
("Second Overdetention Report"); Ex. 10 to
Pl.'s Cross-Mot. [Dkt. ## 75-16, 81]
("Third Overdetention Report"). These circumstances
do not comport with the standards announced by the DOC's
Correctional Program Administrator, Jeanette Myrick.
Defs.' SOF ¶ 31; Pl.'s Resp. SOF ¶ 31;
see also Myrick Nov. 2015 Dep. at 36:18-21;
id. at 37:2-14.
is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the
Records Office and for ensuring that inmates are released and
documents are received and processed. Pl.'s SOF ¶
11; Defs.' Resp. SOF ¶ 11. She supervises three
correctional program officers, six supervisors, eight lead
legal instruments examiners, and approximately eighteen legal
instruments examiners - including Jack Jones. See
Myrick Nov. 2015 Dep. at 27:7-16. Myrick testified that as
part of her responsibilities, it is her practice to prepare
an overdetention report after each instance of overdetention,
Pl.'s SOF ¶ 12; Defs.' Resp. SOF ¶ 12;
Myrick Nov. 2015 Dep. at 17:17-18:11, and to transmit those
reports to the deputy director. Myrick Nov. 2015 Dep. at
18:15-17. She also testified that after she learns of an
overdetention, employees are often disciplined. Id.
discovery, Myrick produced an overdetention report detailing
the overdetentions that have occurred at the DOC between
October 2010 and October 2014. See Third
Overdetention Report. Plaintiffs overdetention was not
included in the total, but the report revealed that there
were seventy-two others in that time period; thirty-two of
which were attributed to "staff error, " which is
generally not specified. Id. Some of the staff
errors identified in the Third Overdetention Report are
described in more detail in the Second Overdetention Report,
which was reported to the D.C. Council. See Second
example, both reports include inmates who were released a few
days late because their "sentence[s] [were] computed in
error." Compare Second Overdetention Report at
3, with Third Overdetention Report at 24;
compare Second Overdetention Report at 8,
with Third Overdetention Report at 2;
compare Second Overdetention Report at 6,
with Third Overdetention Report at 20. Both also
identify inmates who were released late because "good
time credit [was] not applied to [their] sentence[s]."
Compare Second Overdetention Report at 3,
with Third Overdetention Report at 24;
compare Second Overdetention Report at 6,
with Third Overdetention Report at 23;
compare Second Overdetention Report at 5,
with Third Overdetention Report at 16.
the reports reveal a number of reasons other than DOC staff
error for the detention of inmates past their release dates.
For example, both reports identify inmates who were detained
a few days past their release dates because the WALES program
indicated the existence of an outstanding warrant.
Compare Second Overdetention Report at 9,
with Third Overdetention Report at 11;
compare Second Overdetention Report at 9,
with Third Overdetention Report at 16. Once DOC
personnel determined that the detainee was not the correct
wanted person, the inmate was processed and released.
See, e.g., Third Overdetention Report at 11, 16.
Other overdetentions were attributed to errors made by court
staff and not DOC personnel. Compare Second
Overdetention Report at 8-9, with Third
Overdetention Report at 8-9; compare Second
Overdetention Report at 9, with Third Overdetention
Report at 9-10.
OVERDETENTION CASES AGAINST THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
case arises against a backdrop of previous litigation against
the District of Columbia involving alleged overdetention at
the D.C. jail.
2002, a class of inmate plaintiffs sued the District of
Columbia. They alleged that officials at the D.C. jail
unlawfully strip searched and overdetained inmates who
returned to the jail after receiving release orders from the
court. See Bynum v. District of Columbia, 257
F.Supp.2d 1 (D.D.C. 2002) (denying defendants' motion to
dismiss the case). In 2006, the court approved a settlement
between the parties. Bynum v. District of Columbia,
412 F.Supp.2d 73, 83 (D.D.C. 2006). As part of the
settlement, DOC agreed to implement major changes such as the
completion of an Inmate Processing Center, which would
provide adequate processing facilities for intake and
release. Id. Funds allocated to the center would be
used "to improve or assist in processing inmates for
release and to reduce incidents of over-detention."
Bynum case neared settlement, DOC adopted a policy
of diverting in-custody defendants who had been ordered
released or who were otherwise entitled to release to a
holding facility on the grounds of DC. General Hospital where
they would be processed, which meant that inmates were not
returned to the jail population and would not be subjected to
strip searches. See Barnes v. District of Columbia,
242 F.R.D. 113, 115 (D.D.C. 2007) (describing the
Bynum litigation). But inmates who were entitled to
release still slipped through the cracks, and some were
returned to the D.C. jail and subjected to the same search
and detention procedures that were at issue in the
Bynum case. See id.
in 2006, a new group of plaintiffs filed suit challenging the
DOC's system. Id. at 116. The Barnes
case was based on the same legal theories as the
Bynum case, and the parties reached a settlement in
2013. See Barnes v. District of Columbia, 38
F.Supp.3d 131 (D.D.C. 2014) (modifying court's final
order approving settlement).
judge in the Barnes litigation observed that the
District had made little or no improvements to its
"paper-bound and Byzantine release process, " as it
was supposed to do after the Bynum case settled.
Barnes v. District of Columbia, 793 F.Supp.2d 260,
279-80 (D.D.C. 2011) (observing that "a move to a
paperless system to process releases" was "either
rejected by the DOC or remain[ed], to this day, caught in a
whirlpool of delays"). However, the court recognized
that the DOC took a "significant step toward reducing
the number and duration of overdetentions" by
implementing the "courthouse release" program in
2008, which released inmates charged with misdemeanors
directly from Superior Court. Id. at 280.
judgment is appropriate "if 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). The party seeking summary judgment
"bears the initial responsibility of informing the
district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying
those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). To defeat summary
judgment, the non-moving party must "designate specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
Id. at 324.
mere existence of a factual dispute is insufficient to
preclude summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). A dispute is
"genuine" only if a reasonable fact-finder could
find for the non-moving party; a fact is "material"
only if it is capable of affecting the outcome of the
litigation. Id. at 248; Laningham v. U.S.
Navy, 813 F.2d 1236, 1241 (D.C. Cir. 1987). In assessing
a party's motion, the court must "view the facts and
draw reasonable inferences 'in the light most favorable
to the party opposing the summary judgment motion.'"
Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007)
(alterations omitted), quoting United States v. Diebold,
Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962) (per curiam).
rule governing cross-motions for summary judgment... is that
neither party waives the right to a full trial on the merits
by filing its own motion; each side concedes that no material
facts are at issue only for the purposes of its own
motion." Sherwood v. Wash. Post, 871 F.2d 1144,
1147 n.4 (D.C. Cir. 1989) (alteration in original), quoting
McKenzie v. Sawyer, 684 F.2d 62, 68 n.3 (D.C. Cir.
1982). In assessing each party's motion, "[a]ll
underlying facts and inferences are analyzed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party." N.S. ex
rel. Stein v. District of Columbia, 709 F.Supp.2d 57, 65
(D.D.C. 2010), citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247.
The Court will deny in part and grant in part the motions for
summary judgment on Count I for Section 1983
Count I, plaintiff claims that the District and two DOC
employees are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the
unconstitutional deprivation of his liberty. See Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 25-36. Defendants maintain that plaintiff
has not suffered a constitutional violation. Defs.' Mem.
at 6- II. The District also argues that it is entitled to
summary judgment because plaintiff has not produced
sufficient evidence to support municipal liability under
section 1983, and the individual defendants contend that they
are entitled to qualified immunity. Id. at 4-14.
Plaintiff has also moved for summary judgment on this count.
Pl.'s Cross-Mem. at 17-36.
Municipal Liability Under Section 1983
1983 of the Civil Rights Act provides:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
establish that a municipality is liable under section 1983, a
plaintiff must prove both (1) "a predicate
constitutional violation" and (2) "that a custom or
policy of the municipality caused the violation."
Baker v. District of Columbia, 326 F.3d 1302, 1306
(D.C. Cir. 2003), citing Collins v. City of Harker
Heights, 503 U.S. 115, 124 (1992).
municipality cannot be held liable for the unconstitutional
conduct of its employees based on a theory of respondeat
superior. Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S.
658, 691 (1978); see also Pembaur v. City of
Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 479 (1986) (noting that
"while Congress never questioned its power to impose
civil liability on municipalities for their own
illegal acts, Congress did doubt its constitutional power to
impose such liability in order to oblige municipalities to
control the conduct of others") (emphasis in
original) (citation omitted). "Instead, it is when
execution of a government's policy or custom, whether
made by its lawmakers or by those whose edits or acts may
fairly be said to represent official policy, inflicts the
injury that the government as an entity is responsible under
§ 1983." Monell, 436 U.S. at 694.
result, "[p]laintiff's who seek to impose liability
on local governments under § 1983 must prove that
'action pursuant to official municipal policy' caused
their injury." Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S.
51, 60 (2011), quoting Monell, 436 U.S. at 691;
see also Monell, 436 U.S. at 694 (noting that the
policy must be "the moving force of the constitutional
violation"). The D.C. Circuit has explained:
[T]here are a number of ways in which a "policy"
can be set by a municipality to cause it to be liable under
§ 1983: the explicit setting of a policy by the
government that violates the Constitution . . .; the action
of a policy maker within the government . . .; the adoption
through a knowing failure to act by a policy maker of actions
by his subordinates that are so consistent that they have
become "custom" . . .; or the failure of the
government to respond to a need (for example, training of
employees) in such a manner as to show "deliberate
indifference" to the risk that not addressing the need
will result in constitutional violations.
Baker, 326 F.3d at 1306 (internal citations
omitted). Each prong of the test "is separate and serves
different purposes." Id.
There is a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether
plaintiff has established a predicate
their motion for summary judgment, defendants argue that
plaintiff has not established the predicate for a section
1983 action: a constitutional violation. See
Defs.' Mem. at 6-9. The amended complaint alleges that
plaintiff was deprived of "his constitutional right to
liberty and deprived . . . of this liberty without due
process of law as required by the Fifth Amendment" when
he was detained for twenty-three days after he was ordered to
be released. Am. Compl. ¶ 26; see also
Pl.'s Cross-Mem. at 17-18 (arguing that his overdetention
"establishes the predicate constitutional
violation"). Given the evidence that has been adduced in
this case, the Court finds that plaintiff has come forward
with sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of
material fact on whether the conduct in this case was so
egregious that it violated his due process rights under the
Fifth Amendment states that "[n]o person . . . shall be
. . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law ..." U.S. Const, amend. V. "In
order to establish [the] predicate constitutional violation,
neither District of Columbia policy makers nor employees need
be implicated. All that is being established ... is that
there is some constitutional harm suffered by the plaintiff,
not whether the municipality is liable for that harm."
Baker, 326 F.3d at 1306.
from bodily restraint has always been at the core of the
liberty protected by the Due Process Clause." Foucha
v. Louisiana, 504 U.S. 71, 80 (1992). But there is no
bright-line rule that detaining an inmate who is entitled to
release for a particular length of time is per se
unconstitutional. See Barnes v. District of
Columbia, 793 F.Supp.2d 260, 275-76 (D.D.C. 2011)
("Temporarily retaining custody over an inmate who is
entitled to release ... is not per se unconstitutional, . . .
[but] inmates' due process rights may be violated if they
are not released within a reasonable time after the reasons
for their detentions have ended") (citations omitted);
Berry v. Baca, 379 F.3d 764, 771 (9th Cir. 2004)
("Courts have not settled on any concrete number of
permissible hours of delay in the context of post-release
detentions."); Lewis v. O'Grady, 853 F.2d
1366, l37O(7thCir. 1988) (observing that administrative tasks
incident to a prisoner's release may require the prisoner
to remain detained for a period of time, but concluding that
the reasonableness of the eleven-hour overdetention was a
jury question); Davis v. Hall, 375 F.3d 703, 718-19
(8th Cir. 2004) (concluding that the jury must determine if
the plaintiffs fifty-seven day overdetention rose to the
level of a constitutional due process violation). But see
Douthit v. Jones, 619 F.2d 527, 532 (5th Cir. 1980)
(holding that the plaintiff established a prima facie case at
trial that defendant violated his constitutional rights
because "Retention of a prisoner thirty days beyond the
expiration of his sentence in the absence of a facially valid
court order or warrant constitutes a deprivation of due
context of detention after arrest pending a probable cause
determination, the Supreme Court has held that a detention
greater than forty-eight hours may rise to the level of a
constitutional violation. See County of Riverside v.
McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 56 (1991). When considering
whether to adopt this standard in the context of detaining
inmates once the basis for confinement has ended, some courts
have observed that forty-eight hours, or even less, may be
the appropriate benchmark for finding a constitutional
violation. See, e.g., Barnes, 793 F.Supp.2d at 276
('[C]ourts appear to agree that the maximum permissible
administrative delay in the overdetention context likely
falls well short of the 48-hour horizon set out in
McLaughlin"); Brass v. County of Los Angeles,
328 F.3d 1192, 1200 (9th Cir. 2003) ("One might conclude
that when a court orders a prisoner released - or when, for
example, a prisoner's sentence has been completed-the
outer bounds for releasing the prisoner should be less than
48 hours."). The detention here extends well beyond that
threshold, so there is no serious dispute that plaintiffs
right to liberty was abridged.
defense points to case law that holds, though, that the
question "is not simply whether a liberty interest has
been infringed, but whether the extent or nature of the
restraint... is such as to violate due process."
Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 320 (1982). In
Youngberg, the Court recognized that "[i]n
determining whether a substantive right protected by the Due
Process Clause has been violated, it is necessary to balance
the liberty of the individual and the demands of an organized
society, " id. (internal citation omitted);
"[accordingly, whether respondent's constitutional
rights have been violated must be determined by balancing his
liberty interests against the relevant state interests."
Id. at 321. Here, of course, defendants have not
suggested that there could be a legitimate state interest in
holding an accused after a judge has ordered his release. But
defendants argue that since the obvious infringement of
plaintiffs liberty is only potentially attributable to
negligence on their part, the deprivation does not rise to
the level of a constitutional violation for section 1983
purposes. See Defs.' Mem. at 8, 14.
Supreme Court has made it clear that a plaintiff must show
more than mere negligence to establish a violation of his
substantive due process rights. "We have emphasized time
and again that the touchstone of due process is protection of
the individual against arbitrary action of government.... Our
cases dealing with abusive executive action have repeatedly
emphasized that only the most egregious official conduct can
be said to be arbitrary in the constitutional sense."
County of Sacramento v. Lewis,523 U.S. 833, 845-46
(1988) (internal citations omitted); see also United
States v. Salerno,481 U.S. 739, 746 (1987)
("So-called 'substantive due process' prevents
the government from ...