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Anderson v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District of Columbia

July 20, 2018

KEITH ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROYCE C. LAMBERTH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is defendants' motions to dismiss. ECF Nos. 17 and 25. Upon consideration of the pleadings and the applicable law, the Court GRANTS in part-as to Counts 1, 2, and 5-and declines to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining claims-Counts 3 and 4. For the reasons listed below, the Court DISMISSES Counts 1, 2 and 5, and REMANDS the remainder of the case to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 23, 2016, the plaintiff Keith Anderson, pleaded guilty to a kidnapping charge and entered into a sentencing agreement, which would reduce the charge to a misdemeanor if certain conditions were met. ECF No. 13, Second Am. Compl. ¶ 26. Approximately one month later, Mr. Anderson was arrested and charged with burglary. Id. ¶ 27. On March 24, 2016, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia ordered plaintiff to undergo a full competency evaluation. Id. ¶ 33. And on April 21, 2016, the court found Mr. Anderson incompetent and committed him to St. Elizabeths Hospital to participate in inpatient competency restoration. Id. ¶ 35. Mr. Anderson remained at St. Elizabeths Hospital from April 2016 to October 2016. Id. ¶ 51. He pleads that he was not provided medication from April 2016 to July 18, 2016. Id. ¶ 43.

         Mr. Anderson filed the present suit on September 14, 2017 in Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Defendant District of Columbia removed the case on October 16, 2017 to this Court. Mr. Anderson twice amended his complaint. In the second amended complaint, he alleges (1) that under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 all the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment "right to timely and adequate medical treatment" (Count 1); (2) under 42 U.S.C. 1983 that all the defendants violated his Fifth Amendment to receive "essential care" (Count 2); (3) that all defendants were negligent in not providing him proper care (Count 3); (4) that defendant District of Columbia was negligent in not providing proper training and supervision to the doctors and medical professionals at St. Elizabeths Hospital (Count 4); and (5) that under 42 U.S.C. 1983 defendant District of Columbia violated his Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights by failing to properly train and supervise medical personnel at St. Elizabeths (Count 5).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on. its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Ad. Corp. v. Twombty, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), "the court must assume 'all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact),' and the court must give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences derived from the facts alleged.'" Aktieselskabet AF 21. Nov. 2001 v. Fame Jeans Inc., 525 F.3d 8, 17 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (internal citations omitted).

         A claim is facially plausible when "the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). While the factual allegations in the complaint need not be "detailed," the Federal Rules require more than "an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). The facts alleged in the complaint "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Constitutional Claims Under 42 U.S.C. 1983-Counts 1, 2, and 5

         Mr. Anderson alleges that under 42 U.S.C. 1983 the defendants failed to properly medicate him in violation of his Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights (Counts 1 and 2). Mr. Anderson further alleges that under 42 U.S.C. 1983 defendant District of Columbia violated his Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights by failing to properly train and supervise medical personnel at St. Elizabeths (Count 5).

         1. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Counts 1 and 2

         Defendants District of Columbia (the District), Mayor Muriel Bowser, Director of the District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health Director Tanya Royster, and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Elizabeths Hospital Mark J. Chastang, in their official capacities (Official Capacity Defendants), moved to dismiss Counts 1 and 2. ECF No. 17.[1] Defendant Benjamin Adewale-a psychiatrist at St. Elizabeths-separately moved to dismiss those counts. ECF No. 25.[2]

         "In considering whether a plaintiff has stated a claim for municipal liability [under Section 1983], the district court must conduct a two-step inquiry. First, the court must determine whether the complaint states a claim for a predicate constitutional violation. Second, if so, then the court must determine whether the complaint states a claim 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) (internal citations omitted). The D.C. Circuit clarified in Baker that "all that is being established at [the first step of ...


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