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Sacchetti v. Gallaudet University

United States District Court, District of Columbia

October 29, 2018

TERRYLENE SACCHETTI and ROBERT MANGANELLI, Plaintiffs,
v.
GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY and the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          REGGIE B. WALTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiffs, Terrylene Sacchetti and Robert Manganelli, in their individual capacities and as representatives of the Estate of Gianni Manganelli, bring this suit against defendants Gallaudet University (“Gallaudet”) and the District of Columbia (the “District”), asserting violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213 (2012), and common law claims for false arrest. Compl. ¶¶ 160-272. Currently pending before the Court are Defendant Gallaudet's Motion to Exclude Testimony of [the] Plaintiff's Expert Michael Welner, M.D. (“Gallaudet's 702 Mot.”); the Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike the District of Columbia's Undisclosed Exhibits (“Pls.' Mot. to Strike”), and the defendants' motions for summary judgment, see Defendant Gallaudet University's Motion for Summary Judgment (“Gallaudet's Summ. J. Mot.”); Defendant the District of Columbia's Motion for Summary Judgment (“District's Summ. J. Mot.”). Upon careful consideration of the parties' submissions, [1] the Court concludes that it must grant Gallaudet's motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Welner, deny the plaintiffs' motion to strike the District's exhibits, and grant in part, deny in part, and hold in abeyance in part the defendants' motions for summary judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         The following facts are undisputed by the parties, unless otherwise indicated. The plaintiffs are the parents of Gianni Manganelli (“Manganelli”), see Gallaudet's Facts ¶¶ 1-2; Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶¶ 1-2, who is now deceased, see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 164; Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 164. Manganelli “was deaf from the age of two onward.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 3; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 3. “During the summer of 2013, [Manganelli] decided . . . to enroll at Gallaudet, ” and he “accepted admission to Gallaudet [ ] for the school year beginning August 2013.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶¶ 45-46; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶¶ 45-46. Manganelli “and Spencer Opie became roommates at Gallaudet at the start of the 2014 [s]pring semester.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 64; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 64.

         1. Manganelli's Interactions with Opie on March 28, 2014

          “Around midday on Friday, Marc[h] 28, 2014, [ ] Manganelli . . . was in his dorm[itory] room folding clothes when . . . Opie . . . walked in and tried to talk to him.” Pls.' Facts ¶ 1; see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 73 (asserting that “on March 28, 2014, [Opie] returned to the dorm[itory] room”). Manganelli “just stared [blankly at Opie], with no response, ” Pls.' Facts ¶ 1; see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 74 (asserting that Manganelli “stared menacingly at [ ] Opie”), which “Opie thought . . . was odd” behavior, Pls.' Facts ¶ 3 (citing Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Exhibit (“Ex.”) K (Deposition of Spencer Opie (May 4, 2017) (“Opie Dep.”)) 83:10-15). According to Opie, Manganelli's “behavior had been strange since Spring Break, ” and Manganelli “seemed scared and paranoid.” Id. ¶ 2 (citing Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. K (Opie Dep.) 81:24-82:6). Manganelli “went to the bathroom[, ] and when he came back[, he] said that ‘[Opie] had ruined everything, '” id. ¶ 4 (quoting Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. K (Opie Dep.) 31:11-13), and he “drew an imaginary line down the middle of the room and asked Opie to stay on his side” of the line, id. ¶ 6; see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 74 (asserting that Manganelli “told [Opie] that he was mad at [him], that [ ] Opie had ‘ruined everything,' and insisted that [ ] Opie stay on his side of the room”). Then, “Opie ‘got up' and approached” Manganelli, and in response, Manganelli “‘almost raised his hand openly and then he left.'” Pls.' Facts ¶ 7 (quoting Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. K (Opie Dep.) 31:18-20); see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 75 (“Opie testified that [Manganelli] raised a hand as if to hit him but did not make contact, storming out of the room instead.”).

         Manganelli “went directly to the bathroom, ” and “Opie immediately pursued [him].” Pls.' Facts ¶¶ 8-9. On the way, “Opie ran into a friend, John, in the hallway, and . . . [they both] went into the bathroom, ” where “[t]hey found [Manganelli] in a shower stall.” Id. ¶¶ 10-11; see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 76 (“Opie testified that he went to look for [Manganelli] and that he and a friend, John Delatto, found [Manganelli] hiding in the men's shower.”). “Opie confronted [Manganelli, ] asking[, ] ‘What's wrong with you?'” Pls.' Facts ¶ 13 (quoting Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. K (Opie Dep.) 33:11-12). In response, Manganelli “pulled his arm back but did not swing at Opie, ” id. ¶ 14, and “John stepped in between Opie and [Manganelli], ” id. ¶ 15. Manganelli “told Opie and John to leave him alone, ” id. ¶ 16, and “Opie and John left the bathroom, ” id. ¶ 17, with “John [telling] Opie that ‘[Manganelli] seems pretty emotional, just let him be, '” id. ¶ 18.

         Following this incident, Manganelli “went to class.” Id. ¶ 19. Afterward, he “made a report to [a] [r]esident [a]ssistant, . . . advising her that he had been violated by . . . Opie, who had walked into him intentionally while he was in the shower after [he] made it clear to [Opie] that [Opie] was to leave him alone.” Id. ¶ 43 (second and third alterations in original) (internal quotation marks omitted). The resident assistant then “authored and submitted an incident report documenting [Manganelli's] concerns about [ ] [Opie] . . ., which was routed to Adrienne Morgan, [a] Coordinator of Residential Education (CRE) at Gallaudet.” Id. ¶ 44. Then, Manganelli “went to see [ ] Morgan, ” id. ¶ 45, “and told her he was concerned about Opie's personal violations and asked [her] for another room, ” id. ¶ 47; see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 82 (asserting that Manganelli “visited [ ] Morgan[] . . . to ask[] for another room because he felt that his roommate . . . had violated his boundaries and he no longer felt safe”). However, “Morgan[] . . . rejected his request.” Pls.' Facts ¶ 53; see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 83 (“Morgan inquired, but she did not feel [Manganelli]'s explanation justified an emergency room reassignment.”).

         “In the meantime, . . . Opie . . . ran into a friend, Jason Scherrenberg.” Pls.' Facts ¶ 37. After “explain[ing to Scherrenberg] what happened with [Manganelli] earlier that afternoon, ” id. ¶ 39, “Scherrenberg offered to let Opie stay at his room for the night, ” id. ¶ 38. “Around midnight, [ ] Opie returned to [his] dorm[itory] with [ ] Scherrenberg to collect [his] belongings from [his] room.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 87; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 87. When “Opie went up to the room and opened the door, ” Pls.' Facts ¶ 60, Manganelli “did not say anything to Opie, ” id. ¶ 61. However, “when Scherrenberg tried to come into the room[, ] [ ] [Manganelli] got up from where he was sitting, ” id. ¶ 63, and “told Scherrenberg that he did not know him and did not want him in his room, ” id. ¶ 64. Manganelli “asked Scherrenberg to leave, ” id. ¶ 65, but “Scherrenberg resisted and would not leave, ” id. ¶ 66. In response, Manganelli “approached Scherrenberg and told [him] that he [ ] would fight him [ ] if Scherrenberg [did not] leave.” Id. ¶ 67. “Scherrenberg and Opie left without getting Opie's toiletries.” Id. ¶ 68.

         Then, “Opie and [ ] Scherrenberg went to Laura Crowder, the Residential Assistant [ ] for [the dormitory], to report what happened.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 89; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 89. “Crowder prepared a report of the incident on Gallaudet's reporting system, ” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 90; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 90, and, according to Crowder, she “also contacted Gallaudet's [Department of Public Safety (“DPS”)] via instant message, ” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 91; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 91 (“[a]dmitting that [ ] Crowder claims to have contacted DPS”). Meanwhile, Manganelli “sent an email to Gallaudet CRE Thuan Nguyen, at 12:38 a.m., ” Pls.' Facts ¶ 72, which described the incident in the bathroom, stated that Manganelli was “afraid for [his] safety around” Opie, and requested that Nguyen “assign [him] to a different room immediately, ” id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 92 (asserting that Manganelli “sent an email complaining about the incident to . . . Nguyen”).

         2. Manganelli's Interactions with Gallaudet DPS Officers

         Thereafter, at “[a]bout 12:30 a.m. [on March 29, 2014], DPS dispatched Lieutenant Daniel Bauer . . . via text” to Manganelli and Opie's room. Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 93; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 93 (“[a]dmitting that Bauer was dispatched by Gallaudet to respond to a room in the dorm[itory], which was ultimately discovered to belong to [Manganelli] and Opie”).[2] According to Lieutenant Bauer's deposition testimony, which the plaintiffs dispute, see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶¶ 93, 95-108, [3] the text message “stat[ed] that there was ‘a man in a room hurting ten [ ] people, '” Pls.' Facts ¶ 74 (quoting Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. A (Deposition of Lieutenant Daniel Bauer (Mar. 6, 2017) (“Bauer Dep.”)) 22:1-23:8). However, it is undisputed that, at the time he received the message, Lieutenant “Bauer did not know [Manganelli] or that it was his dorm[itory] room.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 100; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 100.

         “At about 12:45 a.m.[, ] . . . [Lieutenant] Bauer arrived at [Manganelli's] door.” Pls.' Facts ¶ 73. According to Lieutenant Bauer's testimony, which, again, the plaintiffs dispute in many respects, see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶¶ 96-107, the following events ensued: “Upon arriving at [Manganelli]'s dorm[itory] room . . ., [Lieutenant] Bauer sent a text [message] requesting back up[, ] [and] then waited in the hallway outside the dorm[itory] room for his backup to arrive.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 96; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 96 (“[a]dmitt[ing] that [Lieutenant] Bauer requested backup, ” but “[d]en[ying] that he waited in the hallway”). “While [Lieutenant] Bauer waited in the hallway, [Manganelli] opened the door to [the] room, ” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 97, and Lieutenant Bauer observed that “the lights inside [the room] were out, ” id. ¶ 98; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 98 (“[a]dmitting that the lights were out when the door was opened”). Lieutenant “Bauer asked [Manganelli] to step out into the hall and talk to him.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 100. When Manganelli “did not respond[, ] [ ] [Lieutenant] Bauer asked him to step out [of the room] and speak with him a second time.” Id. ¶ 101. At some point, Manganelli “began signing . . . to ask why he was being told to step out of his own room.” Pls.' Facts ¶ 89; see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 102 (“[Manganelli] asked why he needed to step out of the room.”). “[Lieutenant] Bauer explained to [Manganelli] that he had a report that there were injured people in the room.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 104. Manganelli “did not respond, at which point, [Lieutenant] Bauer informed [Manganelli] that if he would not cooperate, [he] would need to place him in handcuffs for both of their safety.” Id. ¶ 105. After Manganelli “did not respond[, ] . . . [Lieutenant] Bauer placed him in handcuffs.” Id. ¶ 106. According to Resident Assistant Kalina Johnson, who testified that she had arrived at Manganelli's room shortly after Lieutenant Bauer arrived, see Pls.' Facts ¶¶ 106-08, Lieutenant “Bauer told [Manganelli] he was under arrest, ” id. ¶ 113 (citing Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. B (Deposition of Kalina Johnson (May 15, 2017) (“Johnson Dep.”)) 35:13-15).

         Sometime thereafter, “DPS Captain Patrick Rader responded to the scene as the backup requested by [Lieutenant] Bauer.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 109; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 109. “Once on [the] scene, [Captain] Rader checked [Manganelli]'s room[.]” Pls.' Facts ¶ 115; see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 111 (asserting that Lieutenant Bauer and Captain Rader “swept the dorm[itory] room”). According to testimony from Captain Rader and Lieutenant Bauer, which the plaintiffs dispute, see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 111-14, “after Lieutenant Bauer told [Captain Rader] what had happened, [Captain Rader] explained to [Manganelli] why he was being detained, ” Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. D (Deposition of Captain Patrick Rader (Mar. 6, 2017) (“Rader Dep.”)) 38:18-20. Because he was handcuffed behind his back, Manganelli “was signing . . . off to the side of his body, ‘[w]hy, why, why, '” id., Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 39:13-14, so Captain Rader “asked [Manganelli], ‘[a]re you going to give us a problem if I handcuff you in the front?, '” id., Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 39:25-40:2; see id., Ex. A (Bauer Dep.) 51:5-6 (testifying that Captain “Rader asked [Manganelli] if we could handcuff him in the front, that way he could communicate much easier”). However, Manganelli “did[] [not] say anything” in response. Id., Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 40:11. Then, Captain Rader “told [Manganelli] that [he] was going to take [Manganelli's] handcuffs off and move [them] to being handcuffed in the front, ” and again “said, ‘[a]re you going to give us a problem if I do that?'” Id., Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 40:20-23. Again, Manganelli “did[] [not] say anything.” Id., Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 40:23-24. Captain Rader testified that although Manganelli “did[] [not] reply to [his] question, [he] felt that communication was important, ” id., Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 40:23-41:1, so he uncuffed “one wrist, ” id., Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 41:8-10; see Pls.' Facts ¶ 124 (“The officer released a handcuff from one of [Manganelli's] wrists, leaving the other wrist secured[.]”), and he and Lieutenant Bauer “moved [Manganelli's] hands to the front of his body, ” Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 42:7-8.

         According to Gallaudet, “as soon as the handcuffs came off, [Manganelli] began resisting.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 112; see Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 42:25-43:4 (testifying that Manganelli “was physically struggling” and “would[] [not] let [the officers] recuff him”). Captain Rader testified that during this process, Manganelli “kept saying, ‘ . . . why are you arresting me?'” Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 42:17-18. Captain Rader further testified that he and Lieutenant Bauer “were trying to explain to [Manganelli] that he[] [was] being detained and [ ] he need[ed] to stop, but [Manganelli] refused.” Id., Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 42:18-20. Although the plaintiffs largely dispute this account, see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶¶ 112-13, they agree that when the officers “were moving the handcuffs to the front[, ] [ ] [Manganelli] ‘was signing in the process, '” Pls.' Facts ¶ 126 (quoting Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 44:13-23); see id. ¶ 129 (“[W]hen the handcuff was released from one wrist, [Manganelli] brought his arms around and was trying to use his hands to communicate[.]”). Ultimately, “[Lieutenant] Bauer and [Captain] Rader took [Manganelli] to the ground and re-cuffed him.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 114; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 114 (“[a]dmitt[ing] that [Lieutenant] Bauer and [Captain] Rader took [Manganelli] to the ground and re-cuffed his hands behind his back”). Captain Rader testified that he then “texted the dispatcher” and told the dispatcher that they “needed [the Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”)].” Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. D (Rader Dep.) 48:5-8.

         At some point thereafter, “Opie returned to the dorm[itory] [ ] with [ ] Scherrenberg.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 120; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 120. According to their testimony, when they arrived, Manganelli “was already in custody and [ ] face down [on the floor] in handcuffs.” Pls.' Facts ¶ 159. By then, “Morgan [had also] arrived on [the] scene.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 119; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 119. Although the parties dispute who Opie, Scherrenberg, and Morgan spoke to and what they spoke about, they agree that “Opie told DPS that [Manganelli] was bipolar.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 124; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 124. “[T]he DPS officers and [ ] Morgan searched [Manganelli's] dorm[itory] room for medication, ” but “did not find [any] psychiatric medication.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶¶ 125-26; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶¶ 125-26.

         3. Manganelli's Interactions with the MPD Officers

         At 1:03:36 a.m. on March 29, 2014, the “District [received a] call from Gallaudet requesting District officers to respond.” Pls.' Facts ¶ 140; see District's Facts ¶ 11 (asserting that “[]DPS[] called 9-1-1 to report that a male student was acting very irate, fighting school security[, ] and acting strange”). At 1:04:02 a.m., MPD “[O]fficers [Cassandra] Velez[ and Christopher] Lehigh [were] [ ] dispatched to Gallaudet, ” and at 1:10:02 a.m., they “arrive[d] on [the] scene.” Pls.' Facts ¶ 140; see District's Facts ¶ 12. Then, at 1:10:51 a.m., MPD “Officer John Armstrong . . . [wa]s dispatched to pick up [Manganelli].” Pls.' Facts ¶ 153; see District's Facts ¶ 12. Although the parties largely dispute who the MPD officers spoke to on the scene and what they discussed, it is undisputed that “Officer Armstrong transported [Manganelli] to MPD's Fifth District Station” (the “Fifth District Station”) at 1:32 a.m. District's Facts ¶ 22; see Pls.' Facts ¶ 171 (asserting that Officer “Armstrong le[ft] Gallaudet with [Manganelli]” at 1:32:59 a.m.). It is also undisputed that, “[f]ollowing . . . removal of [Manganelli] from the dorm[itory] by MPD, [ ] Opie and [ ] Scherrenberg [ ] provided signed written statements to MPD, ” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 136; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 136 (“[a]dmit[ting] that [ ] statements provided by Opie and Scherrenberg were . . . provided after [Manganelli] had already been arrested”), and “[t]hey also gave partially[] video recorded [oral] statements to MPD . . . around 2:00 a.m., ” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 137; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 137 (“[a]dmit[ting] [ ] that video recorded statements were taken at 2:00 a.m.”).

         “Manganelli arrived at [the] Fifth District Station at 1:41 a.m., ” at which time “MPD Officer Wesley Shifflett prepared [ ] arrest paperwork, . . . which charged Manganelli with simple assault domestic violence and threats to do bodily harm.” District's Facts ¶ 28; see Pls.' Reply to District's Facts ¶ 28. According to Officer Shifflett's testimony, “as [he] prepared the arrest paperwork, he communicated with Manganelli through handwritten notes.” District's Facts ¶ 29; see Pls.' Reply to District's Facts ¶ 29 (“[a]dmitt[ing] that Officer Shifflett testified as such”). At some point thereafter, “Manganelli was transported from MPD's Fifth District Station to the Central Cell Block . . . [at] MPD's headquarters.” District's Facts ¶ 30; see Pls.' Reply to District's Facts ¶ 30. And, “[l]ater . . . [that] morning . . ., Manganelli was transferred to the custody of the U.S. Marshal[s] [Service] and was held in a lock-up in the basement of the District of Columbia Superior Court while he was awaiting [presentment].” District's Facts ¶ 35; see Pls.' Reply to District's Facts ¶ 35.[4] “At some point . . . while Manganelli was awaiting [presentment], [a] Pretrial Services [o]fficer . . . tried to make contact with Manganelli by calling out his name into the . . . cell block, ” District's Facts ¶ 41; see Pls.' Reply to District's Facts ¶ 41; however, “Manganelli did not respond when his name was called, ” and the officer “completed [her pre-presentment] report without [Manganelli's] input, ” District's Facts ¶ 42; see Pls.' Reply to District's Facts ¶ 42.

         Thereafter, Manganelli “appeared in Superior Court and received a no-contact order requiring that he stay away from [his] dorm[itory] room . . . and stay away from [ ] Opie and [ ] Scherrenberg.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 139; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 139. “After his release on March 29, 2014, [Manganelli] went back to campus and [ ] DPS [ ] escort[ed] him to his dorm[itory] room to collect some belongings.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 140; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 140. After Manganelli “collected his items and left the dorm[itory, he] sent several text[] [messages] to his mother[, plaintiff Sacchetti, ] asking her to pick him up.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 143; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 143. Thereafter, “Sacchetti picked up [Manganelli] on campus.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 147; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 147.

         According to Sacchetti's deposition testimony, “[o]nce they [arrived at] Sacchetti's apartment in Maryland, . . . [Manganelli] asked her to take him back to Gallaudet.” Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 153; see Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 153 (asserting that “after they arrived back at [Sacchetti's] apartment[, ] . . . [Manganelli] demanded to return to Gallaudet”). However, “Sacchetti was supposed to pick up her . . . daughter from a birthday party, ” Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 153, and when Manganelli “would not get back in the car, ” id. ¶ 154, “Sacchetti went to pick up her daughter . . . and [later] drove around looking for [Manganelli] without success, ” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 156; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 156.

         According to Sacchetti's testimony, Manganelli “returned to [her] apartment around 5:00 a.m. on March 30, 2014.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 157; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 157. “[S]he attempted to convince [Manganelli] to go to the hospital, and . . . he seemed to agree.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 161; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 161. “[H]owever, [ ] once she left the room [to get dressed], [Manganelli] went past her in the hallway and out the front door.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 162; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 162. “Sacchetti . . . attempted to follow [Manganelli], but she could not keep up, so she returned to the apartment and contacted the police.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 163; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 163. “Shortly thereafter, around 6:00 a.m., [Manganelli] was found deceased . . . in a local creek.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 164; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 164. “The Office of the Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland performed [a] Post-Mortem Examination and determined, among other things, that[] [ ] [Manganelli] suffered multiple sharp force injuries including a . . . wound [ ] across the abdomen . . . [and] drowned.” Pls.' Facts ¶ 196; see Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. 97 (Post Mortem Examination Report, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (“Post Mortem Examination Report”)) at 8. “Sacchetti testified that she later learned [Manganelli] had taken a butcher knife from her kitchen when he left the apartment.” Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 165; see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts ¶ 165. The “[p]olice investigation showed that the manner of death [wa]s SUICIDE.” Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. 97 (Post Mortem Examination Report) at 8.

         B. Procedural History

         The plaintiffs filed this action against the defendants on March 30, 2015. See Compl. at 1. The Complaint asserts six causes of action based on common law claims for wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and false arrest, as well as claims for violations of the ADA. See Compl. ¶¶ 160-272. On June 12, 2015, the defendants each filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' Complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Defendant Gallaudet University's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6); Defendant District of Columbia's Motion To Dismiss. Thereafter, the Court issued a memorandum opinion and order granting in part and denying in part the defendants' motions to dismiss. See Sacchetti v. Gallaudet Univ., 181 F.Supp.3d 107, 131 (D.D.C. 2016). Specifically, the Court denied the motions with respect to the plaintiffs' common law false arrest claims against both defendants, as asserted in their sixth and seventh causes of action, as well as the plaintiffs' wrongful arrest and failure to accommodate claims under the ADA against the District, as asserted in their fifth cause of action.[5] See id. The Court granted the motions with respect to the plaintiffs' wrongful death/negligence, survival, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and ADA claims against Gallaudet, as asserted in their first, second, third, and fourth causes of action, as well as the plaintiffs' failure to train claim under the ADA against the District, as asserted in their fifth cause of action. See id.

         Thereafter, the parties conducted discovery, which closed on September 27, 2017. See Min. Order (Aug. 4, 2017). Then, on December 18, 2017, following the close of discovery, the defendants filed their motions for summary judgment, see Gallaudet's Summ. J. Mot. at 1; District's Summ. J. Mot. at 1, [6] and Gallaudet filed its motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Welner, a forensic psychiatrist designated by the plaintiffs as an expert pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 702, see Gallaudet's 702 Mot. at 1. On February 2, 2018, the plaintiffs filed their motion to strike two exhibits attached to the District's motion for summary judgment. See Pls.' Mot. to Strike at 1. These motions are the motions that are the subject of this Memorandum Opinion.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. The Parties' Evidentiary Motions

         Before addressing the defendants' summary judgment motions, the Court will first address the parties' evidentiary motions, since the resolution of these motions will impact the Court's analysis of the summary judgment motions.

         1. Gallaudet's Motion to Exclude Testimony of Dr. Welner

         Gallaudet argues that the Court should exclude testimony proffered by the plaintiffs from Dr. Michael Welner, see Gallaudet's 702 Mem. at 1, who the plaintiffs have designated as an expert on the issue of causation, see Pls.' 702 Opp'n at 23. Specifically, Gallaudet argues that Dr. Welner's opinions should be excluded because they “fail to meet the threshold requirements of reliability and relevance under [ ] Federal Rule[] of Evidence [702] and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).” Gallaudet's 702 Mem. at 1. As to relevance, it argues that “Dr. Welner's opinions are irrelevant because they do not relate to the applicable legal standard” for causation. Id. at 20. As to reliability, it argues, inter alia, that Dr. Welner “offers no factual support for his conclusions, nor any foundation in scientific evaluation or analysis, ” id. at 14, and does not “ever refer to a treatise, manual, study, or any other source of scientific data that might support his purported diagnosis [that Manganelli was psychotic] or conclusions regarding [Manganelli's] alleged ‘hopelessness, '” id. at 15.

         The plaintiffs respond that “Dr. Welner arrived at his opinions after reviewing an extensive amount of [Manganelli]'s medical records and . . . other [relevant] documents . . ., [and] appl[ying] his extensive education, training, and experience as a forensic psychiatrist, including experience forensically determining the cause of suicide, to those case-specific materials.” Pls.' 702 Opp'n at 14. They further argue that “several courts considering Daubert challenges in similar contexts[] . . . have recognized this same methodology, often labeled a ‘psychological autopsy,' as reliable and generally accepted in the mental health community.” Id. (footnote omitted) (collecting cases).

         “The admission of expert testimony is governed by Federal Rule of Evidence 702.” United States v. Straker, 800 F.3d 570, 631 (D.C. Cir. 2015). Rule 702 provides:

         A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

Fed. R. Evid. 702. “In Daubert . . ., the Supreme Court held Rule 702 requires courts to ensure that expert testimony is ‘not only relevant, but reliable.'” Heller v. District of Columbia, 801 F.3d 264, 271 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (quoting Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589). As to reliability, “courts are obligated to ‘determine whether [expert] testimony has a reliable basis in the knowledge and experience of [the relevant] discipline.'” Id. (alterations in original) (quoting Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137, 149 (1999)). In conducting this inquiry, “trial judges [must] focus on experts' ‘principles and methodology, not on the conclusions that they generate.'” United States v. Day, 524 F.3d 1361, 1368 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (quoting Daubert, 509 U.S. at 595). And, “[a]lthough Daubert lists a number of factors that a court may consider in determining whether to admit or exclude expert testimony, the Supreme Court made it clear that ‘[t]he inquiry envisioned by Rule 702 is . . . a flexible one.'” Id. (omission in original) (quoting Daubert, 509 U.S. at 594). Ultimately, a “trial judge must have considerable leeway in deciding in a particular case how to go about determining whether particular expert testimony is reliable.” Kumho Tire, 526 U.S. at 152. Finally, “[t]he proponent of the expert testimony bears the burden to establish the admissibility of the testimony and the qualifications of the expert.” United States v. McGill, 815 F.3d 846, 903 (D.C. Cir. 2016).

         The plaintiffs offer Dr. Welner's testimony “to establish the causal connection between the false arrest (and its consequences) and [the p]laintiffs' injury and damages.” Pls.' 702 Opp'n at 23. On the issue of whether Manganelli's arrest “ha[d] any causal relationship to his suicide, ” Gallaudet's 702 Mot., Ex. B (Letter from Michael Welner, M.D., to Justin Grosz (May 30, 2017) (“Welner Report”)) at 2, Dr. Welner states that “[i]t is [ ] [his] professional opinion, with a reasonable degree of psychiatric certainty, that the arrest and its consequences precipitated [ ] Manganelli's suicide, ” id., Ex. B. (Welner Report) at 6. In his deposition, Dr. Welner further opined that the arrest and the events flowing from it led Manganelli to “bec[o]me hopeless[, a]nd hopeless[ness] has a direct relationship to suicide.” Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. R (Deposition of Michael Welner, M.D. (July 14, 2017) (“Welner Dep.”)) 114:12-13. Specifically, he observed that Manganelli

left campus with a great sense of urgency[, ] . . . at a time where several data points reflect the university's rejection and repudiation of him, whether it be his arrest, whether it be the fulfillment of a separation order by kicking him out of his room, whether not making an emergency room available to him, or giving him any[]place to stay, whether it be that coupled with the lack of resolution of what was happening in a linguistics class that he was repeating, that the combination of these events contributed to his hopelessness about his prospects at Gallaudet.

Id., Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 114:19-115:5. Regarding other potential causes of Manganelli's suicide, Dr. Welner further opined that

[n]o other stressors preceded [ ] Manganelli's suicide, which occurred within hours of his eviction from campus. There is no evidence that it had been planned well in advance. [ ] Manganelli used a weapon that he acquired only just before he killed himself. He wrote no note. His toxology screen on autopsy was negative.

Gallaudet's 702 Mot., Ex. B (Welner Report) at 6. He additionally testified that although it was his opinion that prior to the arrest, Manganelli “was deteriorating psychiatrically[] and that [the psychiatric deterioration] reflected psychosis, ” Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 69:18-20, “suicide is not a symptom of psychosis, ” id., Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 227:18-19.[7]

         Upon careful consideration of Dr. Welner's proposed testimony as set forth in his report and during his deposition, the Court cannot conclude that the “testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods” or that Dr. Welner “has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of this case.” Fed.R.Evid. 702. Even assuming that a “psychological autopsy” would be a reliable method for assessing causation in this case, Dr. Welner does not purport to have employed this method. Although he testified that he had given two lectures with the term “psychological autopsy” in the title, see Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 18:20-21, 19:17-19 (referring to lectures given in 2015 and 1999), he does not make any other references to a psychological autopsy in his report or deposition testimony or otherwise suggest, at least not in any way discernible to the Court, that he used that method to formulate his opinions in this case. To the extent that the plaintiffs assert that Dr. Welner's analysis is nonetheless reliable because it is consistent with descriptions of psychological autopsies provided by experts in other cases, see Pls.' 702 Opp'n at 14 n.4 (asserting that a psychological autopsy is a “reconstructi[on of] an individual's psychological life[, ] particularly the person's lifestyle and those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors manifested during the weeks preceding death” (quoting Giles v. Wyeth, Inc., 500 F.Supp.2d 1048, 1051 (S.D. Ill. 2007))), the Court is not in a position to opine on whether Dr. Welner's methods in this case comport with a scientific method that Dr. Welner has neither invoked nor explained, see Day, 524 F.3d at 1368 (instructing that the reliability inquiry does not require “judges [to] become scientific experts”).

         In any event, the cases relied upon by the plaintiffs suggest that a psychological autopsy is more rigorous than the analysis conducted by Dr. Welner in this case. For example, in In re Neurontin Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, the Court described a psychological autopsy as “a standardized, systematic checklist which could be used to assemble and organize information so that a qualified suicidologist or other appropriate health care professional would have the information necessary to consider all of the various risk factors which may or may not have contributed in a material way to any person's suicide.” Civ. Action No. 04-10981, 2009 WL 3756328, at *6 (D. Mass. Aug. 14, 2009). Here, Dr. Welner does not purport to use any “standardized, systematic checklist[s]” or other specific tools to guide his analysis. And, while he appears to have identified and ruled out certain “risk factors” for suicide in developing his opinion on causation, see Gallaudet's 702 Mot., Ex. B (Welner Report) at 6 (opining that “[n]o other stressors preceded [ ] Manganelli's suicide”); see also Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 227:18-19 (“suicide is not a symptom of psychosis”), he does not explain how he identified those risk factors or whether they are factors typically considered by professionals who analyze suicide causation.

         Perhaps more important, while methods other than a psychological autopsy might also be appropriate means of assessing causation, see, e.g., In re Neurontin, 2009 WL 3756328, at *12, *14 (admitting expert testimony regarding suicide causation that was based on the “differential diagnosis” method, although it was “largely duplicative of [another expert's] more thorough psychological autopsy”), Dr. Welner does not identify any specific method that he used to formulate his opinions in this case. Rather, he simply asserts that he provided a “forensic psychiatric assessment” based on his “review[] [of] a range of records in connection with the events preceding [Manganelli's] death” and an interview with Sacchetti. Gallaudet 702 Mot., Ex. B (Welner Report) at 1. However, he does not explain what a forensic psychiatric assessment typically involves or how exactly it was undertaken in this case. He testified only that “forensic psychiatry” is a catchall term for “working within legal matters where there's a specific context to the clinical question.” Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 17:6-8. And, although Dr. Welner testified that the materials he relied upon are the type of materials that experts in forensic psychology normally rely upon, see id., Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 45:5-8, and that he only reviewed the “most informative” materials given to him in light of his time and budget constraints, id., Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 47:18-48:14, he does not explain why the materials he reviewed are sufficient to support his opinions on causation in the context of this particular case.

         To the extent that Dr. Welner seeks to rely on his experience alone, the Court cannot conclude that he has satisfied the prerequisites for doing so. As this Circuit has explained, “a witness who is ‘relying solely or primarily on experience . . . must explain how that experience leads to the conclusion reached, why that experience is a sufficient basis for the opinion, and how that experience is reliably applied to the facts.'” Heller, 801 F.3d at 272 (quoting Fed.R.Evid. 702 Advisory Committee Note). Here, Dr. Welner makes no reference to his experience in his discussions of his opinions regarding whether the alleged false arrest of Manganelli caused Manganelli's suicide. Moreover, he does not explain how his experience or specific knowledge informed any of his conclusions in this case. For example, he testified during his deposition that Manganelli “became hopeless[, ] [a]nd hopeless has a direct relationship to suicide.” Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 114:14-15. However, he did not describe his personal experience evaluating or treating hopeless patients who express suicidal ideations or otherwise explain the connection between his experience and his conclusion in this or any other case. Nor does he cite any studies or other authorities supporting the link between hopelessness and suicide. Cf. Heller, 801 F.3d at 272 (concluding that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in admitting proffered expert testimony because “[i]n addition to invoking his or her generalized ‘experience,' each expert claimed to have relied upon specific news stories, academic studies, or other research in forming an opinion[, ] [and] each of the three experts was in a position to state whether the cited materials comported with his or her personal experience”). The same can be said for Dr. Welner's conclusions purporting to tie the alleged false arrest to shame or other mental suffering by Manganelli. See Gallaudet's 702 Mot., Ex. B (Welner Report) at 6 (asserting that “[i]t is clear from [ ] Manganelli's communications with others that he was proud and strong-willed, ” and that “the shame of the arrest and removal from Gallaudet . . . was all the more personally powerful” for Manganelli, because he “realized . . . his entire academic future [was] on the line”); see also id., Ex. B (Welner Report) at 5 (suggesting that Manganelli's “eviscerati[on of] himself with a butcher knife” is a Japanese “method [called] seppuku [that] evokes suicide in the context of dishonor”).[8] Thus, Dr. Welner has not demonstrated that his opinions are reliable solely on the basis of his experience.

         The Court is mindful that psychiatric methods by their nature often “cannot have the exactness of ‘hard' science methodologies, ” and therefore appreciates that it may “need to reach beyond the[] four [Daubert] factors” to assess the reliability of such methods. In re Neurontin, 2009 WL 3756328, at *4 (citation omitted). However, as the Supreme Court instructed in Kumho, the “basic gatekeeping obligation” announced in Daubert applies to all expert testimony, regardless of whether it is “scientific” in the traditional sense, 526 U.S. at 147-48, and requires courts “to make certain that an expert, whether basing testimony upon professional studies or personal experience, employs in the courtroom the same level of intellectual rigor that characterizes the practice of an expert in the relevant field, ” id. at 152. Here, the Court cannot say that the plaintiffs have satisfied this standard. As already explained, Dr. Welner does not purport to have employed either of the methodologies employed by the suicide causation experts in the cases cited by the plaintiffs. See Bennett v. Forest Labs., Civ. Action No. 6-72, 2015 WL 1579404, at *5 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 9, 2015) (admitting testimony by an expert who relied on a psychological autopsy to determine that the drug Lexapro was a significant contributing factor in a suicide); In re Neurontin, 2009 WL 3756328, at *1, *11, *15 (admitting testimony by experts who used a psychological autopsy and differential diagnosis as the basis for their conclusions that the drug Neurontin caused a suicide); Giles, 500 F.Supp.2d at 1061 (admitting testimony by experts who “used differential diagnoses and a psychological autopsy to determine that [the drug] Effexor caused [a] suicide”); Cloud v. Pfizer, Inc., 198 F.Supp.2d 1118, 1132, 1135 (D. Ariz. 2001) (recognizing that “post-mortem [psychological] autopsies appear to be generally accepted”).[9] Moreover, Dr. Welner's testimony raised additional questions as to whether his analysis satisfies the relevant professional standards. Specifically, Dr. Welner testified that due to budgetary constraints, his report in this case was not peer reviewed, see Pls.' Summ. J. Opp'n, Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 38:5-11, even though he normally has his opinions peer reviewed, see id., Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 39:21-24, and his “evaluation proceeded in an unusual[] . . . step-wise fashion, ” id., Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 38:11-13. Although Dr. Welner's testimony suggested that a lack of peer review was not entirely atypical, see id., Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 40:2-14 (describing circumstances in which peer reviews are not conducted), and that the “step-wise” process ultimately “worked, ” id., Ex. R (Welner Dep.) 38:12-13, he did not provide any meaningful explanation as to why these issues did not implicate the reliability of his opinions offered in this case.

         In sum, “[t]he trial court's gatekeeping function requires more than simply ‘taking the expert's word for it.'” Fed.R.Evid. 702 Advisory Committee Note (2000) (quoting Daubert, 43 F.3d 1311, 1319 (9th Cir. 1995)). Here, where Dr. Welner has not identified or explained his methods or how they were applied in this case, the Court simply cannot conclude that the requirements of Rule 702 and Daubert have been satisfied. See Patteson v. Maloney, 968 F.Supp.2d 169, 175 (D.D.C. 2013) (“Rule 702 and Daubert require [ ] that the method used to arrive at a scientific conclusion be reliable and reliably applied.” (emphasis added) (citing Daubert, 509 U.S. at 595)). Thus, although “the rejection of expert testimony is the exception rather than the rule, ” Fed.R.Evid. 702 Advisory Committee Note, the Court concludes that it must exclude Dr. Welner's testimony in this case, see Campbell v. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp., 311 F.Supp.3d 281, 300 (D.D.C. 2018) (excluding the plaintiff's proposed expert testimony as unreliable, in part because the expert “ha[d] not identified any particular principles or methodology he used in forming his opinions . . . [or] cite a single study, report or other source for his opinions”); see also Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 43 F.3d 1311, 1319 (9th Cir. 1995) (“We've been presented with only the experts' qualifications, their conclusions, and their assurances of reliability. Under Daubert, that's not enough.”); Chesapeake Climate Action ...


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