United States District Court, District of Columbia
B. WALTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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,
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.
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.
Manganelli's Interactions with Opie on March 28,
“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.”).
“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.
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.”).
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.
“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”).
Manganelli's Interactions with Gallaudet DPS
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”). According to Lieutenant Bauer's
deposition testimony, which the plaintiffs dispute,
see Pls.' Reply to Gallaudet's Facts
¶¶ 93, 95-108,  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.
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
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
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.
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.
Manganelli's Interactions with the MPD Officers
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.”).
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. “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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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,  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.
The Parties' Evidentiary Motions
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.
Gallaudet's Motion to Exclude Testimony of Dr.
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  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.
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).
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:
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
(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).
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 anyplace 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.)
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”).
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.
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
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”). Thus, Dr. Welner has not
demonstrated that his opinions are reliable solely on the
basis of his experience.
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”). 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.
“[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 ...