United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RANDOLPH D. MOSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the District of Columbia's
motion for partial dismissal of Plaintiffs' amended
complaint. Dkt. 30. Plaintiffs Perry Spiller and
James McCray are suing the District and two officers of the
Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) for
various constitutional and common law torts stemming from an
encounter in which the officers allegedly used excessive
force. Spiller and McCray allege that they were unlawfully
arrested, injured, and detained, and that Spiller was
maliciously prosecuted. Previously, the Court dismissed
without prejudice various counts of Plaintiffs'
complaint. Spiller v. District of Columbia, 302
F.Supp.3d 240 (D.D.C. 2018) (“Spiller
I”), and Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint,
Dkt. 29 (Amd. Compl.). Defendants now move to dismiss two
counts of Plaintiffs' amended complaint: negligent
supervision (count IV) and abuse of process (count VI). For
the reasons explained below, the Court will
GRANT the District's partial motion to
factual allegations, which the Court must accept as true for
purposes of the present motion, see Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), are set forth in the
Court's prior opinion, see Spiller I, 302
F.Supp.3d at 243-44. To summarize, on May 30, 2015, two
individuals unassociated with this case engaged in a loud-and
eventually violent-argument outside of a nightclub as it
closed for the night. Dkt. 29 at 5 (Amd. Compl. ¶ 19).
Spiller and McCray maintain that they did not participate in
the argument but, rather, “stood nearby and laughed at
the incident.” Id. at 5-6 (Amd. Compl. ¶
20). Officers Robert Barillaro and Sean Murphy asked Spiller
and McCray “to leave the scene where the fight took
place.” Id. Spiller and McCray, in turn,
walked a short distance away “and sat on chairs in an
alleyway adjacent to the street where the incident took
place.” Id. at 6 (Amd. Compl. ¶ 21).
“Defendant Barillaro then re-approached the Plaintiffs
and” informed them that he was placing them under arise
for a “noise violation.” Id.
maintain that they “were not making loud noises.”
Id. (Amd. Compl. ¶ 20). They further allege
that, after a brief verbal exchange, Officer Barillaro
“tackled” Spiller by “using his hands and
arms to negligently and forcefully conduct a reckless
takedown.” Id. (Amd. Compl. ¶ 22).
Officer Murphy allegedly followed suit by tackling McCray.
Id. Plaintiffs allege that the encounter resulted in
“McCray suffer[ing] a fracture to his wrist and a
dislocated finger” and “Spiller suffer[ing]
swelling and abrasions to his legs, [a] sore throat, and . .
. numbness on the left side of his body.” Id.
at 7 (Amd. Compl. ¶¶ 24-25). Plaintiffs also allege
that, “as a result of the officers' . . . conduct,
” they lost their jobs. Id. at 7-8 (Amd.
Compl. ¶¶ 26-27).
both Plaintiffs were arrested for “Making Noise at
Night, ” the District declined to prosecute the
offense. Id. The U.S. Attorney's Office,
however, charged Spiller with Assault on a Police Officer and
Carrying a Dangerous Weapon because, according to the
officers, Spiller used “nunchucks” during the
encounter. Id. at 8 (Amd. Compl. ¶ 27). Spiller
pled not guilty and continues to maintain that “he did
not display the nunchucks or use [them] against any
officer.” Id. The U.S. Attorney's Office
dropped the charges against Spiller “on the eve of
October 14, 2016, Plaintiffs filed suit, asserting eight
counts: false arrest, false imprisonment, violation of
substantive due process, negligent training, negligent
supervision, violation of the Fourth Amendment for malicious
prosecution, gross negligent excessive force, and negligent
infliction of emotional distress. Dkt. 1 at 9-16 (Compl.
¶¶ 32-76). In its prior opinion, the Court merged
the false arrest and false imprisonment claims; dismissed the
substantive due process, negligent training, and negligent
supervision claims without prejudice; and dismissed the
malicious prosecution and negligent infliction of emotional
distress claims to the extent they were premised on 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Spiller I, 302 F.Supp.3d at 257.
Plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint on May 30, 2018,
re-alleging their claims for false arrest (count I),
malicious prosecution (counts II and III), negligent
supervision (count IV), gross negligent excessive force
(count V), and negligent infliction of emotional distress
(count VII). See Dkt. 29 at 9-14 (Amd. Compl.
¶¶ 32-66). They also added a claim for abuse of
process (count VI). Id. at 13 (Amd. Compl.
¶¶ 59-62). The District now moves to dismiss
Plaintiffs' negligent supervision and abuse of process
clams pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
See Dkt. 30.
survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a
complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible if the plaintiff
pleads “factual content that allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. Although
“detailed factual allegations” are not required,
the complaint must contain “more than labels and
conclusions, [or] a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
The Court must “assume [the] veracity” of
“well-pleaded factual allegations, ”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, and must “grant [the]
plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be derived
from the facts alleged, ” Sparrow v. United Air
Lines, Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1113 (D.C. Cir. 2000)
(internal quotation marks omitted). But the Court should not
assume that “a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation” is correct. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
District moves to dismiss two counts of the amended
complaint: Plaintiffs' negligent supervision and abuse of
process claims. The Court will address each in turn.
D.C. law, a party asserting a claim for negligent supervision
must establish that “[the] employer knew or should have
known its employee behaved in a dangerous or otherwise
incompetent manner” and that, “armed with that
actual or constructive knowledge, ” the employer
nevertheless “failed to adequately supervise the
employee.” District of Columbia v. Tulin, 994
A.2d 788, 794 (D.C. 2010); see also Blakeney v.
O'Donnell, 117 F.Supp.3d 6, 20-21 (D.D.C. 2015)
(applying D.C. law). Previously, the Court held that
Plaintiffs' original complaint failed to state a claim
for negligent supervision because their “bare
allegations” did not support a reasonable inference
that the “District or MPD officials were on
constructive notice of dangerous or incompetent behavior by
the officers in question prior to when Spiller and
McCray were arrested.” Spiller I, 302
F.Supp.3d at 255. In an effort to cure this defect,
Plaintiffs added the following allegations to the amended
Before this incident, the District of Columbia knew or should
have known, apparent from the opening of [an] internal
investigation of these Defendant Officers, that Defendant
[Officers] engaged in a dangerous and incompetent manner of
arresting and charging ...