United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
suit arises from Plaintiff Warren Harris's request for
relief on his alleged claims of: (1) unreasonable seizure in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourth Amendment
of the United States Constitution (Count I); deprivation of
fundamental rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
the Fifth Amendment (Count II); and deprivation of right to
liberty without due process of law in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and the Fifth Amendment. Defendants in this case:
(1) Muriel Bowser, in her official capacity as the Mayor of
the District of Columbia (“the District”); (2)
Tanya Royster, in her official capacity as the Director of
the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health (“DBH”);
(3) Mark Chastang, in his official capacity as Chief
Executive Officer of St. Elizabeths Hospital (“St.
Elizabeths”); and (4) Quincy L. Booth, in his official
capacity as Director of the D.C. Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) have filed a  Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's  Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive
Relief and for Compensatory Damages, in its
entirety. For the reasons set forth herein,
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff's claim for unreasonable
seizure pursuant to the Fourth Amendment (Count I) is
dismissed, while Plaintiff's claims for deprivation of
his rights pursuant to the Fifth Amendment (Counts II and
III) remain standing. Furthermore, Plaintiff has standing to
seek injunctive relief, and the District of Columbia need not
be substituted for the Defendants in this matter. A separate
Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff's History of Commitment and
September 22, 1981, Plaintiff Warren Harris
(“Plaintiff” or “Mr. Harris”) was
“committed into the custody of St. Elizabeths Hospital
pursuant to Title 24, Section 301(d)(1) of the District of
Columbia Code [now D.C. Code §§ 24-501 (d)(1)]
until such time as (he) is ordered released, ” after
being found guilty by reason of insanity on a misdemeanor
charge of Possession of a Prohibited Weapon. Compl., ECF No.
1, ¶¶ 2, 44; June 22, 2016 Consent Order for
Limited Conditional Release (“June 22, 2016 Consent
Order”), ECF No. 9-1, at 1. On that same date,
Plaintiff pleaded guilty to a charge of Manslaughter While
Armed, for which he was sentenced to a period of
incarceration of 7½ to 25 years, of which he served 10
years. June 22, 2016 Consent Order, ECF No. 9-1, at 1. For
most of the subsequent 36 years, Mr. Harris “receiv[ed]
either inpatient care while residing within St. Elizabeths or
outpatient care while living in the community[.]”
Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 8. Plaintiff notes his
classification as a “forensic” patient, which is
terminology used by St. Elizabeths when an individual is
“being treated by a mental health services facility for
reasons related to his involvement in the criminal justice
system.” Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 9.
Harris has been granted several conditional releases since
his commitment began, and he was returned to inpatient care
most recently on October 15, 2014, following his conviction
for Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled
Substance (Cocaine) and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and
his sentence of 36 months' incarceration, which was to be
served in a facility operated by the Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”) and followed by five years of supervised
release. Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 46-50; June 22, 2016
Consent Order, ECF No. 9-1, at 1. Mr. Harris was
“subsequently conditionally released pursuant to an
order issued by Chief Judge Robert Morin of the D.C. Superior
Court, on May 3, 2017, finding that Mr. Harris will not, in
the reasonably foreseeable future, present a danger to
himself or others because of mental illness if conditionally
released[.]” Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 8; May 3, 2017
Consent Order for Conditional Release (“May 3 2017
Consent Order”), ECF No. 11-1, at 2.
Events Leading to the Lawsuit
filed his Complaint on April 4, 2018. Plaintiff's
Complaint indicates that, on January 17, 2017, St. Elizabeths
recommended that the Superior Court issue an order
conditionally releasing Plaintiff to live in the community,
on the basis that he would not pose a danger if released.
Compl., ECF No.1, ¶¶ 3, 55. The D.C. Superior Court
scheduled a hearing for April 5, 2017, to consider that
recommendation. Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 3, 56. On
April 5, 2017, the DOC picked up Plaintiff at St. Elizabeths
and transported him to and from the D.C. Superior Court.
Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 4, 61. Plaintiff alleges that
“the DOC removed [his] shoelaces and belt and subjected
him to five-point restraints” before he rode in a van
“with Class “A” patients, seated on a bench
facing a metal screen dividing male and female patients,
” and when he arrived at the Courthouse, he was
“placed in a holding cell.” Compl., ECF No. 1,
¶¶ 4, 63-65. Furthermore, “Mr. Harris'
restraints remained in place and his belt and shoelaces were
not provided to him” even when “appearing in
court.” Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 66. At that hearing,
the court granted the Government's request for
continuance and scheduled another appearance for May 3, 2017.
Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 68. Mr. Harris, through counsel,
complained about the April 5, 2017 transport and requested
that St. Elizabeths transport him to his May 3, 2017 hearing,
but that request was denied. Compl, ECF No. 1, ¶ 69. Mr.
Harris was conditionally released from St. Elizabeths on May
3, 2017. Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 8.
alleges that the Defendants in this case - the District, DBH,
St. Elizabeths, and DOC - “subject[ ] patients under
the care and custody of St. Elizabeths to unwarranted and
unconstitutional restraint when transporting patients to and
from St. Elizabeths and D. C. Superior Court to attend court
hearings about the status of their commitment at St.
Elizabeths.” Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 1. In Count I,
Plaintiff alleges that the practice whereby forensic patients
are placed in restraints during transport and put in a
holding cell while awaiting a court hearing constitutes
“an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Fourth
Amendment[.]” Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 91. In Count
II, Plaintiff alleges that the way in which he was
transported by the DOC to and from the D.C. Superior Court,
on April 5, 2017, and placed in a holding cell
“violat[ed] [ ] his Fifth Amendment right to adequate
medical care and to be free of unwarranted bodily
restraint.” Compl, ECF No. 1, ¶ 109. In Count III,
Plaintiff alleges that the way in which he was transported by
DOC to and from the D.C. Superior Court, on April 5, 2017,
“constitute[s] a deprivation of liberty without due
process of law in violation of the Fifth Amendment[.]”
Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 117. Plaintiff seeks declaratory
and injunctive relief because he “remains subject to
being returned to St. Elizabeths for mandatory treatment and
has no other adequate remedy to prevent future injury . . .
“Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶¶ 92, 109, 118.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1)
must dismiss a case pursuant to Federal Rule 12(b)(1) when it
lacks subject matter jurisdiction. In determining whether
there is jurisdiction, the Court may “consider the
complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the
record, or the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts
plus the court's resolution of disputed facts.”
Coalition for Underground Expansion v. Mineta, 333
F.3d 193, 198 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (citations omitted); see
also Jerome Stevens Pharm., Inc. v. Food & Drug
Admin., 402 F.3d 1249, 1253 (D.C. Cir. 2005)
(“[T]he district court may consider materials outside
the pleadings in deciding whether to grant a motion to
dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.”)
reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1),
courts must accept as true all factual allegations in the
complaint and construe the complaint liberally, granting
plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be drawn
from the facts alleged. See Leatherman v. Tarrant Cty.
Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S.
163, 164 (1993); Koutny v. Martin, 530 F.Supp.2d 84,
87 (D.D.C. 2007) (“[A] court accepts as true all of the
factual allegations contained in the complaint and may also
consider ‘undisputed facts evidenced in the
record'”) (internal citations omitted). Despite the
favorable inferences that a plaintiff receives on a motion to
dismiss, it remains the plaintiff's burden to prove
subject matter jurisdiction by a preponderance of the
evidence. Am. Farm Bureau v. United States Envtl. Prot.
Agency, 121 F.Supp.2d 84, 90 (D.D.C. 2000).
“Although a court must accept as true all factual
allegations contained in the complaint when reviewing a
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), [a]
plaintiff[‘s] factual allegations in the complaint. . .
will bear closer scrutiny in resolving a 12(b)(1) motion than
in resolving a 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a
claim.” Wright v. Foreign Serv. Grievance Bd.,
503 F.Supp.2d 163, 170 (D.D.C. 2007) (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted), aff'd., 2008 WL
4068606 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 17, 2008). A court need not accept as
true “a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation” or an inference “unsupported by the
facts set out in the complaint.” Trudeau v. Fed.
Trade Comm'n, 456 F.3d 178, 193 (D.C. Cir. 2006)
(quoting Papasam v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286
Failure to State a Claim under Rule 12(b)(6)
to Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a complaint on
grounds that it “fail[s] to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A
complaint is not sufficient if it “tenders ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). To survive a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient
factual allegations that, if accepted as true, “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “In evaluating a
motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the factual
allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of plaintiff.” Nat'l Postal
Prof'l Nurses v. U.S. Postal Serv., 461 F.Supp.2d
24, 27 (D.D.C. 2006).
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, courts may consider
“the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached
as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the
complaint” or “documents upon which the
plaintiff's complaint necessarily relies even if the
document is produced not by the plaintiff in the complaint
but by the defendant in a motion to dismiss.” Ward
v. District of Columbia Dep't of Youth Rehab.
Servs., 768 F.Supp.2d 117, 119 (D.D.C. 2011) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). The court may also
consider documents in the public record of which the court
may take judicial notice. Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. v.
Chao, 508 F.3d 1052, 1059 (D.C. Cir. 2007).
for purposes of the pending motion, the Court takes judicial
notice of the June 22, 2016 Consent Order for Conditional
Release issued by Chief Judge Lee Satterfield in United
States of America v. Warren Harris, No. 1981 FEL 000024,
attached as Ex. 1 to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, ECF
No. 9-1, and the May 3, 2017 Consent Order for Conditional
Release in the aforementioned case, which is attached as Ex 1
to Plaintiff's Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, ECF