United States District Court, District of Columbia
MONIQUE R. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Defendant.
P. MEHTA UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Monique R. Davis was a passenger on a bus operated by
Defendant Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
(“WMATA”), which collided with a motorcyclist.
Plaintiff claims that the crash caused her severe physical
and emotional injuries. She brings four causes of action-(1)
negligence, (2) negligent entrustment, (3) negligent hiring,
training, retention and supervision, and (4) negligence per
se. WMATA moves to dismiss Counts II and III-negligent
entrustment and negligent hiring, training, retention and
supervision, respectively-because they are barred by
sovereign immunity. For the reasons stated below, the court
grants Defendant's motion to dismiss these two counts.
April 20, 2016, Plaintiff was a passenger on a bus owned and
operated by Defendant WMATA. See Compl., ECF No. 1-4
[hereinafter Compl.], ¶ 4. Plaintiff alleges that the
WMATA bus driver failed to yield the right of way while
making a left turn and collided with a motorcyclist. See
Id. ¶ 6. Plaintiff asserts that the WMATA bus
driver's negligence caused the crash. See Id.
¶¶ 7-30. Additionally, Plaintiff contends that
WMATA acted negligently by failing to investigate, supervise,
and train the driver and by believing the driver would
operate the bus in a safe manner. See Id.
¶¶ 31-41. Because of the collision, Plaintiff
sustained physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
See id. ¶ 42.
filed this action on January 10, 2019, in the Superior Court
for the District of Columbia, pleading four causes of action
against WMATA: (1) negligence, (2) negligent entrustment, (3)
negligent hiring, training, retention and supervision, and
(4) negligence per se. See Id. ¶¶ 44-47.
March 8, 2019, Defendant filed a Notice of Removal pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1446. See Notice of Removal, ECF
No. 1, ¶ 4. On March 8, 2019, Defendant filed an initial
Answer, see Answer, ECF No. 3, and a Motion for
Partial Dismissal, seeking dismissal of Counts II (Negligent
Entrustment) and III (Negligent Hiring, Training, Retention
and Supervision), see Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss,
ECF No. 4 [hereinafter Def.'s Mot.], at 3. Plaintiff
filed a timely opposition to Defendant's Motion on March
22, 2019, asking the court to deny Defendant's motion and
to allow her to take discovery concerning WMATA's
procedures and policies. See generally Pl.'s
Opp'n, ECF No. 9 [hereinafter Pl.'s Opp'n].
claim of sovereign immunity implicates the court's
subject matter jurisdiction. See Washington Metro. Area
Transit Auth. v. Barksdale-Showell, 965 A.2d 16, 21
(D.C. 2009). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) permits
a defendant to move to dismiss a claim for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. When a defendant asserts immunity, the
burden shifts to the plaintiff to establish that the court
has subject matter jurisdiction over the causes of action
asserted in the complaint. See Grand Lodge of the
Fraternal Order of Police v. Ashcroft, 185 F.Supp.2d 9,
13 (D.D.C. 2001). A court must accept as true all factual
allegations contained in the complaint, but a plaintiff's
factual allegations will bear closer scrutiny in resolving a
Rule 12(b)(1) motion than in resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
for failure to state a claim. See id.
is a transit authority that was created by an interstate
compact signed by Maryland, Virginia, and the District of
Columbia and enacted via Congressional consent (the
“WMATA Compact”). See Pub. L. No.
89-774, 80 Stat. 1324 (1966) (codified as amended at D.C.
Code § 9-1107 et seq.). WMATA enjoys sovereign
immunity, except to the extent that the WMATA Compact waives
it. See Def.'s Mot. at 3-4. The WMATA Compact
[T]he Authority, shall be liable . . . for its torts and
those of its Directors, officers, employees and agents
committed in the course of any proprietary function . . . but
shall not be liable for any such torts occurring in the
performance of a governmental function . . . . Nothing
contained in this Title shall be construed as a waiver by the
District of ...