United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION RE DOCUMENT NO. 2, 7
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Relief; Denying Without
Prejudice Defendants' Motion to Dismiss; Transferring
Case to the District of Utah
Kendrick Thurman Randle, proceeding pro se, brought
this action against the West Valley City Police Department
(“West Valley City”) for declaratory and
injunctive relief, and perhaps monetary damages, to remedy
alleged misconduct by uniformed police officers and
associated personnel in West Valley City, Utah. Randle
alleges that he sustained injuries and damages after West
Valley City police officers used excessive force against him
during a confrontation. He wants the police department and
its officers to implement policies and procedures that
identify, correct, and prevent the misconduct alleged in his
Complaint, and he claims there is $3, 700, 000 in
has moved for temporary relief, seeking financial assistance
for the duration of this suit because he lacks steady income.
West Valley City has moved to dismiss the Complaint for lack
of personal jurisdiction and insufficient service of process.
For the reasons explained below, the Court finds that it
lacks personal jurisdiction over West Valley City, denies the
motion for temporary relief, denies without prejudice
Defendants' motion to dismiss, and transfers the case
sua sponte to the District of Utah.
morning of July 17, 2018, West Valley City police officer
Stephen Parker found Randle, an African American male,
sleeping inside of his parked car. See Pl.'s
Supp. Mem. 13, ECF No. 3. According to the police report,
Parker knocked on the driver-side window and noticed Randle
reach for something out of view when he woke up. See
Id. Parker commanded Randle to open the driver-side
door. See Id. Randle opened the door and Parker
ordered him to step out of the car. See Id.
According to Parker, Randle did not comply and, instead,
began to reach for the center console. See Id.
Parker grabbed Randle's wrist to assist him out of the
car. See Id. Parker contends that Randle tensed up
and tried to pull his arm away, at which point Parker
“used physical force to pull him out of the car and
place him face down on the ground.” Id.
Parker then handcuffed Randle and, with the assistance of
officer Kevin Barrett, moved Randle away from the car.
See Id. While searching Randle's car, Parker
found Randle's District of Columbia driver's license.
See Id. at 14. Parker did not find contraband in
Randle's car and the police dispatcher advised Parker
that Randle's license was valid and that there were no
active warrants for his arrest. See id.
to Randle's allegations in the Complaint, Parker reached
inside Randle's car and pulled him out “by use of
unreasonable and excessive force.” Compl. 2, ECF No. 1.
Parker and Barrett then grabbed Randle, threw him to the
ground away from his car, and handcuffed him. Id.
Randle asserts that West Valley City police officers and/or
associated personnel took blood samples from his hand while
he was handcuffed and carried him to a police car for
questioning and detainment. Id. at 2-3. According to
Randle, “[he] was not officially arrested, ticketed or
cited” after his “detainment period.”
Id. Nor was he provided with “incident
reference information" by anyone at the scene.
Id. Thereafter, Randle quit his job and left Utah
“[i]n order to safely and efficiently report this . . .
incident.” Pl.'s Mot. Temporary Relief, ECF No. 2.
filed this suit on May 8, 2019 against the West Valley City
Police Department, seeking “declaratory and injunctive
relief to remedy and prevent practices of misconduct by
uniformed police officers and associated personnel in West
Valley City, Utah.” Compl. 2. He also filed a motion
for temporary relief, seeking financial assistance for the
duration of this suit. See Pl.'s Mot. Temporary
Relief. According to Randle, he would still be employed were
it not for his confrontation with the West Valley City police
officers. On June 4, 2019, West Valley moved to dismiss
Randle's Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and
insufficient service of process under Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(5). See Def.'s Mot.
Dismiss, ECF No. 7. On July 9, 2019, Randle filed his
response, see Pl.'s Resp., ECF No. 12, and on
July 16, 2019, West Valley City filed its reply, see
Def.'s Reply, ECF No. 15.
12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a
court to dismiss an action when the court lacks personal
jurisdiction over the defendant. “Personal jurisdiction
may be satisfied by either specific or general
jurisdiction.” Brit UW, Ltd. v. Manhattan
Beachwear, LLC, 235 F.Supp.3d 48, 54 (D.D.C. 2017)
(citing D'Onofrio v. SFX Sports Grp., Inc., 534
F.Supp.2d 86, 90 (D.D.C. 2008)). The plaintiff bears the
burden of establishing that a court has personal jurisdiction
over the defendant. See FC Inv. Grp. LC v. IFX Mkts.,
Ltd., 529 F.3d 1087, 1091 (D.C. Cir. 2008). Federal
courts typically look to the personal jurisdiction of the
courts in the state in which they sit if that jurisdiction is
“coextensive with the reach of constitutional due
process.” Brit UW, 235 F.Supp.3d at 60
(quoting Freedman v. Suntrust Banks, Inc., 139
F.Supp.3d 271, 278 (D.D.C. 2015)); see also Rossmann v.
Chase Home Fin. LLC, 772 F.Supp.2d 169, 171-72 (D.D.C.
2011) (noting that the plaintiff may establish general
personal jurisdiction under D.C. law).
jurisdiction “sets a high bar” that requires the
defendant to have “continuous and systematic”
contacts with the forum state-but then permits the forum to
adjudicate any claims brought against the defendant.
D'Onofrio, 534 F.Supp.2d at 90 (citing
Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall,
466 U.S. 408, 415-16 (1984)). By contrast, specific
jurisdiction requires that the suit “arise out of or
relate to the defendant's contacts with the forum.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Super. Ct. of Cal., 137
S.Ct. 1773, 1780 (2017). To exercise specific jurisdiction
over a non-resident, the court must engage in a two-step
analysis to determine (1) whether jurisdiction is appropriate
under the state's long-arm statute, and (2) whether
notions of due process are satisfied by exercising
jurisdiction over the non-resident. See GTE New Media
Servs., Inc. v. BellSouth Corp., 199 F.3d 1343, 1347
(D.C. Cir. 2000). Due process requires a plaintiff to
demonstrate that the defendant has “minimum contacts
with [the forum state] such that the maintenance of the suit
does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.'” Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting
Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)). These
contacts must be grounded in “some act by which the
defendant purposefully avail[ed] itself of the privilege of
conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking
the benefits and protection of its laws.” Asahi
Metal Indus. v. Super. Ct. of Cal., 480 U.S. 102, 109
(1987) (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471
U.S. 462, 475 (1985)). That is, “the defendant's
conduct and connection with the forum state [must be] such
that [it] should reasonably anticipate being haled into court
there.” GTE New Media Servs., Inc., 199 F.3d
at 1347 (quoting World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v.
Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980)).
moves for temporary relief, and West Valley City moves to
dismiss Randle's Complaint pursuant to Rules 12(b)(2) and
12(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court
first considers whether it has general or specific personal
jurisdiction over West Valley City and finds that it does
not. Because the Court finds that it lacks personal
jurisdiction over West Valley City, it transfers this case to
the District of Utah and leaves it to that court to determine
whether service was properly effected. ...