United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION [DKT. # 1]
RJCHARD J. LEON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before me on Radcliffe Bancroft Lewis's
("plaintiff) complaint ("Compl."), ECF No. 1.
Plaintiffs remaining claims are foreclosed by res
judicata, predicated on my prior ruling in this case.
Therefore, the complaint will be DISMISSED.
December 23, 2016, plaintiff, proceeding pro se,
filed a complaint and an application to proceed in forma
pauper is ("IFP"). Plaintiff initially sued
five defendants, namely, Judge Judith E. Thompson of the
District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Judge Phyllis D.
Retchin of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
("Superior Court"), the District of Columbia
Courts, the Metropolitan Police Department ("'Metro
Police"), and Water S. Pankowski, a Metro Police
officer. Compl. at caption. Plaintiff brought claims of (1)
false arrest against Officer Pankowski and the Metro Police,
id. at 3; (2) treason against Judge Retchin,
id. at 3; and (3) conspiracy against the District of
Columbia Courts, id. at 4. There were no facts or
claims pled against Judge Thompson.
December 23, 2016, I entered an order granting plaintiffs
motion to proceed IFP. See Ord. (D.D.C. filed Dec.
23, 2016), ECF No. 4. In that same order, I dismissed with
prejudice the claims against Judge Thompson, Judge Retchin,
and the District of Columbia Courts. Id. at 1-2. The
dismissal was based on frivolity and failure to state a claim
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 and 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii), and judicial immunity pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii). Id. at 1-2.
Only the false arrest claims against Officer Pankowski and
the Metro Police currently remain.
alleges that Officer Pankowski and the Metro Police falsely
arrested him on or about August 20, 2014 for the first
time ("first arrest"), Compl. at 2, and then
falsely arrested him a second time on or about September 30,
2015 or October 1, 2015 ("second arrest"),
id. at 2, 3, resulting in charges and unjust
subsequent proceedings before the Superior Court,
id. at 1, 2, 3. He seeks $467 million in damages.
Id. at 4.
public record sheds light on plaintiffs underlying criminal
proceedings in Superior Court. The record indicates that
plaintiff was arrested and charged in Superior Court with
second degree theft on August 20. 2014 and was released under
various conditions. See United States v. Lewis,
2014-CMD-014568 (D.C. Super. Ct. 2014) at Entry No. 1. After
a series of various events, a mental observation hearing was
scheduled for November 21, 2014. Id. at Entry 44.
Plaintiff failed to appear for that hearing and a bench
warrant was issued. Id. at Entry Nos. 55-8. That
warrant was served on October 1, 2015, and a mental
observation hearing was then held before Judge Retchin on
October 7, 2015. Id. at Entry Nos. 60-6.
close review of plaintiff s complaint, it is evident that his
remaining claims are duplicative. This is the second time
that plaintiff has filed false arrest claims against Officer
Pankowski and the Metro Police. These exact claims were
raised and addressed by me in Lewis v. District of
Columbia Police Dep 't, No. 16-cv-02352 (RJL)
(D.D.C. 2016) ("prior matter"). The prior matter
was initiated in the Superior Court for the District of
Columbia and was removed to this Court by defendants on
November 30, 2016. See Id. at ECF No. 2. In the
prior matter, plaintiff named Officer Pankowski and the Metro
Police, among others, as defendants. See id..
Original File at "Sup. Ct. Compl.," ECF No. 3, at
110- 18. Among other claims, plaintiff alleged
false arrest, detailing the same first and second arrests at
issue in this matter. Sup. Ct. Compl. at 111, 113-14.
Plaintiff specifically alleged that [sic] "[o]n October
1, 2015, Lewis was again arrested by DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
POLICE DEPARTMENT BADGE WALTER PANKOWSKI, BADGE NUMBER
3132." Id. at 113. As part of the complaint in
the prior matter, plaintiff discussed his proceedings before
Judge Retchin and other members of Superior Court. including
his forensic assessment for mental incompetence, and his
prosecution prior to dismissal, all of which took place
subsequent to his second arrest. Id. at 113-14. He
requested $151 million in damages. Id. at 118.
prior matter, Officer Pankowski and the Metro Police filed a
motion to dismiss. See Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 4.
On February 6, 2016, I dismissed the claims against Officer
Pankowski and the Metro Police. See Mem. Ord., ECF
No. 13 (D.D.C. filed Feb. 6, 2016). In the Order, I indicated
that plaintiff failed to file an opposition to the motion to
dismiss, and therefore, the motion could be considered
conceded. Id. at 1. However, based on concerns
raised by our Circuit Court in Cohen v. Bd. Of Trs. Of
the Univ. of the District of Columbia, 819 F.3d 476, 482
(D.C. Cir. 2016) regarding granting unopposed motions, I
proceeded to address the merits. Id. at 1-3. I held
that the Metro Police is not a suable entity and dismissed
the claims accordingly. Id. at 2. Further, I found
that plaintiff failed to state a claim against Office
Pankowski. Id. at 3.
plaintiff implicitly attempts to distinguish the two matters
by asserting that the prior matter only concerned false
arrest claims against Pankowski relating to the first arrest.
Compl. at3. However, this assertion is incorrect. Plaintiff
explicitly discusses the second arrest as part of his
complaint in the prior matter. Sup. Ct. Compl. at 113-14. The
prior complaint also details the same resulting proceedings
before the Superior Court that are addressed in his current
complaint. Compare Sup. Ct. Compl. at 113-17,
with Compl. at 2-3.
plaintiffs false arrest claims, and his grievances regarding
the subsequent Superior Court proceedings, were already fully
adjudicated. See Mem. Ord. at 2-3. He may not
attempt to relitigate them anew. See Stanton v. District
of Columbia Court of Appeals, 127 F.3d 72, 78 (D.C. Cir.
1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). Assuming
arguendo that plaintiff has raised new claims or
issues regarding the second arrest, such claims or issues
would necessarily arise out of the same nucleus of facts,
namely, plaintiffs underlying Superior Court criminal matter.
Compare Compl. at 1-2, with Sup. Ct. Compl.
at 111-16; see Page v. United States, 729 F.2d 818.
820 (D.C. Cir. 1984). Any supplemental information regarding
his two arrests could have been presented in the prior
matter. See Drake v. Fed. Aviation Admin., 291 F.3d
59, 66 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (quoting Allen v. McCurry,
449 U.S. 90, 94 (1980)) (holding that a final judgment on the
merits of an action precludes the parties or their privies
from relitigating claims that "were or could have been
raised in that action.").
has sued the same defendants, raising identical claims and
issues against them, and he seeks the same form of relief.
Compare Compl. at 2-A, with Sup. Ct. Compl.
at 111, 113-14, 118. "The doctrine of
resjudicata prevents repetitious litigation
involving the same causes of action or the same issues."
I.A.M. Nat'l Pension Fund v. Indus. Gear Mfg.
Co., 723 F.2d 944, 946 (D.C. Cir. 1983). Therefore, the
holdings in the memorandum order issued in Lewis v.
District of Columbia Police Dep't, No. 16-cv-02352
(RJL) (D.D.C. 2016) are applicable here.
Metro Police, of course, remains an agency non suis
juris. See, e.g., Nix El v. Williams, 174 F.Supp.3d 87,
93 (D.D.C. 2016); see also Hickman v. Library of
Congress, 74 F.Supp.3d 329, 331 (D.D.C. 2014). Plaintiff
has also again failed to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted against Officer Pankowski, as the facts currently
asserted against him are the same, if not less detailed, than
before. Compare Compl. at 2-4, with Sup.
Ct. Compl. at 111, 113-14, 118. I have already addressed
these identical facts, arguments, claims, and issues.
See Mem. Ord. at 1-3; see also Haase v.
Sessions, 835 F.2d 902, 906 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (finding
that decision on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion "presents a
ruling on the merits with resjudicata effect").
prior adjudication of this Court bears preclusive effect and
this case shall be DISMISSED for the same
reasons stated in the prior memorandum order. A ...