United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case arises from a physical altercation that took place
between Plaintiff and Defendant on April 30, 2015. Defendant
was standing on a sidewalk with his wife and two friends.
Defendant attacked Plaintiff after taking offense to comments
Plaintiff made about the appearance of Defendant's wife.
Plaintiff filed this civil lawsuit asserting causes of action
for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress. Defendant also faced criminal charges for the
alleged attack and was convicted of criminal simple assault
on August 2, 2018.
has filed a  Motion for Partial Summary Judgment based on
the collateral estoppel effect of Defendant's guilty
verdict. Plaintiff asks the Court to grant summary judgment
on Plaintiff's Count 1 claim for assault and Count 2
claim for battery. Plaintiff also asks the Court to grant
summary judgment as to the element of intentional conduct
with respect to Plaintiff's Count 3 claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress.
consideration of the pleadings,  the relevant legal
authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court GRANTS IN
PART and DENIES IN PART Plaintiff's  Motion to for
Partial Summary Judgment. The Court GRANTS Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment on his Count 1 claim for assault
and his Count 2 claim for battery based on collateral
estoppel. However, the court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion
for Summary Judgment on the element of intentional conduct
with respect to Plaintiff's Count 3 claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress as that issue was not
litigated in Defendant's criminal trial.
to the findings of the judge presiding over Defendant's
criminal trial in the Superior Court of the District of
Columbia, on April 30, 2015, Defendant was standing with his
wife and two others on a sidewalk. As Plaintiff, who was
intoxicated, passed the group, Plaintiff passed close to
Defendant's wife and made offensive remarks to her.
Defendant did not hear exactly what the remarks were, but his
wife did. She understandably took offense. Defendant called
out to Plaintiff who had already passed the group. Defendant
then attacked Plaintiff. The parties continue to dispute the
events leading up to this interaction. However, the events of
Defendant's criminal trial, described below, are not
August 1 and 2, 2018, Defendant's criminal trial was
conducted in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Pl.'s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts
(“Pl.'s Stat.”), ECF No. 57-3, ¶ 1.
Defendant was represented by Marlon Griffith, who also
represents Defendant in this civil matter. Id. at
¶ 2. At the trial, the United States presented three
witnesses-Plaintiff, Detective Michael Murphy, and Jill
Quinones, a friend of Plaintiff's who was with him the
night of the incident. Id. at ¶ 3.
the United States' case, Plaintiff testified, in relevant
part, that while walking to his car he saw and commented on
an attractive woman. Id. at ¶ 4d; see
also Ex. B, ECF No. 57-4, 3: 11-75: 11 (Plaintiff's
testimony at Defendant's criminal trial). Plaintiff
testified that he did not make physical contact with the
woman and continued walking. Id. at ¶ 4e.
Plaintiff then stated that he heard Defendant shouting at
him. Immediately following these shouts, Defendant ran
towards Plaintiff and began hitting and attacking him.
Id. at ¶ 4f-g. Plaintiff testified that
Defendant continued striking him with a closed fist in the
head even after he had fallen to his knees. Id. at
¶ 4j, o. Plaintiff further testified that he had no time
to react or to get out of the way and that he never lunged or
hit at Defendant. Id. at ¶ 4h-i. Plaintiff
explained that he was seriously injured by the attack.
Id. at ¶ 4k-n.
testimony, Detective Murphy stated that he had interviewed
Defendant after his arrest the morning of May 1, 2015.
Id. at ¶ 5b; see also Ex. B, ECF No.
57-4, 75: 15-80: 9 (Detective Murphy's testimony).
Detective Murphy stated that Defendant had been charged at
the time with aggravated assault. Id. at ¶ 5c.
The government moved into evidence the video recording of
Detective Murphy's interview with Defendant. Ex. B, ECF
No. 57-4, 79: 4.
Ms. Quinones, who was with Plaintiff the night of the
incident, testified that after walking past two men
playfighting next to a woman on the sidewalk she noticed that
Plaintiff was no longer walking with her. Pl.'s Stat.,
ECF No. 57-3, ¶ 6c; see also Ex. B, ECF No.
57-4, 80: 24-117: 20 (Ms. Quinones's testimony). When she
turned to look for Plaintiff, she saw him on the ground being
physically attacked by Defendant. Id. at ¶ 6d.
She testified that Defendant stood over Plaintiff and punched
him several times, but she never saw Plaintiff hit Defendant.
Id. at ¶ 6e-f.
was time for the Defense to put on its case, Defendant took
the stand to testify in his own defense. Id. at
¶ 7; see also Ex. C, ECF No. 57-5, 3: 21- 35: 2
(Defendant's testimony). Defendant stated that he was on
a date with his wife, standing in front of a restaurant
saying goodbye to friends, when he saw Plaintiff walk close
by his wife and say something. Id. at ¶ 7b.
Defendant testified that he asked Plaintiff what he said
multiple times until Plaintiff turned around. Id. at
¶ 7c. Defendant stated that Plaintiff then took a few
steps towards Defendant and his group. Id. at ¶
7e. Defendant testified that he stepped towards Plaintiff
because he thought Plaintiff was coming to hit him.
Id. at ¶ 7f. Defendant stated that he struck
Plaintiff in the face two or three times before Plaintiff
fell to the ground. Id. at ¶ 7g. Defendant
explained that he struck Plaintiff with his right hand and
held Plaintiff's head with his left hand but stopped
hitting Plaintiff when Plaintiff fell to his knees.
Id. at ¶ 7j-k. Defendant admitted that he did
not call 911 or remain at the scene after the attack.
Id. at ¶ 7m. Defendant explained that he hit
Plaintiff because he thought Plaintiff was going to strike
him, his wife, or one of his friends and he felt threatened.
Id. at ¶ 7h-i. He admitted that during his
custodial interview with Detective Murphy he had said that he
“beat the shit” out of Plaintiff. Id. at
Defendant's testimony, Defendant moved for judgment of
acquittal but was denied. The parties then made their closing
statements. Id. at ¶ 8.
closing statement, the United States argued that Defendant
assaulted Plaintiff and had not acted in self-defense.
Id. at ¶ 9a-b; see also Ex. C, ECF No.
57-5, 39: 3-46: 15 (United States' closing statement).
The United States contended that Plaintiff had walked away
from Defendant after his comment to Defendant's wife and
that Defendant had rushed to attack Plaintiff. Id.
at ¶ 9c-d. The United States emphasized that, during his
custodial interview, Defendant had not mentioned Plaintiff
moving to attack him or the need for self-defense or defense
of others. Id. at ¶ 9e-f.
Defendant's closing statement, Defense counsel argued
that Defendant had hit Plaintiff in self-defense or defense
of others because he felt threatened. Id. at ¶
10a-b; see also Ex. C, ECF No. 57-5, 46: 17-61: 17
(Defendant's closing statement). Defense counsel pointed
out that Plaintiff was intoxicated at the time and that
Plaintiff's arguments were more consistent with being hit
once or twice, not repeatedly. Id. at ¶ 10d-e.
brief recess to consider the arguments, the court made an
oral ruling. Id. at ¶ 11; see also Ex.
C, ECF No. 57-5, 68: 25-76: 12 (the judge's oral ruling).
The court began by noting that, to prove simple assault,
“the Government must prove that defendant in this case,
Haley Barbour, Jr., with force of violence injured or
attempted to injure a person, in this case it's Kurtis
King. Second, he intended to use force of violence against
the person, and third, at the time he had the apparent
ability to injure that person.” Ex. C, ECF No. 57-5,
69: 3-8. The court decided that “[t]here's no
dispute that those elements are satisfied.”
Id. at 69: 9.
court went on to explain that “[t]he defendant has
introduced the defense of self defense, which I find they
have done so to the point that the Government must now prove
beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not acting
in self defense.” Id. at 69: 10-13. The court
then rejected Defendant's self-defense and defense of
others theories. First, the court found that
“[t]here's no evidence to my mind that shows that
Mr. Barbour reasonably believed himself to be in danger at
that time.” Id. at 74: 2-4. The court
explained that Defendant “easily could have chosen not
to approach. Assuming for the sake of argument that Mr. King
approached him, he could have chosen not to approach him. He
could have chosen not to engage. He was standing with other
people. He could have warned him, you come any step closer
I'll do something. None of that took place.”
Id. at 74: 5-10. The court found that Defendant
“did not believe himself to be in physical danger, that
he was angry at what he believes to be an insult. He
wasn't defending his wife from physical threats. He
wasn't defending himself from physical threats. He was
avenging an insult to his wife's honor.”
Id. at 74: 19-23. Elaborating, the judge stated that
Defendant “was protecting [his wife] from offensive
remarks and insult. He was not protecting her physically. He
was not in physical danger. His wife was not in physical
danger.” Id. at 76: 5-8. Finally, the Court
determined that “[e]ven assuming that Mr. Barbour
believed that he had to punch first in order to protect
himself, I find him guilty of simply assault because I
believe he used excessive force.” Id. at 74:
16-18. However, this Court notes that the judge in
Defendant's criminal trial made no finding as to how many
times Defendant punched Plaintiff.
August 21, 2018, the court held a sentencing hearing during
which Plaintiff gave a victim impact statement. Pl.'s
Stat., ECF No. 57-3, ¶ 17-18. The court ordered
restitution in the amount of $1, 342 as that amount is the
“uncompensated expenses directly attributable to the
immediate treatment received after the injury.” Ex. D,
ECF No. 57-6, 20: 9-11. The court also sentenced Defendant to
a suspended 60-day incarceration, one year of probation, and
20 hours of community service. Pl.'s Stat., ECF No. 57-3,
¶ 19. The court reiterated that Defendant had not acted
in self-defense or defense of others. Id. at ¶
20. The court then entered a Judgment and Commitment order.
Id. at ¶ 21.