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Spicer v. District of Columbia, et al.

August 5, 2020

Plaintiff brought suit against Defendants for an alleged assault and battery that occurred while he was detained at the D.C. Jail.  Plaintiff alleged that he was repeatedly punched, kicked and struck by four correctional officers.  Plaintiff further alleged that a fifth supervising officer “suggested” to the four subordinates that they write reports stating Plaintiff had attempted to strike one of four.  After Plaintiff was acquitted at a disciplinary review, he brought numerous claims against Defendants, including assault and battery and negligence.  Plaintiff contended that the four subordinates had a duty to provide him with reasonable care and that they had breached that duty by repeatedly punching, kicking and striking him.  Similarly, Plaintiff brought a claim for negligent supervision against their supervising officer.  Defendants argued that Plaintiff could not raise a claim for assault and battery and a claim for negligence based upon the same facts.  As to the four subordinates, the U.S. District Court for D.C. ruled for Defendants as to negligence.  The Court found that Plaintiff failed to allege any facts supporting his negligence claim that were separate from those supporting his assault and battery claim.  The Court would not allow Plaintiff to “bootstrap” a cause of action for negligence from facts related to the assault and battery.  As to the supervising officer, the U.S. District Court for D.C. ruled for Plaintiff.  The claim for negligent supervision required Plaintiff to allege that the supervising officer knew or reasonably should have known about the assault and battery.  Therefore, the claim for negligent supervision was distinguishable from the claim for the assault and battery.