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Case Name Lane v. District of Columbia PN-DC-0008
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-01316 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Corps
Equal Justice Under Law
Case Summary
On August 4, 2014, a 71-year old grandmother living in Washington, DC filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the District of Columbia. The plaintiff, represented by the non-profit organization Equal Justice Under Law, sought ... read more >
On August 4, 2014, a 71-year old grandmother living in Washington, DC filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the District of Columbia. The plaintiff, represented by the non-profit organization Equal Justice Under Law, sought compensatory damages, punitive damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees, claiming that her constitutional rights were violated. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the police verbally and physically abused her during a search of her home that was conducted despite the fact that she was under no suspicion of any wrongdoing.

The incident happened on October 27, 2012 when two officers were on patrol and passed the plaintiff's home and saw three men near her property "outside the fence line." One of the men was the plaintiff's grandson. After conversing with the men, the three were arrested for possession of an open container of alcohol and possession of synthetic marijuana. A handgun was also found. One of the other men admitted that all of the illicit items belonged to him and no charges were pressed against the plaintiff's grandson.

Even though no charges were pressed against the plaintiff's grandson, the police sought to search the plaintiff's home on the basis that there might have been evidence related to illegal firearms in the home. According to the plaintiff's complaint, the search warrant application was vague and did not specify any specific reason for searching the home. Furthermore, the complaint alleges that the basis given for the warrant was inadequate.

Both before and after obtaining the warrant, the plaintiff alleged that she was kept from entering her home and treated abusively by the police. After the search did not turn up anything illegal, the plaintiff claims that she reentered her home to find that it had been torn apart by the police.

On September 16, 2014, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. They argued that the officers' conduct was lawful, that the officers conduct was protected by qualified immunity, and that plaintiff failed to allege a Monell claim against the Metropolitan Police Department.

The plaintiff filed an amended complaint on September 25, 2015, which added several officer defendants to the action.

On September 30, 2016, Judge Randolph D. Moss ruled on the defendants' motion to dismiss, granting in part and denying in part. 211 F. Supp. 3d 150 (D.D.C. 2016). Specifically, the Court found that the officers had failed to establish the following: (1) that the firearm found gave them probable cause to conduct a warrantless arrest; (2) that the protective sweep of the home was lawful; and (3) that the application for the warrant for the subsequent search was supported by probable cause. The Court did find, however, that all defendants who executed the search except for one acted lawfully. Finally, the Court found that the plaintiff's complaint adequately alleged that the purportedly unconstitutional search of the home was the result of the District's "pattern policy, and practice" of an affiant officer falsely claiming that his training and experience led him to believe that evidence of a crime would be present.

On May 1, 2017, the parties stipulated to a dismissal of the case pursuant to a private settlement agreement. The case is now closed.

Brian Dressel - 02/05/2015
Eva Richardson - 01/30/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Aggressive behavior
Assault/abuse by staff
Confinement/isolation
Over/Unlawful Detention
Racial profiling
Search policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) The District of Columbia
Plaintiff Description 71-year-old private citizen and grandmother whose home was allegedly searched illegally and without cause.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Civil Rights Corps
Equal Justice Under Law
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
1:14-cv-01316-RDM (D.D.C.)
PN-DC-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-DC-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/04/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 9]
PN-DC-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 25]
PN-DC-0008-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 33] (211 F.Supp.3d 150) (D.D.C.)
PN-DC-0008-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/30/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Moss, Randolph Daniel (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0008-0004 | PN-DC-0008-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hubbard, Katherine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0008-9000
Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0008-0001 | PN-DC-0008-0003 | PN-DC-0008-9000
Telfeyan, Phil (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0008-0003 | PN-DC-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Finkhousen, Aaron J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0008-0002 | PN-DC-0008-9000
Gonzalez, Joseph A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0008-9000
Nathan, Irvin B (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0008-0002
Pittman, Jonathan H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0008-0002
Valentine, George C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-DC-0008-0002

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