USDC CA. No. 84-3552
THOMAS v. REAGAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
v. Civil Action No. 84-3552
UNITED STATES, et al.,
CLERK, U.S.DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff brings this action to enjoin the defendants from
interfering with the "reproachful vigil" that he maintains
in the vicinity of the White House and Lafayette Park. The federal
defendants and defendant Michael Canfield have moved to dismiss
the plaintiff's complaint. The federal defendants correctly point
out that the plaintiff can no longer challenge the Department
of Interior (DOI: regulations under which he and his fellow protesters
have Seen arrested. These regulations have been held to be constitutional.
See Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence, 104 S.Ct.
3065 1984; White House Vigil for the ERA Committee v. Clark,
746 F.2d 1518 (D.C. Cir. 1984): United States v. Thomas,
Nos. 83-1769 etc. (D.C. Cir. December 21, 1984).
Nevertheless, many of the issues raised in plaintiff's
voluminous pro se complaint cannot be resolved by the pending
motions. At a hearing held on May 8, 1985, plaintiff identified
several claims that implicate concerns going
beyond whether DOI's
regulations are constitutional. These claims have been summarized
in a Clarification of Complaint" filed by the plaintiff at
the Court's request.
Plaintiff alleges that both federal and local law enforcement
officials have committed unconstitutional excesses in their efforts
to arrest plaintiff pursuant to Local statutes and DOI regulations.
In particular, plaintiff claims that his literature, tools, signs,
and camera have been improperly
seized and destroyed by Park Service and District of Columbia
Police. See, e.g., Complaint at ¶¶ 40, 46, 87, 93, 112,
117, 118 & 135.
He asserts that law enforcement officers have violated
his constitutional rights by using excessive force during his
arrests. See, e.g., Complaint at ¶¶ 30, 69, 93 & 132.
plaintiff further alleges that the police have unlawfully detained
him on several different Sundays by arresting him on Saturday
nights and failing to book him expeditiously. See, e.g.,, Complaint
at ¶¶ 57, 93, 97 &131. The complaint contains numerous
other allegations of police misconduct, and plaintiff further
claims that these acts were the product of a conspiracy pursued
by federal and local officials.
Plaintiff's complaint states a substantial federal claim.
The fact that the constitutionality of the DOI regulations is
well-settled does not prevent the plaintiff from claiming, pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named
Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388
(1971), [*] that defendants have violate his constitutional
rights in the course of enforcing the regulations and the law
of the District of Columbia.
Nor are plaintiff's claims barred by the one-year statute
of limitations applicable to actions for false imprisonment in
the district of Columbia. Several of the constitutional violations
alleged by the plaintiff assertedly occurred within one year of
the filing of this action, and plaintiff has offered to amend
his complaint to allege more recent incidents.
Plaintiffs complaint is inartfully drafted. Moreover,
his proposed second and third amended complaints reveal that he
labors under several misconceptions about the remedies that are
available to him in this Court, Because the plaintiff's proposed
second and third amended complaints would, in their present form.
needlessly complicate this action, the pending motions to amend
will be denied without prejudice.
The defects in plaintiff's Pleadings do not bar plaintiff's
otherwise substantial claims, since pro se pleadings must be liberally
construed to avoid injustice. See Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519 (1972). At the May 8 hearing, however, plaintiff was
advised that if the pending motions to dismiss were denied,
[* Bivens permits plaintiff to
seek damages from federal officials alleged to have violated his
constitutional rights. Even if plaintiff cannot state a cause
of action under Bivens, his inability to do so would not necessarily
preclude any equitable relief against the United States to which
he may be entitled. See Reuber v. United States, 750 F.2d
1039, 1061-62 (D.C. Cir. 1984).]
he would be well-served by obtaining counsel to representing
him. This admonition will be particularly meaningful if defendants
should file motions for summary judgment, or if plaintiff wishes
to amend his complaint to state succinctly the surviving claims
outlined in this memorandum. for the reasons set forth herein,
it is this 3rd day of June, 1985, hereby
ORDERED: that the federal defendants' motion to
dismiss be, and is hereby, DENIED; and it is further
ORDERED: that defendant Canfield's motion to dismiss
be. and is hereby, DENIED; and it is further
ORDERED: that a statute conference to schedule further
proceedings in this case will be held on June 20, 1985 at 9:30
A.M.; and it is further
ORDERED: that on or before June 14, 1985, plaintiff
shall present the papers in this case to the Lawyer Referral & information
Service of the D.C. Bar, 1326 H Street, N.W., 9th floor (638-1509)
and obtain the Service's recommendation of a lawyer, if any, who
could represent plaintiff in this matter: and it is further
1. that plaintiff's motion to locate and serve defendant J.M.
David be, and is hereby, DENIED.
2. That plaintiffs motion for leave to file a second
amended complaint be, and is hereby, DENIED, without prejudice.
3. That plaintiff's motion for leave to file a third amended
complaint be, and is hereby, DENIED, without prejudice.
4. That plaintiff's motion for consolidation of hearing
with trial on the merits be and is hereby, DENIED.
Louis F. Oberdorfer
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Case Listing --- Proposition
One ---- Peace Park