Okereke v. Does 1-6 et al
Judge Allison D. Burroughs: MEMORANDUM AND ORDER entered granting 8 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; granting 10 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; granting 18 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. This action is DISMISSED in its entirety. Plaintiff is reminded that the 2012 Court Order precludes her from filing a notice of appeal without first obtaining the written approval of a judge of this Court. (PSSA, 4)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
Civil Action No.
SIX UNKNOWN BOSTON POLICE
OFFICERS, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ motions to dismiss
[ECF Nos. 8, 10, 18] for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
On August 31, 2016, Precious Okereke (“Okereke”), proceeding pro se, filed a complaint
against Boston Medical Center (“BMC”), Six Unknown Boston Police Officers (“the Removing
Defendants”), and The Bournwood Hospital (whose true name is First Psychiatric Planners, Inc.)
in the Middlesex Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts asserting various
claims arising from an incident in which Okereke was allegedly arrested and brought to Boston
Medical Center [ECF No. 12]. On October 6, 2016, the Removing Defendants filed a Notice of
Removal on the grounds of federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 [ECF No. 1].
As best can be gleaned from the pro se complaint, this action stems from an incident in
which Okereke was allegedly arrested without probable cause and brought by the police to
Boston Medical Center and/or Bournwood Hospital. Okereke alleges that she was confined for
fifteen days. She seeks damages in the amount of six million dollars and asserts jurisdiction
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (civil action for deprivation of rights), M.G.L. ch. 258E
(harassment prevention orders), M.G.L. ch. 93, § 10 (knowing intent to injure; punishment;
jurisdiction), and M.G.L. ch. 93, § 102 (equal rights; violations; civil actions; costs). The
complaint asserts various claims for false arrest, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional
distress, deliberate indifference, and conspiracy. Okereke does not state the dates of any of the
alleged events and states that the statute of limitations bars no jurisdiction.
Now pending are Defendants’ motions to dismiss the complaint in its entirety [ECF Nos.
8, 10, 18], which Okereke has opposed [ECF Nos. 14, 15, 19].
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a complaint can be
dismissed for, among other things, “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). To state a claim, a plaintiff must set forth (1) “a short and plain
statement of the grounds for the courts jurisdiction”; (2) “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief”; and (3) “a demand for the relief sought.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 8(a). When deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true the factual allegations
of the Complaint, draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff that are supported by
the factual allegations, and determines whether the complaint, so read, sets forth a claim for
recovery that is “plausible on its face.” Eldredge v. Town of Falmouth, 662 F.3d 100, 104 (1st
Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotation marks omitted)). “A
claim is facially plausible if supported by ‘factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.’” Id. (quoting Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678). A plaintiff’s complaint need not provide an exhaustive factual account, only a
short and plain statement. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Although detailed factual allegations are not
required, a pleading must set forth “more than labels and conclusions.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Legal conclusions couched as facts and “threadbare recitals
of the elements of a cause of action” will not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also Ocasio–
Hernandez v. Fortuno–Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). To avoid dismissal, a complaint
must set forth “factual allegations, either direct or inferential, respecting each material element
necessary to sustain recovery under some actionable legal theory.” Gagliardi v. Sullivan, 513
F.3d 301, 305 (1st Cir. 2008) (internal quotations and citation omitted). Further, the facts alleged,
when taken together, must be sufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
A.G. ex rel. Maddox v. Elsevier, Inc., 732 F.3d 77, 80 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570).
Because Plaintiff filed her Complaint pro se, the Court will construe her allegations
liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). A document filed by a pro se party
“must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Id. (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Nevertheless, pro se status does not insulate a party
from complying with procedural and substantive law. Ahmed v. Rosenblatt, 118 F.3d 886, 890
(1st Cir. 1997).
In the Defendants’ motions to dismiss and supporting memoranda, the Defendants each
argue that Okereke failed to state a plausible claim and also that she failed to comply with the
2012 Court Order1 enjoining her from filing any actions without first obtaining written approval.
The Court’s records indicate that Okereke has a history of filing groundless litigation and that,
in 2012, she was enjoined from filing any additional or new claims in this Court without first
obtaining the written approval of a judge of this Court. See Okereke v. Boston Police Hackney
Division, et al., C.A. No. 11-11626-RWZ (D. Mass. Sept. 19, 2012).
As an initial matter, the Complaint will not be dismissed on the basis of the 2012 Court
Order enjoining Okereke because Defendants removed the case from state court to this Court,
and thus Okereke did not file the action in this Court as should have been patently obvious to the
removing Defendants. As such, Okereke did not violate the 2012 Court Order.
Each Defendant argues that the Complaint consists of no more than a listing of labels and
conclusions and fails to provide any facts to support the required elements of any cause of action.
Each Defendant notes that the Complaint does not even assert a date or time frame during which
the alleged actions occurred. After reviewing Defendants’ motions and the supporting
memoranda along with Plaintiff’s oppositions, the Court finds that the Complaint cannot survive
the Defendants’ motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
The claims in the Complaint are asserted collectively against the Defendants and it is
virtually impossible to determine which causes of action are asserted against which specific
Defendants. The allegation on the first page of the Complaint that the “false arrest was a ploy for
money-making thus dubious medical billings” does not plausibly suggest that the Plaintiff is in
any way entitled to relief from any of the Defendants. As to the police, all that is alleged in the
Complaint is that that Plaintiff “was inside her car in Jamaica Plain area of Boston waiting to
pick her children from their school bus” and that she “was falsely arrested, kidnapped and
drugged [as a result of a conspiratorial agreement].” Compl. at 2. As to the hospitals, there is no
mention of Bournwood Hospital in the body of the Complaint and the only mention of BMC is
the simple statement that Plaintiff was transported to the BMC. Id. Nowhere does the Complaint
allege that either hospital or any of their individual employees acted negligently or otherwise
engaged in conduct giving rise to a cause of action. Okereke’s oppositions present no arguments
showing how the Defendants’ conduct gave rise to any causes of action. Instead, she asserts
repeatedly that she was falsely imprisoned in a conclusory fashion without factual allegations
tying the alleged false imprisonment to the Defendants’ conduct.
Even when viewed in the light most favorable to Okereke, the Court finds that the
Complaint cannot survive the Defendants’ motions to dismiss. Thus, this action will be
dismissed in its entirety. Okereke is reminded that the 2012 Court Order precludes her from
filing a notice of appeal without first obtaining the written approval of a judge of this Court.
Accordingly, Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss [ECF Nos. 8, 10, 18] for failure to state a
claim are GRANTED, and this action is DISMISSED in its entirety.
/s/ Allison D. Burroughs
Allison D. Burroughs
United States District Judge
Dated: January 24, 2017
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