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Mendez v. The Geo Group, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

April 27, 2017

ALVARO MENDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
THE GEO GROUP, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant United States of America's motion to dismiss (Dkt. 43). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants in part and denies in part the motion for the reasons stated herein.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On October 4, 2016, Plaintiff Alvaro Mendez (“Mendez”) filed a Fourth Amended Complaint asserting claims for assault, battery, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Dkt. 37 (“FAC”).

         On February 23, 2017, the Government filed the instant motion to dismiss counts 1, 2, 4, and 5 for lack of jurisdiction. Dkt. 43. On March 13, 2017, Mendez responded. Dkt. 44. On March 16, 2017, the Government replied. Dkt. 45.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In March of 2015, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) identified Mendez as a person subject to deportation, and Mendez was subsequently placed in custody at the Northwest Detention Center. FAC ¶¶ 2.1-2.2. On June 10, 2015, Mendez alleges that Defendant Joseph Tucker, a guard at the center, assaulted him while he was waiting in line for religious services. Id. ¶¶ 2.6-2.10. Relevant to the instant motion, Mendez also alleges as follows:

Plaintiff was prevented from attending the religious service that day. On subsequent days, plaintiff did not attend his religious service due to intimidation and fear of being beaten again.
Is believed, and therefore alleged, that a substantial motivating factor for Defendant Tucker to violently shove Plaintiff was to prevent him from attending the Catholic church service.

Id. ¶¶ 2.11, 2.12.

         Based on this conduct Mendez asserts numerous claims, including the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. In relevant part, Mendez asserts as follows:

Defendants' acts of shoving and pushing/shoving Plaintiff, preventing plaintiff from attending church service, yelling derogatory language while Plaintiff was injured and suffering, doing this in front of all the other detainees, and not providing prompt medical treatment and/or delaying medical attention caused Plaintiff severe and extreme emotional distress.
Defendant Tucker and the other Defendants had a duty to provide a safe detainee environment. Defendant Tucker and the other defendants breached their duty by shoving and pushing/shoving Plaintiff, preventing Plaintiff from attending church service, yelling derogatory language while Plaintiff was injured and suffering, doing this in front of all the other detainees, and not providing prompt or delaying medical attention. As a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Tucker's and the other defendant's breach of their duty, Plaintiff has suffered extreme emotional distress and damages to be proven at trial. Defendant Tucker and the other defendants knew, or ...

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