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Moaz v. City & County of Denver

United States District Court, D. Colorado

December 14, 2017

WALID MOAZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY & COUNTY OF DENVER; DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT; and DENVER POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

          Marcia S. Krieger Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court pursuant to the Defendants' (collectively, “Denver”) Motion to Dismiss (# 49), and Mr. Moaz's response (# 61).

         FACTS

         According to Mr. Moaz's[1] Amended Complaint (# 23), Mr. Moaz is a Colorado resident of Egyptian descent. He is employed as a limousine driver. His pleading is somewhat disorganized and difficult to follow, but as best the Court can determine, it recites the following events:

• On an unspecified date, Mr. Moaz “reported threats to [the Denver] Police which had been made against him.” In response, the police charged Mr. Moaz with making a false complaint and did not charge the person who threatened him. Docket # 23, ¶ 15. This allegation may or may not be related to an incident on October 11, 2015, in which Greg Gustin, a Ground Transportation Agent (possibly at Defendant Denver International Airport, or “DIA”), told Mr. Moaz “I wish I can shoot you people.” ¶ 19. It may or may not also be related to an incident on June 16, 2016, in which Mr. Moaz “called police after receiving threats against Andy Ansere, ” and that thereafter, he was “ticketed for not following rule of [the] airport.” ¶ 44.
• On an unspecified date, while picking up a client at DIA, Mr. Moaz “was arrested on allegations of threats towards another but was eventually released.” ¶ 16. It is not clear whether this event is the same as an incident on August 30, 2016, when Mr. Moaz “was arrested for alleged threat to another.” ¶ 43.
• On two occasions, Mr. Moaz's prayer rug was “thrown into the trash while [Mr. Moaz] was at DIA.” ¶ 17. The Amended Complaint alleges that, on at least one occasion, an individual named Thomas Berzinskas was the perpetrator, but does not identify Mr. Berzinskas' title. ¶ 75. Mr. Berzinskas referred to the rug as a “magic carpet” in front of others.
• On four separate occasions (all unspecified), Denver police cited Mr. Moaz for “solicitation, ” based on complaints from Ground Transfer Agents. ¶ 18.
• In September 2016, an unspecified entity cited Mr. Moaz for 15 violations of the Denver Municipal Airport System's Rules and Regulations. Mr. Moaz appealed that citation and 7 of the violations were dismissed. Mr. Moaz was apparently found guilty of the remaining 8 citations and was suspended from working at DIA for a period of 90 days. ¶ 20, 45.

         As to each of these contentions, Mr. Moaz alleges that they constitute discrimination on the basis of his national origin and/or race in violation of the rights secured by the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, thereby giving rise to a cause of action against Denver under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, § 1983, and § 1985[2].

         Mr. Moaz further alleges:

• During an unspecified time period, Mr. Moaz “had been having problems with DIA Ground Transportation” agents, who would “follow[ ] him around at the airport, constantly checking his entry passes and interrogating [him] and his clients.” Mr. Moaz complained of this treatment to an individual named Mike Percy, apparently the Ground Transportation Manager at DIA, informing Mr. Percy that Mr. Moaz would file a lawsuit if the behavior did not cease. Mr.

         Moaz alleges that, thereafter, he has “received numerous tickets for solicitation, threats, and use of foul language from the Police and DIA.” ¶ 40-42.

         Based on this contention, and the June 2015 incident involving Mr. Ansere, Mr. Moaz alleges that Denver has retaliated against him for the exercise of rights secured by the First Amendment to the U.S Constitution, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 42 U.S.C. § 12203 (prohibiting discrimination ...


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