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Majhor v. Kempthorne

October 30, 2007

RICHARD MAJHOR, PLAINTIFF
v.
DIRK KEMPTHORNE, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reggie B. Walton United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Richard Majhor, a United States citizen currently incarcerated at the Tafuna Correctional Facility in Pago Pago, American Samoa and the plaintiff in this civil suit, seeks declaratory and injunctive relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages against numerous defendants for their alleged "deliberate indifference and intentional, knowing, reckless and/or negligent deprivation of medical care and treatment to [the p]laintiff," Amended Verified Complaint for Injunction, Declaratory Judgment and Damages ¶ 2 (the "Amended Complaint" or "Am. Compl."), "in violation of rights guaranteed to him by the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. [§] 1983 [2000], inter alia," id. ¶ 45.*fn1 Currently before the Court is the plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction. After carefully considering the parties' pleadings,*fn2 the plaintiff's renewed motion, and all memoranda and exhibits relevant thereto,*fn3 the Court concludes that it must deny the plaintiff's renewed motion.

I. Background

The plaintiff is a "citizen of the United States who is and has been residing temporarily in the United States Territory of American Samoa at all times pertinent" to this case. Am. Compl. ¶ 5.*fn4 "American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States consisting of a cluster of small islands in the South Pacific." King v. Morton, 520 F.2d 1140, 1142 (D.C. Cir. 1975). The territory is governed by a constitution, which creates three independent branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) and contains a Bill of Rights. Rev. Const. Am. Samoa Art. I-V.

The executive branch of the American Samoa government consists of a governor and lieutenant governor, both of whom are popularly elected. Id. at Art. IV § 2. The judicial branch consists of a High Court, District Courts, and "such other courts as may from time to time be created by law." Id. at Art. III § 1. Decisions by the High Court can be appealed to an appellate division made up of the chief justice of the High Court, the associate chief justice, acting associate judges, and associate judges. Am. Samoa Code § 3.0220 (1981). The High Court is considered a "territorial court" under Article IV of the United States Constitution. See Meaamaile v. American Samoa, 550 F. Supp. 1227, 1235 (D. Haw. 1982) ("[t]he courts established for American Samoa are not Article III courts, but, rather, legislative courts" (emphasis in original)).

On February 16, 2006, the plaintiff was convicted by the High Court of murder in the first degree, felonious restraint, tampering with physical evidence, and property damage in the first degree. Am. Compl. ¶ 19. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for his first-degree murder conviction, seven years for his felonious restraint conviction to run concurrently with his life sentence, and terms of five years on each of his convictions for tampering with physical evidence and property damage to run concurrently with each other and consecutive to the plaintiff's other prison terms on May 18, 2006. Id. ¶ 20. The plaintiff's convictions are currently on appeal to the appellate division of the High Court. Id. ¶ 21.

The plaintiff asserts that, beginning on February 22, 2007, he has suffered "fainting episodes during which he has suffered loss of consciousness and physical injuries to his head." Id. ¶ 22. He claims that in March of 2007, he was treated by the former director of and staff physician at the LBJ Center, Dr. Iotamo T. Saleapaga, "who recommended that [the p]laintiff be provided neurological and cardiac evaluations that are not capable of being performed at [the] LBJ Center or elsewhere in American Samoa." Id. ¶ 25. Specifically, the plaintiff asserts that Dr. Saleapaga "recommended that [the p]laintiff receive neurological evaluations to include EEG, MRI[,] and [a]ngiograthy procedures, and cardiology evaluations that may include echocardiogram, Holter monitor and cardiac cathe[ter]ization procedures." Id. ¶ 28. Dr. Saleapaga memorialized his recommendations in a letter dated June 13, 2007. Id. ¶ 27; Seitz Aff. ¶ 5, Ex. A (Letter from Dr. Iotamo T. Saleapaga to Unnamed Recipient (June 13, 2007) (the "Saleapaga Letter")).

In support of the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, his attorney states that his office "immediately informed [d]efendant Mark R. Hales and representatives of the Attorney General and the Governor of American Samoa . . . about Dr. Saleapaga's recommendations." Seitz Aff. ¶ 4. When that approach to have the recommendations implemented proved unsuccessful, the plaintiff filed a motion for his emergency release with the High Court, id., Ex. B (Defendant-Appellant's Motion for Emergency Release, filed June 23, 2007), so that he could "travel directly to Hayward, California, and reside with his mother, Vicki Majhor," where he could receive the medical evaluations recommended by Dr. Saleapaga, id., Ex. B at Ex. 1 (Affidavit of Eric A. Seitz (the "Seitz Emergency Motion Affidavit")) ¶ 5(a). Following a hearing on the plaintiff's emergency motion on July 12, 2007, the plaintiff's attorney met with Fepuleai Afa Ì Ripley, the Attorney General for American Samoa, and "two of his deputies," Seitz Aff. ¶ 8, at the direction of the High Court, id. ¶ 7 & Ex. C at 2 (Follow-Up Order on Defendant's Medical Condition Determination (the "High Court Order")), after which the plaintiff's attorney "believed that these representatives understood the urgency of [the p]laintiff's situation," Seitz Aff. ¶ 8. The very next day, on July 13, 2007, the High Court directed Ripley "to oversee a complete and thorough investigation into [the d]efendant's present medical condition and needs for medical attention and treatment in order to properly determine whether or not [the p]laintiff . . . must arrange to provide [the d]efendant with necessary medical care outside of the Territory of American Samoa." High Court Order at 2.

The plaintiff's attorney further states that he requested assistance in effecting the transfer of the plaintiff from Terry Lovelace, general counsel for the LBJ Center, via facsimile communication on July 14, 2007, Seitz Aff. ¶ 9 & Ex. D (Facsimile from Eric A. Seitz, Esq. to Terry Lovelace, Esq. (July 14, 2007)), and again on July 23, 2007, id. ¶ 11 & Ex. E (Facsimile from Eric A. Seitz, Esq. to Terry Lovelace, Esq. (July 23, 2007)), without success, id. ¶ 12. After receiving a reply facsimile from Lovelace on July 24, 2007, in which Lovelace declined to discuss the plaintiff's medical condition but volunteered to "discuss LBJ Tropical Medical Center's Policy and Procedure for [O]ff-Island referrals," id., Ex. F (Facsimile from Terry Lovelace, Esq. to Eric A. Seitz, Esq. (July 24, 2007)), the plaintiff's attorney states that he sent a lengthy facsimile to Togiola Tulafono, the Governor of American Samoa, Seitz Aff. ¶ 13, in which he threatened to bring "a civil legal action in the United States District Court in Washington, D.C.," id., Ex. G (Facsimile from Eric A. Seitz, Esq. to the Honorable Togiola T. Tulafono (July 27, 2007)), for "not only injunctive relief but also general and punitive damages for the violations of [the plaintiff's] constitutional rights," id. The plaintiff's attorney claims that he sent another letter by facsimile that same day to Dr. Annie Fuavai, the chair of the Off-Island Referral Committee at the LBJ Center, in which he requested that the committee consider the plaintiff's request "on an expedited basis." Seitz Aff. ¶ 14 & Ex. H (Facsimile from Eric A. Seitz, Esq. to Dr. Annie Fuavai, Off-Island Referral Committee Chair, LBJ Tropical Medical Center (July 27, 2007)).

Sometime around August 10, 2007, the plaintiff's attorney conferred with Mark Hales, at that time an Assistant Attorney General for American Samoa, about a possible transfer for the plaintiff from American Samoa to Hawaii. Seitz Aff. ¶ 18; Hales Aff. ¶ 12.*fn5 According to the plaintiff's attorney, Hales indicated that Hawaii corrections officials were willing to house the plaintiff "contingent upon the necessary payment of expenses associated with the transfer and care that he would be provided in Hawaii," Seitz Aff. ¶ 19, and that "the process might be expedited" if the plaintiff would "pay for some of the transportation and medical costs," id. ¶ 20. Hales remembers this exchange somewhat differently: according to him, Seitz was told "that if the [p]laintiff was approved by the Off[-]Island Referral [Committee], the American Samoa Government would pay for all those costs," but that "if the [p]laintiff was not approved, the [p]laintiff would have to pay for all additional costs." Hales Aff. ¶ 12. Hales represents that he then added that "if the [p]laintiff wanted to pay for his off[-]island care now, he could leave as soon as transportation arrangement[s] could be made." Id.

The plaintiff's attorney states that he has been "informed that [the p]laintiff has continued to suffer fainting episodes and loss of consciousness" since the attorney's last conversation with Hales, Seitz Aff. ¶ 22, and further avers that the plaintiff "now is being denied his previously prescribed pain medications for pre-existing migraine and other neurological treatments in response to [the plaintiff's] efforts to ensure that [he] receives the basic medical care and treatment to which he is entitled under the United States Constitution," id. ¶ 23. Hales asserts that he has maintained regular contact with Lovelace, general counsel for the LBJ Center, since his August 10 conversation with the plaintiff's attorney. Hales Aff. ¶ 13. As told by Hales, "Lovelace . . . informed [the plaintiff's attorney] that [the plaintiff] has not properly applied to the Off[-]Island Referral Committee and needed to [do so] before any assessment could be made," but "that the [p]laintiff ha[d] still not properly applied to the Off[-]Island Referral Committee for medical assistance" as of September 25, 2007. Id.

The plaintiff initiated this lawsuit on August 13, 2007, for damages, declaratory and injunctive relief, and a writ of habeas corpus based on the defendants' alleged failure to provide necessary medical care and treatment to him. The plaintiff also filed a request for a temporary restraining order and a motion for a preliminary injunction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65. On August 24, 2007, the court entered an order denying the plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order and motion for a preliminary injunction and dismissed the plaintiff's habeas petition and complaint without prejudice sua sponte (the "Dismissal Order").

The plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the Dismissal Order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) on August 26, 2007. After carefully considering the arguments made in the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, the Court entered an order on August 29, 2007, granting in part and denying in part the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration (the "Reconsideration Order"). In its Reconsideration Order, the Court reinstated the plaintiff's non-habeas claims except insofar as the claims sought the plaintiff's release from incarceration based upon the reinstated claims. Reconsideration Order at 7. The Court also granted the plaintiff leave to file a renewed motion for a preliminary injunction, but denied his request to re-petition for a temporary restraining order. Id. at 7-8. In response to the Reconsideration Order, the plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint and his Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injunction on August 30, 2007.

The plaintiff argues that the defendants' conduct violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual" treatment and that he is "entitled to preliminary injunctive relief because his likelihood of success on the merits" of his § 1983 claim "is substantial." Pl. Mem. at 10-15. The plaintiff further contends that "the likelihood is great that [the p]laintiff will suffer irreparable injury, and perhaps even death, as a result of [the d]efendants' continued and deliberate indifference." Id. at 15-16. Injunctive relief is necessary at this stage in the case, he asserts, to "protect the rights, interests, and well-being of [the p]laintiff such that [the p]laintiff will be free from imminent injury and harm due to the failure of [the d]efendants to act . . . ." Id. at 16.

The defendants contend that the plaintiff's assertions that he has been denied medical care improperly are baseless, see Sec'y Opp'n at 9 ("there are no allegations from which it can be inferred that [the Secretary] was personally involved [in], or was even aware of, illegal conduct"); Am. Samoa Opp'n at 8-9 ("The [p]laintiff is provided weekly treatment at LBJ Tropical Medical Center, and at other times as necessary."); Hales Mot. at 3-6 ("Hales has aggressively sought assistance in providing off[-]island medical care."), and assert numerous jurisdictional defenses to the plaintiff's lawsuit, including, inter alia, sovereign immunity, Sec'y Opp'n at 8-9, failure to exhaust territorial remedies, id. at 7; Am. Samoa Opp'n at 5-8, lack of venue, Am. Samoa Opp'n at 4-5, and absolute immunity from suit under § 1983, id. at 10; Hales Mot. at 6-7. Both the Secretary and the American Samoa Defendants also contend that the plaintiff will suffer no irreparable injury if preliminary injunctive relief is denied. See Sec'y Opp'n at 10-11 ("there is no risk of immediate irreparable harm should the preliminary injunction not issue as to the federal defendant"); Am. Samoa Opp'n at 9-10 ("The [p]laintiff's [m]otion for [an] injunction should also be denied because the [p]laintiff is not threatened with any serious medical risks."). The Secretary notes that "independent medical evidence does not support [the plaintiff's] claim of urgency," Sec'y Opp'n at 10, while the American Samoa Defendants point out that "[t]hirteen separate doctors have treated the [p]laintiff[,] and all thirteen have not believed that he was a candidate to be referred to the Off-Island Referral Committee because the [p]laintiff's medical condition was not serious or life threatening," Am. Samoa Opp'n at 10.

The plaintiff has provided no response to the legal arguments made by the defendants. Instead, his attorney asserts in an additional affidavit that "from the medical records and information produced by the [d]efendants[] themselves, it appears that over a period of several months corrections officials repeatedly determined that [the plaintiff] was in need of medical treatment," Seitz Reply Aff. ¶ 5, that "when this lawsuit was filed, LBJ Tropical Medical Center terminated all care and medications for [the plaintiff] and has refused to see or treat him further," id. ¶ 5, and that the defendants "do not deny that [the plaintiff] requires all of the tests originally recommended by Dr. Saleopaga," id. ¶ 7. The plaintiff's attorney therefore contends that "it is evident from [the defendants'] pleadings that they have failed and refused to provide [the plaintiff] with the medical treatment and care that he requires." Id. ¶ 16. Under such circumstances, he posits that "there is no available remedy to seek that care for him other than by [the plaintiff's] current application to this Court for injunctive relief." Id.

II. Standard of Review

A preliminary injunction "is an extraordinary remedy that should be granted only when the party seeking the relief, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion." Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches v. England, 454 F.3d 290, 297 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (internal quotation and citation omitted). In deciding whether to grant preliminary injunctive relief, the Court "must examine whether (1) there is a substantial likelihood plaintiff will succeed on the merits; (2) plaintiff will be irreparably injured if an injunction is not granted; (3) an injunction will substantially injure the other party; and (4) the public interest will be furthered by the injunction." Ellipso, Inc. v. Mann, 480 F.3d 1153, 1157 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (internal quotation and citation omitted). The Court "must balance these factors, and if the arguments for one factor are particularly strong, an injunction may issue even if the arguments in other areas are rather weak." Id. (internal quotation and citation omitted). "Despite this flexibility, though, a movant must demonstrate at least some injury for a preliminary injunction to issue, . . . for 'the basis of injunctive relief in the federal courts has always been irreparable harm.'" Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, 454 F.3d at 297 (quoting Sampson v. Murray, 415 U.S. 61, 88 (1974) (quotation omitted)) (further internal quotation omitted).

"A movant's failure to show any irreparable harm is therefore grounds for refusing to issue a preliminary injunction, even if the other three factors entering the calculus merit such relief." Id. (citation omitted). Nevertheless, even if a district court concludes that a party seeking preliminary injunctive relief cannot demonstrate irreparable injury, the District of Columbia Circuit has instructed that it should address all of the factors set forth above because "[i]t is of the highest importance to a proper review of the action of a court in granting or refusing a preliminary injunction that there should be fair compliance with [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52]." Id. at 304-05. This rule requires a court considering an application for preliminary injunctive relief to "set forth the findings of fact and conclusions of law which constitute the grounds of its action." Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a).

III. Legal Analysis

Pursuant to Rule 52(a), this Court must assess the merit of the plaintiff's request for preliminary injunctive relief with respect to each of the factors delineated by the District of Columbia Circuit. As set forth more fully below, the Court concludes that each of these factors weighs against the entry of a preliminary injunction against the defendants. The plaintiff's renewed motion must therefore be denied.

A. Likelihood of Success on the Merits

"It is particularly important for the movant to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success on the merits," Hubbard v. United States, 496 F. Supp. 2d 194, 198 (D.D.C. 2007) (citation omitted), for "absent a substantial indication of likely success on the merits, there would be no justification for the [C]court's intrusion into the ordinary processes of administration and judicial review," id. (internal quotation and citation omitted). The plaintiff argues that such an "intrusion" is warranted in this case because the defendants have violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from "cruel and unusual" punishment by denying him access to necessary medical care. Pl. Mem. at 10-15. Citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994), and Anderson-Bey v. District of Columbia, 466 F. Supp. 2d 51 (D.D.C. 2006), he argues that "the failure of [the d]efendants to provide basic medical evaluations is 'sufficiently serious' to expose [the p]laintiff to 'substantial risk[s] of harm,'" Pl. Mem. at 11 (citing Anderson-Bey, 466 F. Supp. 2d at 61 (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834)), and that the defendants "clearly have acted with 'deliberate indifference' to [the p]laintiff's health and safety," id. at 12, thus violating his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

The defendants argue that the plaintiff cannot succeed on the merits of his Eighth Amendment claim for numerous reasons. The Secretary argues that the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to hear this case, Sec'y Opp'n at 6, that "the controversy is not ripe" because the plaintiff "is required to exhaust his local remedies before proceeding in federal court," id. at 7, that the plaintiff's claim should be dismissed against him pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 if the other defendants in this case "cannot be made parties due to lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, or lack of subject matter jurisdiction," id. at 7-8, that the Secretary cannot be sued under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), on a theory of respondeat superior liability, id. at 8, and that the plaintiff's "suit cannot be maintained against [the Secretary] in his individual capacity" because "there are no allegations [in the Amended Complaint] from which it can be inferred that [the Secretary] was personally involved, or was even aware of, illegal conduct," id. at 9. The Secretary also asserts that the Court should abstain from "affecting an on-going criminal proceeding in a state court" under the Supreme Court's rulings in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), and Douglas v. City of Jeannette, 319 U.S. 157 (1943), id. at 11-13, that the Secretary would be harmed by any injunctive relief granted by the Court because he "has an interest in promoting the self-governance of the people of American Samoa and in ensuring that the provisions implemented for local governance by the Samoan people are given the proper deference and upheld," id. at 13, and that "the public will not benefit if litigants in American Samoa are routinely permitted to seek judicial review by Article III [c]courts of decisions made by an Art[icle] IV [c]court," id. at 13-14.

The American Samoa Defendants argue that this Court "is not the most convenient forum" for the litigation of this case, Am. Samoa Opp'n at 4-5, that the plaintiff has "failed to exhaust all remedies within American Samoa [j]urisdiction," id. at 5-6, and that "[the p]laintiff is not being refused any medical care or medical treatment available on [the] island" as a factual matter, id. at 8. They further argue that "[t]erritorial employees are not 'persons' under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and 'therefore [are] not exposed to [section] 1983 liability,'" id. at 10 (quoting Ngiraingas v. Sanchez, 495 U.S. 182, 192 (1990)), that "governmental employees" of American Samoa "are individually protected and immune from suit" under American Samoa and federal law "if they acted within the[ir official] capacity and authority," id. (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2680(a); Am. Samoa Code § 43.1203(b)(1)(2)(4)), that the plaintiff's attorney "has dirty hands," id. at 10-11, and that the Court "cannot by injunctive process control or direct a head of an executive department in the discharging of any constitutional executive duty involving the exercise of judgment or discretion," id. at 11 (citing Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan, 293 U.S. 388 (1935)). Defendant Hales argues separately that he "is an Assistant Attorney General with limited duties and powers," Hales Mot. at 6, who "cannot order the [p]laintiff to be given medical care," id., "cannot order the [g]overnment to pay for off[-]island medical care," id., and "is only listed on this complaint because he handled the [p]laintiff's appeal before the High Court of American Samoa and opposed [the p]laintiff's improper request for off[-]island care," id.*fn6

For the reasons set forth in greater detail below, the Court agrees with the defendants that the plaintiff is highly unlikely to succeed on the merits of his claim. Success is unlikely because the Court cannot entertain a suit against the American Samoa and LBJ Center Defendants in their official capacities under § 1983, and the Court cannot fathom any basis for exercising personal jurisdiction over these defendants in their individual capacities. However, even if the Court could consider the defendant's suit insofar as it seeks damages against these defendants, it is highly unlikely that the plaintiff will be able to demonstrate a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. As for the plaintiff's suit against the Secretary, the only relief that the Court could possibly direct at him to address the objectives sought by the plaintiff would be in the form of a mandamus, but the plaintiff has not demonstrated grounds for this extreme form of relief. In any event, the Court would probably dismiss this case even if these problems did not exist under traditional doctrines of abstention.

1. The American Samoa and LBJ Center Defendants

As a threshold matter, the American Samoa Defendants argue that they are absolutely immune from suit under § 1983 because they are not "persons" within the meaning of that statute. Am. Samoa Opp'n at 10; Hales Mot. at 6. They are half-right. In Ngiraingas v. Sanchez, 495 U.S. 182 (1990), the Supreme Court considered whether the Territory of Guam was a "person" within the meaning of § 1983, which provides that "[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any . . . Territory . . . , subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured." (Emphasis added.) After scrutinizing the statute's "language and purpose," Ngiraingas, 495 U.S. at 186, the Supreme Court found that "§ 1983's history uncovers no sign that Congress was thinking of Territories when it enacted the statute over a century ago in 1871," id. at 187, and that "the successive enactments of the statute, in context, further reveal the lack of any intent on the part of Congress to include Territories as persons," id. at 189. The Supreme Court therefore concluded that "Congress did not intend to include Territories as persons who would be liable under § 1983." Id. at 192.

Like Guam, America Samoa is a United States territory, King, 520 F.2d at 1142, and therefore not a "person" within the meaning of § 1983. Further, "if [American Samoa] is not a person, neither are its officers acting in their official capacity." Ngiraingas, 495 U.S. at 192. But this does not mean that American Samoa officials cannot be sued in their individual capacities if they violate the constitutional rights of another while acting under color of territorial law. Plainly, the language of § 1983 encompasses such individuals. See id. at 190-91 (recognizing that in 1874 Congress amended § 1983 to provide that "a person acting under color of territorial law [could] be held liable under that statute"). Thus, the American Samoa Defendants are right to suggest that they (and the LBJ Center Defendants, to the extent that they could act in any official capacity) are immune from suit under § 1983 in their official capacities, but they are wrong to think that this immunity insulates them from the statute's reach altogether.

Nevertheless, there are other, seemingly insuperable hurdles to the plaintiff's suit against the American Samoa and LBJ Center defendants in their individual capacities, the first of which is the Court's apparent lack of personal jurisdiction over all of the American Samoa and LBJ Center Defendants except Hales. Personal jurisdiction "is an essential element of district court jurisdiction of a district court, without which the court is powerless to proceed to an adjudication." Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 584 (1999). "[B]efore a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant, there must be more than notice to the defendant . . . ." Omni Capital Int'l, Ltd. v. Rudolf Wolff & Co., 484 U.S. 97, 104 (1987). There must also be "a sufficient connection between the defendant and the forum State to make it fair to require defense of the action in the forum." Kulko v. Super. Ct. of California in and for City of San Francisco, 436 U.S. 84, 91 (1978).

The "traditional approach" followed by courts in this Circuit to determine whether there is a sufficient connection between the defendants to a suit and the forum in which the suit is brought is to "ask[] first whether there [is] an applicable long-arm statute that would authorize service on the defendants, and then whether the application of such a statute would comply with the demands of due process." Mwani v. bin Laden, 417 F.3d 1, 8 (D.C. Cir. 2005). This latter requirement places the onus on the plaintiff to demonstrate that there are "'minimum contacts' between the defendant and the forum establishing that 'the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" GTE New Media Servs. Inc. v. BellSouth Corp., 199 F.3d 1343, 1347 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (internal quotation omitted)). "Under the 'minimum contacts' standard, courts must insure that 'the defendant's conduct and connection with the forum State are such that he should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.'" Id. (quoting World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980)).

Here, the plaintiff cannot satisfy the first requirement to establish personal jurisdiction, let alone the second. The District of Columbia's long-arm statute applies in this case due to the absence of any federal long-arm statute. See, e.g., Ibrahim v. District of Columbia, 357 F. Supp. 2d 187, 192-93 (D.D.C. 2004) (determining whether personal jurisdiction exists over defendants outside the forum in which the underlying suit was commenced in ยง 1983 suit under District of Columbia ...


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