Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Poku v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

November 23, 2010

KWAKU ATTA POKU PLAINTIFF,
v.
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John D. Bates United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Kwaku Atta Poku ("Plaintiff") brings this action against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") seeking compensatory damages for the alleged wrongful foreclosure of his home and for relief on other related claims. The FDIC moves to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and improper venue, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(3), because plaintiff has a pending case involving substantially the same claims and the same subject matter against the FDIC in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The Court finds that it has subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's claims and that venue is proper; however, in the interest of comity and judicial economy, the Court will grant the FDIC's motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 ("FIRREA") was enacted in response to the savings and loan crisis and, among other provisions, it granted FDIC the authority to act as a receiver for failed financial institutions and preserve, manage, and liquidate the failed institutions' assets as appropriate. See Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, Pub. L. No. 101-73, 103 Stat. 183 (1989); 12 U.S.C. §§ 1821(d)(2). Once the FDIC is appointed receiver, a claimant must submit all claims it originally had against the failed institution to the FDIC to review. 12 U.S.C. § 1821(d)(6).

On December 31, 2007, plaintiff filed an action in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland, against Washington Mutual Bank and Washington Mutual Home Loans ("WAMU"), Stewart Title Guaranty Company, Advance Settlement Agency, Inc., and other foreclosure trustees. Def.'s Mem. in Support of Mot. to Dismiss ("Def.'s Mem.") at 2. Plaintiff alleged that WAMU, among others, wrongfully foreclosed his home when a loan he obtained was not properly applied to his mortgage. Pl.'s Opp. to Mot. to Dismiss ("Pl.'s Opp.") at 1-2.

On May 8, 2008, the action was removed to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ("District of Maryland"). Id. WAMU subsequently failed, and on September 25, 2008, the FDIC was appointed receiver for the failed institution. Id. The FDIC, as receiver, assumed all rights, titles, power, and privileges of WAMU. 12 U.S.C. § 1821.

On January 15, 2009, the FDIC replaced WAMU in the Maryland case. Def.'s Mem. at 2. The District of Maryland imposed a mandatory 90-day stay and, by consent, stayed the action until December 25, 2009. Id. In the interim, as required by 12 U.S.C. § 1821(d)(6), plaintiff filed an administrative claim with the FDIC, which was rejected on November 4, 2009. Id. On December 1, 2009, plaintiff filed a motion to lift the stay and allow the action to proceed, which was granted on January 7, 2010. Id. On December 29, 2009, while his motion was pending, plaintiff filed this complaint in this Court. Id. Plaintiff brings essentially the same claims he brought in the District of Maryland but argues that the District of Maryland cannot exercise jurisdiction over his claims against the FDIC.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under Rule 12(b)(1), the party seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court --plaintiffs here -- bears the burden of establishing that the court has jurisdiction. See US Ecology, Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of Interior, 231 F.3d 20, 24 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (citing Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 103-04 (1998)); see also Grand Lodge of Fraternal Order of Police v. Ashcroft, 185 F. Supp. 2d 9, 13 (D.D.C. 2001) ("[A] Rule 12(b)(1) motion imposes on the court an affirmative obligation to ensure that it is acting within the scope of its jurisdictional authority."); Pitney Bowes, Inc. v. U.S. Postal Serv., 27 F. Supp. 2d 15, 19 (D.D.C. 1998). Although a court must accept as true all the factual allegations contained in the complaint when reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), Leatherman v. Tarrant Cnty. Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 164 (1993), "'plaintiff[s'] factual allegations in the complaint . . . will bear closer scrutiny in resolving a 12(b)(1) motion' than in resolving a 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim." Grand Lodge, 185 F. Supp. 2d at 13-14 (quoting 5A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1350 (2d ed. 1990)). At the stage of litigation when dismissal is sought, a plaintiff's complaint must be construed liberally, and the plaintiff should receive the benefit of all favorable inferences that can be drawn from the alleged facts. See EEOC v. St. Francis Xavier Parochial Sch., 117 F.3d 621, 624 (D.C. Cir. 1997). Additionally, a court may consider material other than the allegations of the complaint in determining whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case, as long as it still accepts the factual allegations in the complaint as true. See Jerome Stevens Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. FDA, 402 F.3d 1249, 1253-54 (D.C. Cir. 2005); St. Francis Xavier Parochial Sch., 117 F.3d at 624-25 n.3; Herbert v. Nat'l Acad. of Scis., 974 F.2d 192, 197 (D.C. Cir.1992).

Rule 12(b)(3) instructs the court to dismiss or transfer a case if venue is improper or inconvenient in the plaintiff's chosen forum. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(3). When federal jurisdiction is premised on diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a) controls venue, establishing three places where venue is proper:

(1) a judicial district where any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in the same State, (2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated, or (3) a judicial district in which any defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction at the time the action is commenced, if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be brought.

If the district in which the action is brought does not meet the requirements of section 1391(a), then that district court may either dismiss, "or if it be in the interests of justice, transfer such case to any district or division in which it could have been brought." 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). The decision whether dismissal or transfer is "in the interests of justice" is committed to the sound discretion of the district court. Naartex Consulting Corp., 722 F.2d at 789. Generally, the interests of justice require transferring such cases to the appropriate judicial district rather than dismissing them. Goldlawr, Inc. v. Heiman, 369 U.S. 463, 466- 67 (1962); James v. Booz-Allen, 227 F.Supp.2d 16, 20 (D.D.C. 2002).

To transfer a case, the transferor court must find that the intended transferee court is one in which the plaintiff could have originally brought the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). While the D.C. Circuit does not appear to have addressed the meaning of the phrase "in which an action could have been brought," the phrase has been interpreted to mean that the transferee court must have both personal jurisdiction and venue. Id.; 17 FED. PRAC. & PROC. § 3827; 17 MOORE'S FED. PRAC., § 111.33[1] (citing Minnette v. Time Warner, 997 F.2d 1023, 1026 (2d Cir. 1993) (observing that the district court properly denied transfer to a district in which venue was ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.