Plaintiff Donald E. Wilson, who is proceeding pro se, brought this lawsuit against Barack H. Obama, the President of the United States (the "defendant"), and an individual named Patrick Knepp ("Defendant Knepp"), who has neither appeared nor been served in this action. The plaintiff alleges that "Barack Obama and some of his cohorts" interrogated him on August 15, 2009 regarding "military information concerning [his] past obligation to the submarine fleet." Complaint, Statement of Claim. According to the plaintiff, this interrogation was a "violation of Nation[al] Security" that led the plaintiff's landlord to evict him from his apartment in North Carolina. Id. The defendant has moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) and 12(b)(6). For the reasons explained below, the defendant's motion to dismiss is granted and the Court will also dismiss the complaint against Defendant Knepp.
I.Factual and Procedural Background
The plaintiff originally filed this suit in the Small Claims Branch of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia to recover $5,000 in hotel expenses resulting from his alleged eviction. ECF No. 1. The defendant removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1). Id.
The plaintiff's complaint, in its "Statement of Claim," alleges as follows:
On or about 15 Aug. 2009 Barack Obama and some of his cohorts interrogated me about military information concerning my past obligation to the submarine fleet. Prior to this my Landlord and I discussed some topics . . . that he felt a violation of Nation Security which Resulted in my landlord evicting me premateurly against the Fair Housing Act (i.e. 30 day Notice) I'm handicapped disabled veteran who had to spend over $2000 in a hotel after eviction and 3 months in a homeless shelter to save for the apt. Im currently residing. which was National Security Viol. [sic]
Id. Elsewhere on the Superior Court Small Claims Branch paperwork, the plaintiff stated his claim as follows: "On about 15 Aug 2009 I was questioned by Barack Obama, [several other people], and ex-military submariner of USS Daniel Boone SSBN Patrick Knepp regarding Info. Violating Nat'l Security causing me eviction." Id. On the Superior Court Small Claims Branch Information Sheet, the plaintiff checked the "Negligence" box under "Personal Torts" to indicate the nature of his claim. Id. The complaint requested damages in the amount of $5,000. Id. The plaintiff also attached various hotel receipts and a letter from a homeless shelter in Raleigh, North Carolina confirming that the plaintiff stayed there for several months in late 2009. Id.
On October 4, 2010, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rules 12(b)(3) and 12(b)(6).
Patrick Knepp, the other named defendant, has not appeared in this action. The complaint lists Defendant Knepp's address as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. -- i.e., the address of the White House. The plaintiff has filed a certified mail receipt indicating that the complaint was mailed to Mr. Knepp at that address. Counsel for the President have noted that they do not represent Mr. Knepp in this action and that he neither resides nor works at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., in Washington, D.C. Fed. Def.'s Mem. at 2 n.3. The President's counsel have also explained that a person named Patrick Knepp was once an employee of the Department of the Navy, but ceased to be a federal employee prior to the events alleged in the complaint. Id.
On February 7, 2011, the Court entered an Order advising the plaintiff of his obligation to respond to the motion to dismiss. ECF No. 5. Consistent with Fox v. Strickland, 837 F.2d 507, 509 (D.C. Cir. 1988) and Neal v. Kelly 963 F.2d 453, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1992), the Court's order advised the plaintiff of the rules governing the consideration of dispositive motions and warned the plaintiff that his complaint could be dismissed by the Court if he failed to respond. The Court ordered the plaintiff to respond to the motion to dismiss by March 11, 2011. The Court mailed a copy of its Order to the plaintiff's address of record.
The plaintiff has not responded to the motion to dismiss. That motion is now before the Court.
A.12(b)(6) -- Failure to State a Claim for Relief
To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff need only plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face" and to "nudge[ ] [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). "[A] complaint [does not] suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Instead, the complaint must plead facts that are more than "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability; "the plaintiff [must plead] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct ...