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Keely D. Parr v. Mashaallah Ebrahimian

March 31, 2011

KEELY D. PARR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MASHAALLAH EBRAHIMIAN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on two separate motions to dismiss, one filed by defendants Timothy Walker and the Walker Group, LLC ("the Walker Defendants"), and the other by defendants Mashaallah Ebrahamian and Rimcor, LLC ("the Rimcor Defendants"). After consideration of the parties' arguments, the relevant legal authorities, and the entire record in this case, the Court will grant both motions in part and deny them in part.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Keely D. Parr, proceeding pro se, alleges the following in her amended complaint: In 2006 defendant Rimcor, LLC, of which defendant Mashaallah Ebrahamian is the sole owner, Am. Compl. & 4, offered for sale a condominium located at 51 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W., No. 3, in Washington D.C. ("the Rhode Island Avenue condominium"). Id. & 10. The condominium was built in 2004 or 2005 when defendant Timothy Walker converted 51 Rhode Island Avenue, at that time a single-family dwelling, into a multi-unit condominium/ apartment building. Id. & 34. Mr. Walker then sold the building to Rimcor in 2005. Id. & 33. In violation of District of Columbia law, Rimcor never obtained a certificate of occupancy certifying that Rimcor was in compliance with all applicable District laws and was permitted to develop and market 51 Rhode Island Avenue as a multi-unit dwelling. Id. &33.

On October 23, 2006, Ms. Parr obtained a Public Offering Statement, prepared by Mr. Ebrahamian on behalf of Rimcor, issued in connection with the offering of the Rhode Island Avenue condominium for sale. Am. Compl. & 13. In that Statement Mr. Ebrahamian claimed, among other things, that "[a]ll renovation and alteration work" to the condominium "was and is being performed by [Mr. Ebrahimian] in accordance with applicable zoning ordinances, building codes, housing codes and similar laws affecting the Condominium, or as otherwise approved by District of Columbia housing inspectors." Id. & 13. The Statement purported to be accompanied by four exhibits, including an "engineer's report," but none of those exhibits was actually attached to the Statement. Id. & 14.

On October 25, 2006, Ms. Parr entered into a contract to purchase the Rhode Island Avenue condominium from Rimcor. Am. Compl. & 10. A few days later, an inspection of the condominium was conducted by Homes Are Us, Inc., at Ms. Parr's request. Id. & 16. The resulting inspection report warned, "'Side rails to circular stairs off balcony do not conform to current safety standards. Investigate to determine if units have been inspected by City. Major Safety Hazard.'" Id. A copy of the inspection report was sent to Mr. Ebrahimian, who subsequently assured Ms. Parr that "all inspection items had been complied with." Id. & 17. Mr. Ebrahimian, however, did not repair the balcony railing, nor did he arrange for the inspection of the condominium by an agent of the District of Columbia. Id. & 45(b).

Settlement of Ms. Parr's contract to purchase the Rhode Island Avenue condominium occurred on November 17, 2006, and Ms. Parr took possession of the property. Am. Compl. & 18. According to Ms. Parr, however, Rimcor did not actually hold title to the condominium on that date. Id. & 30. It is unclear from the complaint whether Rimcor is alleged to have subsequently acquired title and arranged its valid transfer to Ms. Parr.

In 2007, Ms. Parr made efforts to obtain various documents related to the construction and sale of her condominium. She obtained a copy of the building permit that allowed the conversion of 51 Rhode Island Avenue from a single-family dwelling into a multi-unit building. Am. Compl. & 34. Before that time, she allegedly was unaware that her condominium had been built during the conversion of a single-family residence, having assumed that "she was purchasing a condominium which existed as part of the original [structure located at 51 Rhode Island Avenue] circa 1901." Id. & 73.

Ms. Parr also acquired a copy of the "Engineer's Report" that was listed in the Public Offering Statement as an exhibit but was not actually attached to the Statement. Am. Compl. & 35. The Report states that it was prepared by the Walker Group, LLC, and purports to document the results of a "visual observation of readily accessible systems and components during a walk through of accessible areas" in the Rhode Island Avenue condominium. Id. & 36.

Ms. Parr filed a complaint in this Court against Timothy Walker, the Walker Group, LLC, Mashaallah Ebrahimian, and Rimcor, LLC, on September 26, 2007, and then filed an amended complaint on April 7, 2010. She alleges that the Rimcor Defendants are liable for breach of contract and breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, and that all defendants are liable for fraud, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of the District of Columbia Condominium Act, D.C. Code §§ 42-1901 et seq., and the Consumer Protection Procedures Act, D.C. Code §§ 28-3901, et seq.

II. DISCUSSION

Both the Walker Defendants and the Rimcor Defendants have moved to dismiss the claims against them pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In addition, Ms. Parr has filed a motion to strike as untimely the Walker Defendants' reply in support of their motion to dismiss. Because the Court concludes that the untimely filing of the Walker Defendants' reply has neither prejudiced Ms. Parr nor unduly inconvenienced the Court, the Court will deny Ms. Parr's motion and focus its analysis on the defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint.

A. Standard of Review

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows dismissal of a complaint if a plaintiff fails "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." FED. R. CIV. P.12(b)(6). In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), the Supreme Court noted that "Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests[.]'" Id. at 544 (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); see also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007); Aktieselskabet AF 21v. Fame Jeans Inc., 525 F.3d 8, 15 (D.C. Cir. 2008). Although "detailed factual allegations" are not necessary to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, to provide the "grounds" of "entitle[ment] to relief," a plaintiff must furnish "more than labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see also Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). The Court stated that there was no "probability requirement at the pleading stage," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, but "something beyond . . . mere possibility . . . must be alleged[.]" Id. at 557 The facts alleged in the complaint "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level," id. at 555, because Rule 8(a)(2) requires a "showing," rather than a "blanket assertion," of entitlement to relief. Id. at 555 n.3. The complaint must be sufficient "to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. The Court referred to this newly clarified standard as "the plausibility standard." Id. at 560 (abandoning the "no set of facts" language from Conley v. Gibson).

On a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court "must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94; see also Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The complaint "is construed liberally in the [plaintiff's] favor, and [the Court should] grant [the plaintiff] the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged." Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Nevertheless, the Court need not accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff if those inferences are unsupported by facts alleged in the complaint, nor must ...


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