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Shibeshi v. United States

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 1, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants

SHEWAFERAW S. SHIBESHI, Plaintiff, Pro se, Mifflin, PA.

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JAMES E. BOASBERG, United States District Judge.

Pro se Plaintiff Shewaferaw Shibeshi, a frequent litigant in assorted federal courts, has filed this opaque suit against 21 Defendants, including a dozen federal judges who have ruled against him in previous cases. Having already granted three separate motions to dismiss brought by six other Defendants, see ECF Nos. 35, 46, 52, the Court now grants the City University of New York's.

I. Background

Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint makes a few vague allegations about the City University of New York (CUNY). First, it is apparent that CUNY's involvement here relates to Plaintiff's prior " employment termination and unpaid wage claim against [it]" in the Southern District of New York. See Fourth Am. Compl., ¶ 6. He avers here that CUNY and others " defamed Plaintiff by causing preparation and publication of false statements that attacked his honor and reputation," id., ¶ ¶ 33-34; that it, with others, " conspired and denied Plaintiff protection of the law and avoided legal liability, id., ¶ 38; that it, with others, " conspired to interfere the proper function [ sic ] of U.S. District Court for District of Columbia in the instant case and delayed justice," id., ¶ 39; and that it, with others, was " involved in conspiracy and defamation acts established in cause of action three and four of this amended complaint." Id., ¶ 42. Plaintiff adds a discussion in an addendum to his latest Complaint of what he believes were erroneous trial court rulings in his suit against CUNY. See id., Addendum A.

CUNY has now moved for dismissal.

II. Legal Standard

To survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2), a plaintiff bears the " burden of establishing a factual basis for the [Court's] exercise of personal jurisdiction over the defendant." Crane v. New York Zoological Society, 894 F.2d 454, 456, 282 U.S. App. D.C. 295 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). To meet this burden, a plaintiff " must allege specific facts connecting the defendant with the forum." Capital Bank Int'l Ltd. v. Citigroup, Inc., 276 F.Supp.2d 72, 74 (D.D.C. 2003) (citing Second Amendment; Foundation v. U.S. Conference of Mayors, 274 F.3d 521, 524, 348 U.S. App. D.C. 238 (D.C. Cir. 2001)).

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In determining whether a basis for personal jurisdiction exists, " factual discrepancies appearing in the record must be resolved in favor of the plaintiff." Crane, 894 F.2d at 456 (citation omitted). Unlike with a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court " is free to consider relevant materials outside the pleadings" in deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction." United States v. Smithfield Foods, Inc., 332 F.Supp.2d 55, 59-60 (D.D.C. 2004).

Rule 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of an action where a complaint fails " to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." When the sufficiency of a complaint is challenged under Rule 12(b)(6), the factual allegations presented in it must be presumed true and should be liberally construed in plaintiff's favor. Leatherman v. Tarrant Cty. Narcotics & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 164, 113 S.Ct. 1160, 122 L.Ed.2d 517 (1993). The notice-pleading rules are " not meant to impose a great burden on a plaintiff," Dura Pharms., Inc. v. Broudo, 544 U.S. 336, 347, 125 S.Ct. 1627, 161 L.Ed.2d 577 (2005), and he or she must thus be given every favorable inference that may be drawn from the allegations of fact. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 584, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Although " detailed factual allegations" are not necessary to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, " a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Plaintiff must put forth " factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citation omitted). Though a plaintiff may survive a 12(b)(6) motion even if " 'recovery is very remote and unlikely,'" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974)), the facts alleged in the complaint " must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 555 (citation omitted).

III. Analysis

CUNY first argues that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over it. A court may exercise two forms of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant: general and specific. General jurisdiction exists where a nonresident defendant maintains sufficiently systematic and continuous contacts with the forum state, regardless of whether those contacts gave rise to the claim in the particular case. See Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414-15, 104 S.Ct. 1868, 80 L.Ed.2d 404 & n.9 (1984). " [B]ecause general jurisdiction is not related to the events giving rise to the suit, courts impose a more stringent minimum contacts test than for specific jurisdiction." Gorman v. Ameritrade Holding Corp., 293 F.3d 506, 510 n.2, 352 U.S. App. D.C. 229 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). As a result, " [u]nder the Due Process Clause, such general jurisdiction over a foreign corporation is only permissible if the defendant's business contacts with the forum are continuous and systematic." FC Inv. Group LC v. IFX Markets, Ltd., 529 F.3d 1087, 1091-92, 381 U.S. App. D.C. 383 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). In this case the ...

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