United States District Court, District of Columbia
February 24, 2014
LANDMARK HEALTH SOLUTIONS, LLC, Plaintiff and Counter-Defendant,
NOT FOR PROFIT HOSPITAL CORPORATION, et al., Defendant and Counter-Claimant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS SUPPLEMENTAL COMPLAINT Re Document No. 32
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, District Judge.
The factual background of this case is set forth in an earlier Memorandum Opinion ("Mem. Op."), ECF No. 27. In that opinion, this Court found that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over this case due to Plaintiff's failure to obtain a certificate of registration from the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs ("DCRA") before filing its initial complaint, as required by the District of Columbia's door-closing statute, D.C. Code § 29-105.02. See Mem. Op. 5-9. However, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to file a supplemental complaint within 30 days to properly allege jurisdiction. See id. at 6-7. Plaintiff then filed a supplemental complaint that contained the updated allegations, including a statement that it had registered its trade name and status as a foreign corporation with the DCRA. See Am. Compl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 28. Defendant then moved to dismiss the supplemental complaint on the grounds that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(d) does not permit a plaintiff to cure a jurisdictional defect arising under D.C. Code § 29-105.02 with a supplemental pleading. See Def.'s Mem. P. & A. Supp. Mot. Dismiss Suppl. Compl., ECF No. 32-1.
Defendant notes that the Court did not cite any precedent from the D.C. Circuit addressing the circumstances under which a Rule 15(d) supplemental pleading can cure a subject matter jurisdiction deficiency. While that is true, the case that this Court did cite itself referenced a Supreme Court case on point. See Prasco, LLC v. Medicis Pharm. Corp., 537 F.3d 1329, 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (citing Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. 67, 75 (1976)). In Mathews, the Supreme Court held that satisfaction of a jurisdictional condition and the filing of a supplemental complaint during the pendency of litigation may cure a jurisdictional defect. See Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. 67, 75 (1976).
Defendant points to Central Pines Land Co. v. United States, 697 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2012), as articulating a distinction between statutory requirements that are merely a "prerequisite to filing" and those which contain an "express prohibition against filing suit, " id. at 1365-66. Defendant argues that the door-closing statute falls into the latter category, and thus suggests that the Court erred in allowing Plaintiff to file a supplemental complaint. But the door-closing statute falls into the former category for reasons discussed in the Court's original opinion. See Mem. Op. at 6-7 (citing York & York Const. Co. v. Alexander, 296 A.2d 710, 713-14 (D.C. 1972)). As the D.C. Court of Appeals itself has held, the requirements of corporate registration are not intended to "deprive a[n unregistered] corporation of access to the courts, but only to force the corporations to pay whatever fees, taxes, or other financial obligations are owing to the body politic." York & York Const. Co. v. Alexander, 296 A.2d 710, 714 (D.C. 1972). The court's analysis of the purpose behind D.C.'s corporate registration requirements sits in stark contrast to the issue in Central Pines Land Co., relied upon by Defendant, in which the Federal Circuit found that 28 U.S.C. § 1500 bars the Court of Federal Claims from retroactively obtaining jurisdiction over a claim also filed in a district court after the co-pending district court action is final. See Central Pines Land Co., 697 F.3d at 1367. Landmark is now registered with the DCRA; it has paid its dues to the sovereign, as is the District's goal. It has filed a supplemental complaint that properly alleges this Court's jurisdiction. That is sufficient.
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's motion to dismiss the supplemental complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is DENIED.
It is FURTHER ORDERED that a status conference is set for March 24, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 14. On or before March 17, 2014, the parties shall file a joint status report that (1) contains a proposed schedule to govern further proceedings, and (2) sets forth the parties' understanding as to what, if any,  issues raised in Defendant's motion to dismiss or for summary judgment (ECF No. 14) remain unresolved after the Court's memoranda and orders issued in this case (ECF Nos. 26-27, 34).