United States District Court, D. Columbia.
For REMY ENTERPRISE GROUP LLC, MAKINI R. CHAKA, Plaintiffs: Patrice A. Sulton, SULTON LAW OFFICES, PLLC, Washington, DC.
For FREDERICK DAVIS, Defendant: William R. Martin, LEAD ATTORNEY, MARTIN & GITNER, PLLC, Washington, DC; Geoffrey Paul Gitner, MARTIN & GITNER PLLC, Washington, DC.
BERYL A. HOWELL, United States District Judge.
This tort action stems from an incident between one of the plaintiffs, Makini Chaka (" Chaka" ), and one  of the defendants, Frederick Davis, that occurred in a Washington, D.C. nightclub in January 2011. Pending before the Court is Defendant Davis' Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint, ECF No. 14, on the grounds of res judicata, statute of limitations, and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Since the Court finds the claims in the instant matter could have been raised in a separate Washington, D.C. Superior Court action between the instant parties that has proceeded to judgment, Defendant Davis' motion is granted.
Defendant Davis argues that all of the claims set forth in the instant matter could have been raised in a suit filed by Plaintiff Chaka against Defendant Davis in D.C. Superior Court. See Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss (" Def.'s Mem." ) at 2, ECF No. 14-1. It is therefore helpful to first describe the events on which both suits are based, before discussing the D.C. Superior Court case and the instant matter.
A. The Events In Question
Plaintiff Chaka is the sole member of Plaintiff Remy Enterprise Group, LLC (" Remy" ), which " engages in the business of arranging celebrity appearances at public and private events." Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 3-4. The plaintiffs' business model is predicated upon receiving portions of the appearance fees generated by the plaintiffs' clients, who are primarily professional athletes and entertainers. See id. ¶ 7. Plaintiff Chaka and Defendant Davis met in 2008 and occasionally attended events together until January 2010, when the two ceased speaking with each other. See id. ¶ ¶ 8-9, 12.
In January 2011, Plaintiff Chaka and Defendant Davis encountered each other at a Washington, D.C. nightclub. Id. ¶ 12. During the encounter, Plaintiff Chaka threw the contents of her drink into Defendant Davis' face after he grabbed her wrist. Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order (" FOF" ) ¶ 9, Chaka v. Davis, D.C. S.Ct. Case No. 2011 CA 190 B, ECF No. 17-1. Defendant Davis subsequently emptied a carafe of juice on Plaintiff Chaka's face and head and threw the carafe at Plaintiff Chaka, hitting her in the face. Id. ¶ ¶ 10-11. Plaintiff Chaka " suffered a cut and bruise to her lip from the impact of the carafe." Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiff Chaka " reported the incident to the police." Am. Compl. ¶ 12.
Plaintiff Chaka " cancelled 'somewhere between 8 to 10' contracts [for appearances with her clients] immediately following the incident," purportedly because her " 'face was still swollen,' . . . [meaning] she 'could not be out in public with'" her clients. FOF ¶ ¶ 17-18. The plaintiffs allege that immediately after the incident, " in January or February of 2011," Defendant Davis " began attacking [Plaintiff] Chaka's character," by stating she " and her business, [Plaintiff] Remy, were engaged in the business of procuring prostitutes for professional athletes." Am. Compl. ¶ 14. The plaintiffs deny the veracity of these statements. Id. ¶ 15. As a result of the " viral dissemination of the misinformation" allegedly stated by Defendant Davis to others, " tens of thousands of sports and celebrity-news enthusiasts" learned of the incident between 2011 and 2013. See id. ¶ ¶ 16-17. The plaintiffs allege that these statements caused them to " be held up to public ridicule and contempt, and deterred others from associating with them." Id. ¶ 20. The plaintiffs allege that as a result of these statements, the plaintiffs lost more than half their income. See id.
The plaintiffs further allege that in December 2012, Defendant Davis made comments to two nightclub promoters that caused the promoters to keep Plaintiff Chaka out of an event she had planned with a client. Id. ¶ 34. The plaintiffs allege that these comments resulted in the loss of payment for the December 2012 event, for which the plaintiffs were to be paid $1,000, and damaged the plaintiffs' ability to plan future events. Id.
B. The D.C. Superior Court Action
Plaintiff Chaka " filed a pro se Complaint on January 10, 2011, alleging claims for
'harassment' and 'personal injury'" but " at trial, Plaintiff [Chaka] proceeded solely on the tort of assault, and withdrew the harassment claim with prejudice." FOF at 1. The plaintiffs state that Plaintiff Chaka obtained a preliminary injunction " restraining [Defendant] Davis from [Plaintiff Chaka's] immediate presence" on February 11, 2011. Am. Compl. ¶ 12. Plaintiff Chaka sought damages consisting of medical expenses, compensatory damages, lost wages, damages for " pain and suffering, emotional distress, and inconvenience," punitive damages, and a permanent injunction ...