United States District Court, D. Columbia
EUGENE WATSON, Plaintiff, Pro se, Accokeek, MD.
KYLE CORBERT, TAKISHA WILLIAMS, CRYSTAL JOY-LEWIS PIERRE,
CHRIS HEINICHEN, Defendants: James Robert Billings-Kang, LEAD
ATTORNEY, BLANK ROME, LLP, Washington, DC.
LINDA M. BELL, NANCY L. ORING, Defendants: Ira L. Oring, LEAD
ATTORNEY, Jay Abarbanel, FEDDER & GARTEN PROFESSIONAL
ASSOCIATION, Baltimore, MD.
E. BOASBERG, United States District Judge.
Pro se Plaintiff Ronald Watson has filed this
largely incomprehensible suit against approximately 25
Defendants arising out of the foreclosure of his residential
property. Among the many defects in his Amended Complaint
that Defendants' several Motions to Dismiss point out is
Watson's failure to sufficiently make out any federal
claim. As the Court therefore lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction over any purported state causes of action, it
will dismiss the case without prejudice. If he so chooses,
Plaintiff may refile in the appropriate state court and
pursue his theories there.
filed his initial Complaint in this matter on July 21, 2015.
He opaquely entitled it " Complaint: Objection for Lack
of Ratification of Commencement." Compl. at 1. The
pleading names 22 Defendants and alludes to Plaintiff's
being a " living, breathing, natural born, free man on
the soil, Sovereign American, sui juris, per Title 4
U.S. Code § 8 (j). The flag represents a living country
and is itself considered a living thing." Id.
at 2. The cursory Complaint alleges no cause of action
whatsoever, but attaches documents as exhibits that reference
a residential foreclosure. The Court thus assumes this is the
grievance that drives the suit.
by such a Complaint, the Court, in a July 27, 2015, Minute
Order sua sponte ordered Watson to show cause why
the case should not be dismissed for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction. Apparently crossing in the mail was his First
Amended Complaint, docketed the next day, which added four
other Defendants, but nothing of substance as far as
allegations. See ECF No. 4. On August 14, 2015, "
Plaintiff's Reply to Support Jurisdiction" was
docketed, which stated, " This case involves the illegal
act of foreclosure under the RICO [Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations] Act, by Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC,
Judge Toni E. Clarke of Prince George's County Maryland
Civil Division, various attorneys and other cohorts, on my
personal property located at 15021 Fort Trail, Accoceek, MD
20607." Id. at 8. This pleading then proceeded
to cut and paste various quotes from federal criminal
statutes. See id. at 9-11.
believing discretion to be the better part of valor, the
Court issued another Minute Order on August 24, 2015,
indicating that it was loath to dismiss sua sponte
and inviting Defendants to move to dismiss. A number of them
have now done so. See ECF Nos. 8, 11, 13.
Rule of Civil Procedure 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). Although 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 " detailed factual
allegations" are not necessary to withstand a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), "
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) (internal quotation
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. Though a plaintiff may survive a 12(b)(6) motion
even if " recovery is very remote and unlikely,"
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556 (citing 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.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), Plaintiff
bears the burden of proving that the Court has subject-matter
jurisdiction to hear his claims. See Lujan v. Defenders
of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119
L.Ed.2d 351 (1992); U.S. Ecology, Inc. v. United States
DOI, 231 F.3d 20, 24, 343 U.S.App.D.C. 386 (D.C. Cir.
2000). A court has an " affirmative obligation to ensure
that it is acting within the scope of its jurisdictional
authority." Grand Lodge of Fraternal Order of Police
v. Ashcroft, 185 F.Supp.2d 9, 13 (D.D.C. 2001). For this
reason, " 'the [p]laintiff's factual allegations
in the complaint . . . will bear closer scrutiny in resolving
a 12(b)(1) motion' than in resolving a 12(b)(6) motion
for failure to state a claim." Id. at 13-14
(quoting 5A Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal
Practice and Procedure § 1350 (2d ed. 1987) (alteration
in original)). Additionally, unlike with a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court " may consider materials
outside the pleadings in deciding whether to grant a motion
to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction." Jerome Stevens
Pharms., Inc. v. FDA, 402 F.3d 1249, 1253, 365
U.S.App.D.C. 270 (D.C. Cir. 2005); see also Venetian
Casino Resort, L.L.C. v. E.E.O.C., 409 F.3d 359, 366,
366 U.S.App.D.C. 89 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (" given the
present posture of this case -- a dismissal under Rule
12(b)(1) on ripeness grounds -- the court may consider
materials outside the pleadings" ); Herbert v.
Nat'l Academy of Sciences, 974 F.2d 192, 197, 297
U.S.App.D.C. 406 (D.C. Cir. 1992).
seeking dismissal, assorted Defendants raise different
arguments, including lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and
failure to state a ...