United States District Court, District of Columbia
G. SULLIVAN United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss [ECF No. 4]. For the reasons discussed below, the Court
will grant the motion.
one-page handwritten complaint [ECF No. 1], while short on
facts, clearly pertains to plaintiff's encounter with
unidentified Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD")
officers on February 9, 2014. Compl. at 1. Plaintiff alleges
that police "knock[ed] and dragged [her] down, "
and that she was taken by ambulance to the Washington
Hospital Center for treatment of "a lot of swellen [sic]
knees etc." Id. As compensation for the
resulting physical injuries, "aches and pains, "
plaintiff demands damages of $999, 999, 999.999. Id.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
first moves to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
"Because [p]laintiff's complaint fails to allege any
facts [to] indicate that this Court has subject matter
jurisdiction over her claim, " Def.'s Mem. at 2-3,
defendant contends that the complaint should be dismissed in
its entirety, id. at 3.
district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, "
and "[i]t is to be presumed that a cause lies outside
this limited jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)
(citations omitted). A plaintiff therefore bears the initial
burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence
that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over her
claim. See id.; see Citizens for Responsibility
and Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec.,
527 F.Supp.2d 101, 104 (D.D.C. 2007). In deciding a motion
brought under Rule 12(b)(1), the Court "may consider
materials outside the pleadings" and it must
"accept all of the factual allegations in the complaint
as true." Jerome Stevens Pharms., Inc. v. Food &
Drug Admin., 402 F.3d 1249, 1253 (D.C. Cir. 2005)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
question jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331,
exists if plaintiff shows that her claim arises under the
Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States. See
Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513 (2006) ("A
plaintiff properly invokes § 1331 jurisdiction when she
pleads a colorable claim ‘arising under' the
Constitution or laws of the United States."). Here,
plaintiff does not identify a constitutional or statutory
basis for her claims, and it is not apparent that this action
arises under the United States Constitution or federal law.
jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332, is shown
where both the matter in controversy exceeds $75, 000, and
the suit is between citizens of different states. See
Price v. Phoenix Home Life Ins. Co., 44 F.Supp.2d 28, 32
(D.D.C.) ("Diversity of citizenship requires complete
diversity in which no opposing parties may be citizens of the
same state."), aff'd sub nom. Price v. Phoenix
Home Life Mut., 203 F.3d 53 (D.C. Cir. 1999). Here,
although plaintiff demands damages far in excess of $75, 000
threshold, all of the parties appear to reside or conduct
business in the District of Columbia.
Failure to State a Claim
defendant moves to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) on the ground that the complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See
Def.'s Mem. at 3-4.
plaintiff's complaint need only provide a "short and
plain statement of [her] claim showing that [she] is entitled
to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), that
‘"give[s] the defendant fair notice of what the .
. . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, '"
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per
curiam) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "A Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the
legal sufficiency of a complaint[.]" Browning v.
Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). To survive
a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), "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 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). In
other words, it "must ‘plead factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.'" Patton Boggs LLP v. Chevron
Corp., 683 F.3d 397, 403 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (citing
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678)). "[W]here the
well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged
-- but it has not shown -- that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)) (brackets and internal quotation marks
removed). For purposes of this discussion, the Court
construes plaintiff's complaint liberally, see Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and presumes that
its few factual allegations are true, see Gray v.
Poole, 275 F.3d 1113, 1115 (D.C. Cir. 2002).
alleges that police "knocked and dragged [her] down,
" Compl. at 1, yet the complaint sets forth no other
facts about the encounter. As defendant notes, see
Def.'s Mem. at 4, the circumstances of the encounter are
unclear. If, for example, the police were arresting
plaintiff, "[t]here are plausible scenarios in which
[police] could permissibly ‘knock and drag' an
individual, such as while performing a lawful arrest."
Id. Alternatively, if plaintiff "is alleging
that MPD officers intentionally assaulted or battered her,
" defendant might raise a different defense. See
id. As drafted, ...