Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Swanson v. Howard University

United States District Court, District of Columbia

April 13, 2017

RUTHIE MICHELLE SWANSON, Plaintiff,
v.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          AMY BERMAN JACKSON United States District Judge.

         On August 10, 2016, plaintiff Ruthie Michelle Swanson, proceeding pro se, initiated an action against Howard University, Inc. ("Howard") and Prudential Insurance Company of America ("Prudential") in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Swanson I, Def Prudential's Notice of Removal [No. 1:16-cv-01863, Dkt. # 1] ("Swanson I Notice") ¶ 1; Ex. to Swanson I Notice [Dkt. #1-1] ("Swanson I Compl.") at 4. After defendant removed the lawsuit to this Court, plaintiff moved to remand it twice. See Swanson I, Mot. to Remand [Dkt. # 8]; id, Second Mot. to Remand [Dkt. # 12]. Plaintiffs motions were denied because the case involved claims arising under federal law and was therefore properly before the Court, Swanson I, Order Denying Mot. to Remand [Dkt. #11]; id, Min. Order Denying Mot. to Remand (Oct. 5, 2016), and eventually the case was dismissed. Id., Order [Dkt. #13].

         On October 3, 2016, plaintiff filed another lawsuit against Howard, alleging that it "illegally remanded [her] case from the Superior Court to the U.S. District Court" in an effort to "delay [her] court date." Notice of Removal [No. 1:16-cv-02343, Dkt. # 2] ("Def. 's Notice") ¶ 1; Ex. A to Def.'s Notice [Dkt. #2-1] ("Compl.").[1] Defendant removed the second case to this Court on diversity grounds under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) on December 16, 2016. Def.'s Notice ¶¶ 1-4, 8.[2]

         Now, defendant has moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that the complaint merely seeks to "challenge, yet again, the removal of earlier litigation, " an "issue that has already been heard twice, and denied by this Court, " and that the complaint is "simply indiscernible" and fails to state a claim. Def Howard's Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 8] ("Def.'s Mot."); Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. [Dkt. # 8] ("Def.'s Mem.") at 5-6. Plaintiff opposed the motion on February 1, 2017. Opp. to Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. #10] ("Pl.'s Opp.").

         Because plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court will grant defendant's motion to dismiss.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "To survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion to dismiss, 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) (internal quotation marks omitted); accord Bell Atl Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In Iqbal, the Supreme Court reiterated the two principles underlying its decision in Twombly: "First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." 556 U.S. at 678. And "[s]econd, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." Id. at 679.

         A claim is facially plausible when the pleaded factual content "allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. A pleading must offer more than "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, " id, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.

         When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court is bound to construe a complaint liberally in the plaintiffs favor, and it should grant the plaintiff "the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged." Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Nevertheless, the Court need not accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff if those inferences are unsupported by facts alleged in the complaint, nor must the Court accept plaintiff s legal conclusions. See id; see also Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002).

         Where the action is brought by a pro se plaintiff, a district court has an obligation "to consider his filings as a whole before dismissing a complaint, " Schnitzler v. United States, 761 F.3d 33, 38 (D.C. Cir. 2014), citing Richardson v. United States, 193 F.3d 545, 548 (D.C. Cir. 1999), because such complaints are held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines, 404 U.S. at 520-21.

         ANALYSIS

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This pleading standard "demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Here, plaintiffs complaint reads as follows:

Howard University illegally remanded my case from the Superior Court to the U.S. District Court illegally. Howard University is trying to delay my court date which is Nov. 15 2016. I had to leave my home in Atlanta, GA, and travel 14 hrs. back ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.