United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON United States District Judge.
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].
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."). 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 ¶¶
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
plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted, the Court will grant defendant's motion 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.
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.
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).
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
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 ...