United States District Court, District of Columbia
RANDOLPH D. MOSS United States District Judge
matter is now before the Court on several motions to dismiss,
Dkt. 2; Dkt. 5; Dkt. 8; Dkt. 12; Dkt. 15; Dkt. 19, as well as
several motions for an injunction barring Plaintiff Rose Duru
from filing further lawsuits against the movants without
leave of Court, Dkt. 8; Dkt. 12; Dkt. 15; Dkt. 19. For the
reasons that follow, the Court will GRANT
the motions to dismiss, will sua sponte
DISMISS the claims against other Defendants
who have not been served, and will DENY the
motions for vexatious litigant injunctions without prejudice.
Rose Duru, proceeding pro se, filed this action
against nearly thirty Defendants in March 2017. Dkt. 1. Her
claims, although difficult to discern, appear to arise out of
a financial dispute that led to a separate action, filed in
the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in
2015, against several of the Defendants in this proceeding.
Defendants filed a total of six motions to dismiss, asserting
various defenses including lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, insufficient
service of process, and failure to state a claim.
See Dkt. 2 (Sessions, Fishman, Nation & Israel,
LLP); Dkt. 5 (Northern Trust Company); Dkt. 8 (Health
Corporation of America, Inc.); Dkt. 12 (Randall Constantine
and Mazursky Constantine LLC); Dkt. 15 (Geoffrey Beckham,
Melinda Louie, Charles Schwab, and Charles Schwab & Co.,
Inc.); Dkt. 19 (David Clouston, Leslye Moseley, and
Christopher Richie). Several of these Defendants further
moved that the Court declare Duru a vexatious litigant and
enjoin her from filing further lawsuits against them without
leave of Court. See Dkt. 8 at 6; Dkt. 12-1 at 6;
Dkt. 16 at 10-11; Dkt. 20 at 10-11. These motions are now
before the Court.
Duru is proceeding pro se, the Court advised her
that “[f]ail[ing] to respond” to the motions to
dismiss could result in the Court “granting the motions
. . . and dismissing her [c]omplaint.” Dkt. 21 at 1;
see Dkt. 11; Dkt. 13. Duru was further notified that
if she “fail[ed] to address any particular argument
raised in the . . . motions [to dismiss], that argument
[could] be treated as conceded.” Dkt. 21 at 2. In
addition, the Court informed Duru that she was
“entitled to be heard in opposition” to
Defendants on the vexatious litigant issue, described the
relevant factors, and advised her to “specifically
address th[ose] factors.” Id. Duru did not
respond to the pending motions to dismiss and, instead, filed
more than twenty motions for default judgments. See
Dkt. 48 at 2 n.3 (listing the relevant docket entries);
see, e.g., Dkt. 22.
October 21, 2017, the Court denied Duru's motions for
default judgments because, among other defects, Duru had
failed to demonstrate that the summons and complaint were
served in accordance with Rule 4. See Dkt. 48 at 2.
The Court summarized the requirements of Rule 4 and attached
a copy of the Rule to its order. Id. at 2, 5-8. The
Court also noted that “it is far from clear that the
Court possesses personal jurisdiction over many, or most, of
the Defendants” because “most of the Defendants
and many, if not all, of the events giving rise to this suit
have no connection to the District of Columbia.”
Id. at 3. Concerns about lack of personal
jurisdiction and insufficient service, however, did not apply
to eleven Defendants who “waived” these defenses
by failing to raise them in their motions to dismiss.
Id. at 3 n.4 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)(B));
see Dkt. 5; Dkt. 8; Dkt. 12; Dkt. 15; Dkt. 20. The
Court explained that it “possesse[d] personal
jurisdiction” over these eleven Defendants and that
“Duru need not make further efforts to serve
them.” Dkt. 48 at 3 n.4.
the remaining Defendants, the Court, “out of an
abundance of caution, grant[ed] Duru a final opportunity to
effect service” even though the deadline to serve had
elapsed several months earlier. Id. at 3. The Court
also ordered Duru to “show cause . . . why each
Defendant served should not be dismissed for lack of personal
jurisdiction.” Id. at 4. Finally, the Court
emphasized that “fail[ing] to comply with any
aspect” of its order “w[ould] result in the
dismissal of her corresponding claim or claims without
prejudice.” Id. The deadline for Duru to
effect service and show cause was November 9, 2017.
Id. Shortly after the Court issued the order, a copy
was mailed to Duru at her address of record. Two days later,
the Court received a notice of change of address from Duru.
See Dkt. 49. Because Duru might not have received
the Court's order before moving to her current address,
the Court extended her deadline to serve and show cause to
December 8, 2017, and directed the Clerk of Court to mail the
Court's previous order as well as the order extending
Duru's deadline to Duru at her updated address.
See Minute Order (Nov. 13, 2017). As of the date of
this memorandum opinion, the Court has not received a
response from Duru.
Service of Process
Court explained in its earlier order, Duru has failed to
demonstrate that she effected service on several Defendants
in accordance with Rule 4. Dkt. 48 at 2; see Fed. R.
Civ. P. 4. In particular, the “Certificate of
Service” and delivery receipts attached to her motions
for default judgments are inadequate proof of service because
service must be accomplished by a non-party. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(2). Despite an additional opportunity to
effect service, moreover, Duru has failed to file adequate
proof of service with the Court or, indeed, to respond in any
way to the Court's order. Accordingly, Duru's claims
against all Defendants who have not waived the defense of
insufficient service of process will be
DISMISSED from this action without
prejudice. In addition, the Court will
GRANT the motion to dismiss filed by
Sessions, Fishman, Nathan & Israel, LLP, Dkt. 2, for
insufficient service of process.
Motions To Dismiss
five remaining motions to dismiss raise numerous bases for
dismissal pursuant to Rule 12. Despite multiple warnings from
the Court, Duru has failed to respond to any of those
motions. In addition, she has not met her burden of
establishing that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction.
And the complaint does not allege facts sufficient to satisfy
Rules 8 and 12. For these reasons, the Court will
GRANT the motions to dismiss and will
DISMISS the remaining claims in this action
has failed to respond to Defendants' motions to dismiss.
The first three motions were filed within a week of each
other in April 2017. See Dkt. 2; Dkt. 5; Dkt. 8.
Shortly thereafter, the Court advised Duru that, if she
failed to respond, the motions could be “treated as
conceded” and her complaint dismissed. Dkt. 11 (citing
Fox v. Strickland, 837 F.2d 507 (D.C. Cir. 1988);
Local Civil Rule 7(b)). A fourth motion was filed at the end
of May. Dkt. 12. The Court issued a second order reminding
Duru of the consequences of failing to respond to the pending
motions to dismiss. Dkt. 13. Two additional sets of
Defendants filed two more motions to dismiss in early June,
bringing the total to six. See Dkt. 15; Dkt. 19. The
Court, once again, informed Duru that she needed to
“file a brief in opposition to the pending motions to
dismiss” and ordered her to do so by July 5, 2017. Dkt.
21 at 2. As noted, Duru failed to respond, instead opting to
file more than twenty premature motions for default
judgments. See, e.g., Dkt. 22. She also filed a
notice of appeal due to “gross delay in rendering
judgment” in connection with these motions. Dkt. 41 at