United States District Court, District of Columbia
SAUNDRA M. MCNAIR, Plaintiff,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
P. MEHTA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before court are three motions: (1) Plaintiff's Motion
for Default Judgment, ECF No. 60; (2) Defendant D.C.
Department of Employment Services' (“DOES”)
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 65; and (3) Defendant District of
Columbia's Motion for Leave to File Answer, ECF No. 66.
For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion is
denied, and Defendants' motions are granted.
Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment
than 27 months after naming Defendant D.C. Department of
Employment Services (“DOES”) as a defendant in an
Amended Complaint, see Am. Compl., ECF No. 12, and
more than four months after the close of discovery in this
matter, see Minute Order, Nov. 2, 2017, Plaintiff
Saundra M. McNair moves for entry of default judgment against
DOES for failure to answer her amended pleading. See
Pl.'s Mot. for Default J., ECF No. 60. Plaintiff's
motion falls squarely in the category of “you can't
possibly be serious.”
does not dispute that DOES is a subordinate agency of the
District of Columbia that is non sui juris and
therefore not subject to suit as a separate entity.
See Pl.'s Resp. in Opp'n to Def. DOES'
Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 68 [hereinafter Pl.'s Opp'n
to Mot. to Dismiss], at 3 (citing Kangethe v. D.C.
Dep't of Emp. Servs., 891 F.Supp.2d 69, 72 (D.D.C.
2012)); cf. Pl.'s Reply to Def.'s Resp. in
Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Default J., ECF No. 68-1
[hereinafter Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Default J.], at 2.
Nor does she appear to seriously dispute that entry of
default judgment against a party against whom a claim cannot
be made would be improper. See Saint-Jean v. D.C. Pub.
Sch. Div. of Transp., 815 F.Supp.2d 1, 4 (D.D.C. 2011)
(“A motion for default judgment will be denied unless
the allegations in the complaint are legally sufficient to
make out a claim.”); cf. Pl.'s Opp'n
to Mot. to Dismiss at 3; Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Default
J. at 2-3.
Plaintiff insists that entry of default judgment is
appropriate because DOES' failure to answer
“greatly impacted Plaintiff's ability to defend her
case and assert allegations against the necessary
party.” Pl.'s Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss at 3.
Come on, really? When she amended her original Complaint,
Plaintiff named the “necessary party, ” the
District of Columbia, as a defendant. Since then, the District has
actively litigated this matter, by filing a partial motion to
dismiss, participating in mediation, and engaging in
discovery after settlement efforts failed. Apparently, the
irony of Plaintiff's position is lost on her: The court
sanctioned her for failing to exercise diligence in
litigating this matter. See Mem. Op. & Order,
ECF No. 61. Plaintiff identifies no tangible way in which
DOES' “absence” has adversely affected her
case. See Pl.'s Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss;
Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Default J. Her motion for default
judgment is denied.
DOES' Motion to Dismiss
moves to dismiss for the reason discussed above: as a
subordinate agency of the District of Columbia, DOES is
non sui juris and therefore not subject to suit as a
separate entity, unless authorized by law. Def. DOES'
Mot. to Dismiss, Mem. of Points & Authorities in Supp. of
Def. DOES' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 65, at 2-3. As
discussed, Plaintiff does not dispute that DOES is non
sui juris. See Pl.'s Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss at
3; Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Default J. at 2. Accordingly,
DOES' motion is granted because DOES is not subject to
suit. See Kangethe, 891 F.Supp.2d at 71-72
(“In this jurisdiction, as in others, non-corporate
governmental bodies cannot be sued as separate entities
absent explicit statutory authorization. Hence, the D.C. Code
does not authorize suits for damages against DOES.”
(citations omitted)); see also Perez v. D.C. Dep't of
Emp. Servs., No. 17-cv-2086, 2018 WL 1701338, at *2
(D.D.C. Apr. 6, 2018) (dismissing DOES as a defendant where
the plaintiff not only failed to offer any response to case
law holding that DOES is non sui juris and thus not
subject to suit absent explicit statutory authorization but
also failed to point to any statutory authorization for
The District's Motion for Leave to File Answer
the court turns to the District's Motion for Leave to
File Answer. More than 14 days have passed since the District
filed its motion, yet Plaintiff has filed no opposition nor
sought additional time. See Def's Mot. for Leave
to File Answer, ECF No. 66 (dated April 19, 2018). Thus, the
court grants the District's Motion “as
conceded.” LCvR 7(b).
 The District filed an answer to
Plaintiff's original complaint before it was named as a
defendant in her amended complaint. See ...