United States District Court, District of Columbia
TERESITA A. CANUTO, Plaintiff,
JAMES MATTIS, Secretary of Defense, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
G. SULLIVAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Canuto, proceeding pro se, filed a second amended
complaint against two United States Army officers and various
senior federal officials (collectively “federal
defendants”) and private entities Woodman-Sylvan
Properties, Inc. (“Woodman-Sylvan”), Cirrus Asset
Management, Inc. (“Cirrus”), and Bank of America,
N.A. (“Bank of America”). The allegations within
Ms. Canuto's ninety-page second amended complaint are
identical to those in her first amended
complaint: that members of the United States armed
forces sexually assaulted her on a number of occasions after
infiltrating her home and using sleeping gas to render her
unconscious. She asserts various constitutional, federal
statutory, and common law claims.
before the Court are (1) Cirrus' motion to dismiss,
see ECF No. 43; (2) Bank of America's motion to
dismiss, see ECF No. 44; (3) Woodman-Sylvan's
motion to dismiss, see ECF No. 49; and (4) the
federal defendants' motion to dismiss, see ECF
No. 66. Upon consideration of these motions, the responses
and replies thereto, the relevant law, and the entire record,
the Court GRANTS Cirrus' motion,
GRANTS IN PART Bank of America's motion,
GRANTS Woodman-Sylvan's motion, and
GRANTS the federal defendants'
motion. Ms. Canuto's second amended complaint
allegations in Ms. Canuto's second amended complaint are
undisputedly identical to those in her first amended
complaint. Compare First Am. Compl., ECF No. 10
with Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 42; see
also Pl.'s Suppl. to Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 60
at 1-2 (explaining that the “only
difference” between the complaints is “the name
of public officials sued in their official capacity who
ceased to hold office [who have been] substituted with their
successors”). Because the complaints allege the same
facts, the Court herein incorporates the facts articulated in
Canuto v. Mattis, 273 F.Supp.3d 127 (D.D.C. 2017).
See Mem. Op., ECF No. 38 at 3-5.
briefly summarize, Ms. Canuto alleges that members of the
United States armed forces, assisted by “illegal
foreigners” and other civilians acting under the
direction of senior military officers and federal officials,
sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions beginning in
October 2014. See Id. at 3. She alleges that the
assaults were first perpetrated in her Panorama City,
California apartment, which was managed by Woodman-Sylvan.
See Id. In July 2016, Ms. Canuto moved to a
Northridge, California apartment building managed by Cirrus,
where she alleges that the assaults continued to occur.
See Id. at 3-4. Finally, Ms. Canuto contends that
important documents and records were stolen from her Bank of
America safe deposit box located in Panorama City, California
in 2009. See Id. at 4.
on these factual allegations, Ms. Canuto alleges that the
defendants have violated her due process and equal protection
rights. She also asserts various state common law claims.
See Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 42 at 6, 16-18.
Ms. Canuto brings identical claims in her second amended
complaint, it is worth discussing the Court's August 10,
2017 decision dismissing most of Ms. Canuto's first
amended complaint. See Order, ECF No. 37; Mem. Op.,
ECF No. 38.
first amended complaint, Ms. Canuto sued DePauw HK Property
Management (“DePauw”) instead of Woodman-Sylvan.
See First Am. Compl., ECF No. 10. DePauw argued that
it was not capable of being sued and, in any event, it had
received improper service. The Court found that Ms. Canuto
had clearly intended to sue Woodman-Sylvan, not Depauw, and
allowed Ms. Canuto to amend her complaint to replace DePauw
with Woodman-Sylvan. Mem. Op., ECF No. 38 at 5-9, 16; see
also Order, ECF No. 37. Ms. Canuto named Woodman-Sylvan
as defendant in her second amended complaint. See
Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 42.
also filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Court lacked
personal jurisdiction over it. The Court agreed and granted
Cirrus' motion, dismissing Ms. Canuto's claims
without prejudice. See Mem. Op., ECF No. 38 at
17-23; Order, ECF No. 37.
America filed a motion to dismiss as well, arguing that the
claims against it were barred by the applicable statutes of
limitations. The Court granted the motion and dismissed the
claims against Bank of America with prejudice. See
Mem. Op., ECF No. 38 at 23-33; Order, ECF No. 37.
Ms. Canuto had also sued the federal defendants in her first
amended complaint, see First Am. Compl., ECF No. 10,
she had not served them, see Mem. Op., ECF No. 38 at
2 n.3. The Court dismissed the claims against the federal
defendants without prejudice, see Mem. Op., ECF No.
38 at 2 n.3, and directed Ms. Canuto to file proof of service
by a date certain, see Service Order, ECF No. 39.
Canuto filed her second amended complaint on August 22, 2017.
See Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 42.
as here, a plaintiff is proceeding pro se, her
complaint must be “liberally construed” and held
to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976)(citations omitted). Construing Ms.
Canuto's second amended complaint liberally, the Court
concludes that it must be dismissed.
Cirrus' Motion to Dismiss
argues that Ms. Canuto's claims against it should be
dismissed because the second amended complaint does not
contain any facts that alter the Court's previous ruling
that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the company.
See Cirrus' Mot., ECF No. 43. The Court agrees.
Court dismissed Ms. Canuto's original claims against
Cirrus without prejudice. See Mem. Op., ECF. No. 38 at
17-23. Ms. Canuto does not allege any new facts in her second
amended complaint such that the Court could find that it has
“either general or specific [personal] jurisdiction
under the relevant District of Columbia statutes.”
Bradley v. DeWine, 55 F.Supp.3d 31, 39 (D.D.C.
2014). Because the facts alleged against Cirrus in the second
amendment complaint are, as Ms. Canuto herself explains, the
“same” as those already considered, see
Pl.'s Suppl. to Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 60, the Court
herein incorporates its extensive personal jurisdiction
analysis in the 2017 Memorandum Opinion. See Mem.
Op., ECF. No. 38 at 17-23.
Canuto argues that the Court has personal jurisdiction over
Cirrus because it “exercises sufficient control over
its subsidiaries.” Pl.'s Opp'n (Cirrus), ECF
No. 52 at 10. However, Ms. Canuto does not proffer any facts
about Cirrus' alleged “subsidiaries.” See
Id. As such, the Court has no basis to find that it has
personal jurisdiction over these unknown entities. Indeed, it
is not accurate that Cirrus' contacts “bear no
relation to [Ms. Canuto's] suit.” Id. The
Court cannot hear a claim against a particular defendant
unless that defendant has sufficient “minimum contacts
with it such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend
traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” International Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945). Ms. Canuto has not
met her burden to establish a ...