United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
G. Sullivan United States District Judge.
Capitol Services Management, Inc. (“CSMI”) brings
suit against Defendant VESTA Corporation
(“Vesta”) for: (1) intentional interference with
business relations; and (2) tortious interference with a
reasonable expectation of prospective economic advantage.
CSMI alleges that Vesta interfered with its contract to
manage an apartment property in the District of Columbia,
causing CSMI to lose the contract. Pending before the Court
is Vesta's motion to dismiss the complaint. See
ECF No. 6. Upon consideration of the motion, the response and
reply thereto, and the relevant law, the Court
GRANTS Vesta's motion and
DISMISSES CSMI's complaint.
a property management corporation located in the District of
Columbia. Compl., ECF No. 1 ¶ 3. Vesta is a property
management corporation located in Connecticut. Id.
¶ 4. At different times, both corporations managed the
Park Southern Apartments, an apartment property located in
Southeast District of Columbia. Id. ¶¶ 3,
8, 9. This property was owned by the Park Southern
Neighborhood Corporation (“PSNC”) under a Deed of
Trust with the District of Columbia, “acting by and
through DHCD [the District of Columbia Department of Housing
and Community Development].” Id. ¶ 5. The
Deed of Trust stated that PSNC was indebted to the District
of Columbia for over three million dollars. Id.
¶ 6. The Deed of Trust required PSNC to repay the debt
with interest and perform certain duties. Id. ¶
contracted with Vesta to manage the Park Southern Apartments.
Id. ¶ 8. However, on March 17, 2014, PSNC
terminated the contract because it was “not
satisfied” with Vesta's services. Id. The
same day, PSNC entered into an “exclusive”
management agreement with CSMI. Id. ¶¶ 9,
10. Pursuant to that agreement, CSMI was to manage the Park
Southern Apartment for a year with the option to continue the
contract on a year-to-year basis thereafter. Id.
¶ 10. If the contract was terminated without cause
within the first year, CSMI would be entitled to the
compensation owed for the time remaining under the contract.
Id. ¶ 12.
than a month after PSNC entered into the management contract
with CSMI, DHCD sent PSNC a “notice of default”
and gave PSNC a month to cure the default. Id.
¶ 26. When PSNC did not cure the default by May 2, 2014,
DHCD “implemented the default
process.” Id. ¶ 27. The same day, DHCD
entered into an “emergency contract” with Vesta
to manage the Park Southern Apartments. Id. ¶
28. The emergency contract “authorized Vesta to take
over the management of the Park Southern Apartments on May 3,
2014 without any notice of termination to CSMI.”
Id. ¶ 29.
alleges that Vesta knew about its business relationship and
contractual expectancy, yet interfered with its management
agreement. See Id. ¶¶ 36-51. CSMI alleges
that Vesta had been in frequent communication with DHCD
regarding DHCD's “intention to default” PSNC
and remove CSMI as property manager. Id. ¶ 14;
see also Id. ¶¶ 15-25. According to CSMI,
Vesta told DHCD that it “was going to continue to
manage the property and to provide (DHCD) whatever assistance
we need with respect to the ongoing condition of the
property, ” despite having been terminated by PSNC.
Id. ¶¶ 16, 41. CSMI alleges that
“its relationship with PSNC was broken and CSMI lost
any income it should have received for its management
services” as a “direct and proximate result of
Vesta performing the management contract.” Id.
¶ 45. CSMI requests $100, 000 in compensatory and
economic damages, as well as punitive damages. Id.
¶¶ 45, 51.
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint.
Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir.
2002). To survive a 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 quotations and citations omitted). A claim
is facially plausible when the facts pled in the complaint
allow the court to “draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. The standard does not amount to a
“probability requirement, ” but it does require
more than a “sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Id.
ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss [pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6)], a judge must accept as true all of the
factual allegations contained in the complaint.”
Atherton v. D.C. Office of the Mayor, 567 F.3d 672,
681 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (internal quotations and citations
omitted). In addition, the court must give 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). Even so,
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements” are
not sufficient to state a claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
moves to dismiss CSMI's complaint pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Def.'s
Mot., ECF No. 6. It makes three arguments: (1) CSMI's
complaint must be dismissed as time-barred; (2) CSMI is
collaterally estopped from bringing its case against Vesta
because the same issues were already litigated against the
District of Columbia in the Superior Court of the District of
Columbia; and (3) CSMI's complaint must be
dismissed because it fails to state claims of tortious
interference. See Id. at 3. Because the Court agrees
that CSMI's complaint is time-barred, it need not
consider Vesta's additional arguments.
CSMI's Claims are Time-Barred
argues that CSMI was aware of its alleged tortious actions on
May 3, 2014-the date that DHCD took control of the Park
Southern Apartments and contracted with Vesta, thereby
terminating CSMI's contract. Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 6
at 5-7. Because the statute of limitations for tortious
interference claims is three years under District of Columbia
law, Vesta contends that ...