United States District Court, District of Columbia
matter is before the Court on its initial review of plaintiff
s pro se complaint and application for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. The Court will grant the
in for ma pauperis application and dismiss the case
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (requiring
dismissal of a case upon a determination that the complaint
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted).
essentially repleads previously adjudicated claims arising
from "a foreclosure that has been ruled upon by the
Superior Court for the District of Columbia and the District
of Columbia Court of Appeals." Owens v. Bankof
Am., No. 17-cv-2110, 2018 WL 4387572, at *l (D.D.C.
Sept. 14, 2018) ("Owens 7"). As in the
prior case, plaintiff has sued Bank of America, NA; Samuel I.
White, PC; and Harvey West Auctioneers, Inc. Plaintiff has
added Reliance Group LLC as a defendant to this action, but
the complaint contains no allegations against this defendant.
For this reason alone, the complaint against the Reliance
Group is dismissed. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 & n.3 (2007) (at a minimum, a complaint
filed in federal court must contain "[f]actual
allegations . . . enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level") (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) (other
the principle of res judicata, a final judgment on the merits
in one action "bars any further claim based on the same
'nucleus of facts' . . . ." Page v. United
States, 729 F.2d 818, 820 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (quoting
Expert Elec, Inc. v. Levine, 554 F.2d 1227, 1234
(D.C. Cir. 1977)); see Crowder v. Bierman, Geesing, and
Ward LLC, 713 F.Supp.2d 6, 10 (D.D.C. 2010) ("Under
the doctrine of res judicata, or claim preclusion, a
subsequent lawsuit will be barred if there has been prior
litigation (1) involving the same claims or cause of action,
(2) between the same parties or their privies, and (3) there
has been a final, valid judgment on the merits, (4) by a
court of competent jurisdiction.") (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted)). Res judicata bars the
relitigation "of issues that were or could have been
raised in [the prior] action." Drake v. FAA,
291 F.3d 59 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (emphasis in original) (quoting
A lien v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94 (1980)); see
LAM. Natl Pension Fund v. Indus. Gear Mfg. Co., 723 F.2d
944, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (noting that res judicata
"forecloses all that which might have been litigated
previously"). Although res judicata is an affirmative
defense, "courts may dismiss sua sponte when
they are on notice that a claim has been previously decided
because of the policy interest in avoiding 'unnecessary
judicial waste.'" Walker v. Seldman, 471
F.Supp.2d 106, 114 n.l2 (D.D.C. 2007) (quoting Arizona v.
California, 530 U.S. 392, 412 (2000)); see accord
Rosendahl v. Nixon, 360 Fed. App'x. 167, 168 (D.C.
Cir. 2010) (courts "may raise the res judicata
preclusion defense sua sponte" ) (citing
Brown v. D.C ., 514 F.3d 1279, 1285-86 (D.C. Cir.
2008) (other citation omitted)); see also Fenwick v.
U.S., 691 F.Supp.2d 108, 116 (D.D.C. 2010) (observing
that the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel
"are so integral to the administration of the courts
that a court may invoke [them] sua sponte.") (citations
and internal quotation marks omitted) (alteration in
case, like the prior case, concerns plaintiffs alleged
"fee simple ownership rights granted by the U.S. Federal
Government on federal land ... on the property known as 1325
Ingraham Street, NW, Washington, DC 20011," Compl. at 2
¶ 1; see Owens I at * 1 (describing same), and
the eventual sale of that property at public auction, see
Owens I at *2. In an exhaustive analysis, the court in
Owens I addressed every conceivable claim suggested
by the five counts of the complaint- under the Truth in
Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, District
of Columbia consumer laws, and the common law - and concluded
that no viable claim was stated. Id. at *3-9. The
Court also explained why it could not review the local
courts' rulings. Id. at * 9-10 (applying the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine "to the extent
plaintiff has brought this action to challenge the
foreclosure"). In the instant complaint, plaintiff sets
out five different counts as follows: Count One - Violation
of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Count Two - Violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1986; Count Three - Violation of 28 U.S.C. § 362;
Count Four - Violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments, U.S. Constitution; Count Five - Intentional
infliction of emotional distress and financial harm. Compl.
at 7-8. But in each Count, plaintiff refers to the factual
allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 13, which for
the most part are the same facts that were adjudicated in
Owens I. Therefore, plaintiffs claims arising from
the foreclosure and sale of the property are barred by res
only development since Owens I appears to be an
alleged eviction action filed by "the Defendants"
on March 7, 2019, in D.C. Superior Court's Landlord and
Tenant Branch. Compl. ¶ 12. Plaintiff alleges that in
the eviction complaint,
Defendants state they consummated the foreclosure sale of Ms.
Owens' home held on February 21, 2017, pursuant to their
Trustee's Deed executed on March 26, 2018. On May 25,
2018, DC Superior Court issued a second final decision of the
same motion that was originally null-voided in August 2017.
Ms. Owens filed an appeal of DC Superior Court's second
Id. Allegedly, on April 8, 2019, plaintiff also
filed in D.C. Superior Court a motion to dismiss the eviction
action with prejudice "based on . . . affirmative
defenses under FRCP 12(b)(6)." Id. ¶ 13.
To the extent that plaintiff is seeking review of the
Superior Court's decisions, this Court lacks jurisdiction
under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See
Owens /at * 9-10; Prentice v. U.S. Dist. Court for
E. Dist. of Michigan, S. Div., 307 Fed.Appx. 460, 460
(D.C. Cir. 2008) (per curiam) (concluding that "the
district court properly determined it lacked jurisdiction to
review action taken by a . . . state court"); United
States v. Choi, 818 F.Supp.2d 79, 85 (D.D.C. 2011)
(district courts "generally lack appellate
jurisdiction over other judicial bodies, and cannot exercise
appellate mandamus over other courts") (citing Lewis
v. Green, 629 F.Supp. 546, 553 (D.D.C. 1986)).
plaintiff alleges that on "April 14th and
17th, 2019," she filed a notice of removal in
D.C. Superior Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1443, and
she concludes that "removal of DC Superior Court's
Landlord and Tenant Branch case, to U.S. District Court was
proper." Compl. at 7. Plaintiff has attached to the
complaint two documents. The first document captioned
"Defendant's Praecipe With Notice of Removal of
Civil Action from State Court" is directed to D.C.
Superior Court and states: "This 'Notice' was
rejected because the case caption(s) did not match."
Compl. Attachment [Dkt. # 1 at 9]. The second document is a
removal notice submitted to this Court for filing in
Owens I, where plaintiff is the removing party.
Compl. Attachment [Dkt. # 1 at 10-14]. In denying leave to
file, the Owens I court noted correctly that
"[a]ny removal motion must be filed in the case to be
removed, not a separate action that is already closed."
Owen v. BOA, No. 17-cv-2110 [Dkt. # 28]. Apart from
that defect, the notice was unauthorized because the
"defendant" or "defendants" are the only
parties permitted to remove a case from State court. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1441(a), 1443, 1446. Therefore,