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Agarwal v. United States

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 13, 2019

AGARWAL, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DABNEY L. FRIEDRICH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On December 28, 2018, the pro se plaintiffs filed suit against 161 defendants, including every state in the United States and the District of Columbia. Compl. at 6-30, Dkt. 1. On April 18, 2019, the Court dismissed the plaintiffs' claims without prejudice on sovereign immunity grounds for the claims brought against state entities, officials, and agencies. See Memorandum Opinion and Order of April 18, 2019.

         Now before the Court are several motions to dismiss filed by the remaining defendants. See Dkts. 26, 45, 47, 49, 54, 56-57, 63, 65, 71-74, 83-84, 87, 88. For the reasons below, the Court will dismiss this case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The plaintiffs filed suit against 161 defendants, Compl. at 6-9, Dkt. 1, alleging three counts: (1) “unfair and deceptive practices with respect to loan servicing, ” Compl. at 66, (2) “unfair and deceptive practices with respect to foreclosure processing, ” Compl. at 67, and (3) “violations of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 . . . (FIRREA), ” id.

         From April 4, 2019 through April 12, 2019, several defendants filed motions to dismiss; see Dkts. 26, 33, 36-37, 45, 47, 49-50, 54, 56-57, 60, 63, 65, 67, 69-77, 83; including motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1); see Dkts. 33, 36- 37, 45, 50, 57, 70, 73-77.

         On April 18, 2019, the Court dismissed the plaintiffs' claims on sovereign immunity grounds, without prejudice, with respect to “all of the individual states, state entities, and state officials.” Memorandum Opinion and Order of April 18, 2019; see Dkt. 80. However, the Court did not rule on motions filed by the remaining parties. See Dkts. 26, 45, 47, 49, 54, 56-57, 63, 65, 71-74, 83.

         Further, in the Court's April 18, 2019 Memorandum Opinion and Order, the plaintiffs were advised, pursuant to Fox v. Strickland, 837 F.2d 507 (D.C. Cir. 1988), that a failure to respond to the pending motions to dismiss could result in the Court treating the motions as conceded, ruling on the defendants' motion based on the defendants' arguments alone, or dismissing the plaintiffs' claims for failure to prosecute. Dkt. 80. The Court further instructed the plaintiffs to “file a brief in opposition to the defendants' Motions to Dismiss on or before May 17, 2019” and to “show cause . . . why this case should not be dismissed for improper service of process or lack of jurisdiction.” Id.

         Following the Court's April 18, 2019 Memorandum Opinion and Order, additional motions to dismiss were filed. See Dkts. 84, 87, 88. Out of the motions that remain pending, several seek to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). See Dkts. 45, 57, 73, 74, 88. On May 22, 2019, the Court received a Response to the Court's April 18, 2019 Memorandum Opinion and Order from the plaintiffs. Dkt. 90. However, the plaintiffs' response failed to include any arguments that support the Court revisiting its sovereign immunity ruling or exercising jurisdiction here. Accordingly, the Court will dismiss the plaintiffs' complaint, without prejudice, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) requires that the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the court has jurisdiction to entertain his claims.” Tremel v. Bierman & Geesing, 251 F.Supp.2d 40, 43 (D.D.C. 2003). “[B]ecause the plaintiff has the burden of establishing the Court's jurisdiction, the ‘plaintiff's factual allegations in the complaint . . . will bear closer scrutiny in resolving a 12(b)(1) motion' than in resolving a 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim.” Id. (citing Grand Lodge of Fraternal Order of Police v. Ashcroft, 185 F.Supp.2d 9, 13-14 (D.D.C. 2001). The Court “is not limited to the allegations in the complaint, but may consider material outside of the complaint in an effort to determine whether the court has jurisdiction in the case.” Id. (collecting cases). “Whenever it appears . . . that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3); see also Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 455 (2004).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The complaint alleges that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 on two grounds. Compl. at 30. It first asserts jurisdiction on the basis of 28 U.S.C. § 1355(a) due to an alleged violation of 31 U.S.C. § 3732(a) of the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-33. Id. Next it asserts federal question jurisdiction through the Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.) § 3-603, 13 Pa. C.S.A. § 3603, and N.J. Stat. § 12A:3-603. Id. at 30-31. Additionally, the Civil Cover Sheet filed with the complaint indicates that subject matter jurisdiction is also based on diversity under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Dkt. 1-1.

         Three counts of the complaint assert additional grounds for subject matter jurisdiction. Compl. at 66-67. Counts I and II allege “unfair and deceptive practices” in violations of state laws for loan servicing and foreclosure processing.[1]Id. Count III asserts federal question jurisdiction under FIRREA, 12 U.S.C. § 1833a, as well as through violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a). Compl. at 67. The Court will ...


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