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Ndoromo v. Barr

United States District Court, District of Columbia

July 2, 2019

WILLIAM BARR[1], et al., Defendants



         Pro se Plaintiff Akube Ndoromo brings this lawsuit against Defendants the United States Attorney General and the United States Attorney General for the District of Columbia requesting “restitution of his funds, and damages, worth $90, 232, 812.71.” Compl., ECF No. 1, 12. Plaintiff's Complaint is disjointed and difficult to understand; but, as the Court reads it, Plaintiff appears to state three claims for relief. First, Plaintiff alleges that a 2008 forfeiture order in a criminal matter resulted in the illegal seizure of his funds and property. Second, Plaintiff attacks the 2007 jury verdict in that same criminal matter which found him guilty of multiple counts of false statements, money laundering, and fraud. Third, Plaintiff contends that the government violated the False Claims Act. Defendants have moved for the dismissal of all of Plaintiff's claims. Upon consideration of the pleadings, [2] the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court will GRANT Defendants' Motion to Dismiss as Plaintiff has failed to state a plausible claim for which relief may be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         For the purposes of the motion before the Court, the Court accepts as true the well-pled allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint. The Court does “not accept as true, however, the plaintiff's legal conclusions or inferences that are unsupported by the facts alleged.” Ralls Corp. v. Comm. on Foreign Inv. in the United States, 758 F.3d 296, 315 (D.C. Cir. 2014). Further, because Plaintiff proceeds in this matter pro se, the Court must consider not only the facts alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint, but also the facts alleged in Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. See Brown v. Whole Foods Mkt. Grp., Inc., 789 F.3d 146, 152 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (“a district court errs in failing to consider a pro se litigant's complaint ‘in light of' all filings, including filings responsive to a motion to dismiss”) (quoting Richardson v. United States, 193 F.3d 545, 548 (D.C. Cir. 1999)); Fillmore v. AT & T Mobility Servs. LLC, 140 F.Supp.3d 1, 2 (D.D.C. 2015) (“the Court, as it must in a case brought by a pro se plaintiff, considers the facts as alleged in both the Complaint and Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.”). The Court recites only the background necessary for the Court's resolution of the pending Motion to Dismiss.

         Plaintiff's allegations appear to stem from the seizure of Plaintiff's funds and other property which resulted from a guilty verdict in the criminal matter, United States v. James, Case No. 6-cr-19-EGS. In 2006, a federal grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment charging Plaintiff with multiple counts of healthcare fraud, false statements, and money laundering. James, No. 6-cr-19-EGS, ECF No. 3. The Superseding Indictment included a forfeiture allegation. Id. at 13-15. On March 30, 2007, a jury found Plaintiff guilty of one count of healthcare fraud, 11 counts of false statements related to healthcare matters, and eight counts of money laundering. Id. at ECF No. 37. The jury further returned a Special Verdict, finding that $1, 856, 812.71 and two vehicles represented property derived from or proceeds traceable to Plaintiff's criminal acts. Id. at ECF No. 41.

         In 2008, Plaintiff was sentenced to 57 months of incarceration and 36 months of supervised release and was ordered to pay $1, 856, 812.71 in restitution. Id. at ECF No. 117. At sentencing, the judge indicated that the forfeiture of $1, 856, 812.71 and two vehicles were included as part of Plaintiff's sentence. Id. at ECF No. 152 at 2. Accordingly, on December 30, 2008, the court issued two final Orders of Forfeiture to that effect. Id. at ECF No. 122 (as to funds), 123 (as to vehicles).

         Following the resolution of Plaintiff's criminal matter, the government continued its pursuit of the forfeiture of Plaintiff's funds and property in the civil forfeiture matter, United States v. $455, 273.72, No. 5-cv-356-EGS. And, in 2011, the court granted the government summary judgment. The court explained that, because Plaintiff's conviction in his criminal case was based on the same facts as the civil forfeiture matter, Plaintiff's funds and property were subject to forfeiture as the proceeds of an unlawful activity. $455, 273.72, No. 5-cv-356-EGS, ECF No. 73, 12-16.

         Since that time, Plaintiff has filed appeals and otherwise attacked the results of his criminal and civil forfeiture matters. On October 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit. As the Court interprets Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff brings three claims against Defendants: (1) Plaintiff's property was improperly seized; (2) Plaintiff's guilty verdict in his criminal matter should be overturned; and (3) the Government violated the False Claims Act. See Compl., ECF No. 1. Defendants have moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety. See Defs.' Mot., ECF No. 9. That Motion is currently before the Court.


         Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). According to Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a complaint on the grounds that it “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “[A] complaint [does not] suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). Rather, a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations that, if accepted as true, “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.[3]


         In their Reply, Defendants note that Plaintiff's Opposition fails to address any of the arguments set forth in Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Defs.' Reply, ECF No. 12, 2. Instead, Plaintiff merely recites seemingly random facts and legal conclusions unrelated to the arguments in Defendants' Motion. The Court agrees that Plaintiff's Opposition is wholly unresponsive to Defendants' Motion.

         Because Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendants' arguments, Defendants ask the court to treat their arguments as conceded by Plaintiff and to dismiss this case. See Lockhart v. Coastal Int'l Sec., Inc., 905 F.Supp.2d 105, 118 (D.D.C. 2012) (explaining that the law is “well-settled in this jurisdiction that when a plaintiff files a response to a motion to dismiss but fails to address certain arguments made by the defendant, the court may treat those arguments as conceded, even when the result is dismissal of the entire case” (internal quotation marks omitted)). However, the Court's ability to treat arguments as conceded based merely on Plaintiff's inadequate Opposition appears to be more limited that Defendants imply. In Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. United States Department of Homeland Security, 892 F.3d 332 (D.C. Cir. 2018), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) explained that a district court should not treat arguments in a motion to dismiss as conceded if the plaintiff files a timely response in opposition to the defendant's motion to dismiss. 892 F.3d at 344. Instead, “a party may rest on its complaint in the face of a motion to dismiss if the complaint itself adequately states a plausible claim for relief.” Id. at 345. As such, the Court's analysis will focus on whether or not Plaintiff's Complaint states a “plausible” claim for relief. The court finds that it does not. As such, dismissal is appropriate. See Golden v. Management & Training Corp., 319 F.Supp.3d 358, 377-78 (D.D.C. 2018) (evaluating whether the plaintiff “has stated a plausible claim” despite the plaintiff's non-responsive opposition to the defendants' motion to dismiss).

         A. Collateral ...

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