TERRY v. DEWINE et al
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 12/17/2014. (lcckk2)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
LUE CINDY TERRY,
Civil Action No. 14-1112 (CKK)
MICHAEL DEWINE, et al.,
(December 17, 2014)
Lue Cindy Terry, 1 proceeding pro se, brought this action against Defendants Michael
DeWine, Attorney General of Ohio; Judge Kimberly Cocroft of the Franklin County, Ohio,
Court of Common Pleas; Zach Scott, Franklin County, Ohio, Sheriff; and Ron O’Brien, Franklin
County, Ohio, Prosecutor. (The Court refers to all Defendants but DeWine as the Franklin
County Defendants.) While the precise nature of the challenges is far from clear from the
pleadings, Plaintiff attempts to challenge actions surrounding the foreclosure of a property in
Ohio. See Compl. at 2. Presently before the Court is the Franklin County Defendants’  Motion
to Dismiss, as well as Plaintiff’s first  Motion for Immediate Default Judgment and Award
and second  Motion for Immediate Default Judgment and Award. Upon consideration of the
pleadings, 2 the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court GRANTS the
It is not entirely clear whether Lue Cindy Terry is the sole plaintiff in this action or whether
Richard N. Terry is proceeding against Defendants in this action, as well. Although the
complaint references Richard Terry in its body, its caption refers only to Lue Cindy Terry, and
the subsequently filed documents refer only to Lue Cindy Terry, as well. The Court accordingly
refers to Lue Cindy Terry as the sole plaintiff.
The Court’s consideration has focused on the following documents:
• Original Civil Complaint, ECF No. 1 (“Compl.”);
• Pl.’s Motion for Immediate Default Judgment and Award, ECF No. 4 (“First Default
• Defendants The Honorable Judge Kimberly Cocroft, Zach Scott and Ron O’Brien’s
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 7 (“Franklin County Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss”);
Franklin County Defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Court concludes that there is no personal
jurisdiction over the Franklin County Defendants. The Court also concludes that, under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, it does not have jurisdiction over this action effectively challenging a
state-court final judgment. Because the Court has no jurisdiction over any of the claims in this
action, the Court does not address any of the Franklin County Defendants’ arguments pertaining
to the merits. Although Defendant DeWine has not appeared in this action, the Court also
concludes that there is no jurisdiction over the claims against him for the reasons described
below. Therefore, the Court sua sponte dismisses the claims against DeWine. For these and
related reasons, the Court denies Plaintiff’s first and second default judgment motions, as well.
The Court DISMISSES this action in its entirety.
A. Factual Background
The facts of this case are far from clear, and Plaintiff’s filings subsequent to the
complaint do little to dispel the absence of clarity. At core, this action appears to pertain to the
foreclosure of a property in Ohio state court. See Compl at 1 (“[T]his proceeding seeks to
challenge the alleged free and clear title awarded to [the bank] in Civil Foreclosure Case No. 13•
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opp’n of Pl.’s Mot. for Immediate Default
Judgment, ECF No. 8 (“First Default Judgment Opp’n”);
• Pl.’s Motion for Immediate Default Judgment and Award, ECF No. 10 (“Second Default
• Pl.’s Memorandum in Opposition to Granted Minute Order, ECF No. 12 (“Pl.’s Opp’n”);
• Mem. of Points & Authorities in Opposition to Pl.’s Second Motion for Immediate
Default Judgment, ECF No. 14 (“Second Default Judgment Opp’n”);
• Pl.’s Mot. to Show Cause Under Complete Jur. over Michael DeWine; i.e. “Attorney
General,” ECF No. 16 (“Pl.’s Show Cause Response”); and
• Pl.’s Nov. 29, 2014 Response Deadline, ECF No. 21 (“Pl.’ Service Response”).
In an exercise of its discretion, the Court finds that holding oral argument in this action would
not be of assistance in rendering a decision. See LCvR 7(f).
CV-006485 in this Court”). Because the Court concludes, below, that it has no jurisdiction over
any of the claims in this action and because Plaintiff has not conveyed them in a clear fashion, it
is not necessary to recite the facts further at this point. Insofar as the facts of this case are
essential to resolving the jurisdictional questions before the Court, the Court presents them
B. Procedural History
On June 25, 2014, Plaintiff filed this action, proceeding pro se. On July 7, 2014, Plaintiff
filed an affidavit of service with the acknowledgment of service delivery via Certified Mail to all
four defendants at their business addresses. 3 As of July 8, 2014, no defendant had filed an
appearance, and Plaintiff filed a  Motion for Immediate Default Judgment and Award. 4 On
August 1, 2014, the Court “reluctantly” granted the Franklin County Defendants’  Motion for
Extension of Time to File Response to Plaintiff’s Complaint and Plaintiff’s Motion for
Immediate Default Judgment. Those defendants complied with the deadline established by the
Court’s order, filing both their  Motion to Dismiss and their  Memorandum of Points and
Authorities in Opposition of Plaintiff’s Motion of Immediate Default Judgment. Shortly
thereafter, Plaintiff filed a second  Motion for Immediate Default Judgment and Award, 5 and
the Franklin County Defendants filed an opposition. After the Court advised Plaintiff that, if
The Court concludes, below, that DeWine was only served in his official capacity and that,
insofar as Plaintiff seeks to sue him in his individual capacity, proper service has not be effected.
In her motion, Plaintiff makes no mention of any Defendants but DeWine but refers to
“defendants,” using the plural form, at least once. See Mot. for Immediate Default Judgment and
Award, ECF No. 4 (“First Default Judgment Motion”), at 1-4. The Franklin County Defendants
responded to this motion. See Mem. of Points and Authorities in Opp’n of Pl.’s Mot. for
Immediate Default Judgment, ECF No. 8 (“Franklin County Defs.’ Opp’n to First Default
Judgment Motion”). Accordingly, the Court treats the motion as addressing all four defendants.
Once again it is unclear whether the motion is directed at all defendants. Cf. supra, note 4. The
Court treats it as if it were directed to all defendants in an abundance of caution.
Plaintiff did not respond to the Franklin County Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, the Court may
grant the motion as conceded, Plaintiff filed an opposition to that motion. Defendant DeWine has
yet to file a response to the complaint or to file any other papers in this action.
Subsequent to the completion of the aforementioned briefing on the motions before the
Court, the Court issued an order requiring Plaintiff to show cause as to why this Court has
jurisdiction over the claims against DeWine. See Order, dated October 14, 2014, ECF No. 15.
The gravamen of Plaintiff’s response appears to be that Plaintiff is not suing Defendant DeWine
in his official capacity, and that therefore the Court’s concerns with respect to jurisdiction are of
no moment. See Pl.’s Show Cause Response at 2. Plaintiff also claims, for the first time, that
there is diversity jurisdiction over this action as well. Id. at 4-5. In response to Plaintiff’s
responsive filing, the Court issued an order informing Plaintiff of the Court’s conclusion that
Plaintiff had not yet served Defendant DeWine in his individual capacity and requiring Plaintiff
to file proof of service of DeWine in that capacity. See Order, dated November 17, 2014, ECF
No. 17. Plaintiff filed a response but did not file any additional proof of service. See Pl.’s Service
Response. The gravamen of her response appears to be that there is no difference between suing
DeWine in his individual capacity and suing him in his official capacity such that additional
service is necessary in order to proceed against DeWine in his individual capacity. See id. at 1. 6
Plaintiff attempted to amend her complaint by filing an amended complaint without an
accompanying motion. The Court denied leave to file that amended complaint because it did not
comport with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a). The Court informed
if Plaintiffs seek to file an amended complaint, Plaintiffs must file a motion
requesting to do so with the Court. That motion shall include a statement
indicating whether the opposing parties consent to the amendment and shall
include a copy of the proposed amended complaint. In the motion, Plaintiffs must
also explain the reasons for seeking to amend the complaint, including a
description of any of the original claims that now being dropped, any new claims
that are now being added, or any claims being modified.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
The Franklin Country Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), arguing that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over
them, and pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), arguing that the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction over Judge Cocroft because of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
Moreover, the Court is obligated to assure itself of its jurisdiction “whether or not the parties
challenge it.” Wagner v. Fed. Election Comm’n, 717 F.3d 1007, 1010 (D.C. Cir. 2013); accord
Fogo De Chao (Holdings) Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., 769 F.3d 1127, 1138 (D.C. Cir.
When personal jurisdiction is challenged under Rule 12(b)(2), the plaintiff bears the
burden of establishing a factual basis for asserting personal jurisdiction over a defendant. See
Crane v. N.Y. Zoological Soc’y, 894 F.2d 454, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1990). To establish that personal
jurisdiction exists, the plaintiff cannot rest on bare allegations or conclusory statements but
“must allege specific acts connecting [each] defendant with the forum.” Second Amendment
Found. v. U.S. Conference of Mayors, 274 F.3d 521, 524 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (internal quotation
marks omitted). “To make such a showing, the plaintiff is not required to adduce evidence that
meets the standards of admissibility reserved for summary judgment and trial[;]” but rather, the
plaintiff may “rest her arguments on the pleadings, ‘bolstered by such affidavits and other
written materials as [she] can otherwise obtain.’ ” Urban Inst. v. FINCON Servs., 681 F. Supp.
2d 41, 44 (D.D.C. 2010) (quoting Mwani v. bin Laden, 417 F.3d 1, 7 (D.C. Cir. 2005)). In the
case of a pro se plaintiff, although the Court is required to construe the pro se complaint
liberally, see Howerton v. Ogletree, 466 F. Supp. 2d 182, 183 (D.D.C. 2006), “[p]ro se plaintiffs
Order, dated November 17, 2014, ECF No. 18. Plaintiff has not subsequently filed an
are not freed from the requirement to plead an adequate jurisdictional basis for their claims.”
Gomez v. Aragon, 705 F. Supp. 2d 21, 23 (D.D.C. 2010) (citation omitted).
“Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction” and can adjudicate only those cases
entrusted to them by the Constitution or an Act of Congress. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The Court begins with the presumption that it does not have
subject matter jurisdiction over a case. Id. To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1), a plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction
over its claim. Moms Against Mercury v. FDA, 483 F.3d 824, 828 (D.C. Cir. 2007). In
determining whether there is jurisdiction, the Court may “consider the complaint supplemented
by undisputed facts evidenced in the record, or the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts
plus the court’s resolution of disputed facts.” Coal. for Underground Expansion v. Mineta, 333
F.3d 193, 198 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (citations omitted). 7
As noted above, the Franklin County Defendants move to dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and pursuant to Rule 12(b) (2) for lack of personal
jurisdiction. They also move to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to timely and
properly state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
“Generally, a court must convert a motion under Rule 12 into a Rule 56 motion for summary
judgment when it considers matters outside the pleadings. A court need not do so, however, if
the outside material is considered to determine jurisdictional questions.” Winston & Strawn LLP
v. Law Firm of John Arthur Eaves, No. 1:13-CV-01940 (JDB), — F. Supp. 2d —, 2014 WL
2598748, at *2 (D.D.C. June 11, 2014) (citations omitted). Because all of the questions that the
Court considers are jurisdictional, the Court need not convert the motion to dismiss into one for
summary judgment even inasmuch as the Court considers limited materials outside of the
Generally, courts must evaluate a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter or personal
jurisdiction prior to considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. See, e.g.,
Feinstein v. Resolution Trust Corp., 942 F.2d 34, 40 (1st Cir. 1991) (“[C]ourts should ordinarily
satisfy jurisdictional concerns before addressing the merits of a civil action.”); Combs v. Bakker,
886 F.3d 673, 675 (4th Cir. 1989) (finding the district court’s decision to first address
defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion “awkward” and that the “proper course of review” required
defendants’ Rule 12(b)(2) motion to be considered first). Although this rule need not be
mechanically applied, as this Court has previously observed:
Not only does logic compel initial consideration of the issue of jurisdiction over
the defendant—a court without such jurisdiction lacks power to dismiss a
complaint for failure to state a claim—but the functional difference that flows
from the ground selected for dismissal likewise compels considering jurisdictional
and venue questions first. A dismissal for lack of jurisdiction or improper venue
does not preclude a subsequent action in an appropriate forum, whereas a
dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted can be
granted with prejudice.
IMark Marketing Servs., LLC v. Geoplast S.p.A, 753 F. Supp. 2d 141, 149 (D.D.C. 2010)
(quoting Arrowsmith v. United Press Int’l, 320 F.2d 219, 221 (2d Cir. 1963)). In view of these
considerations, and because this Court concludes that it plainly lacks both personal jurisdiction
over the Franklin County Defendants and subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims
against those defendants, the Court does not reach the Franklin County Defendants’ remaining
arguments for dismissal.
In addition, while Defendant DeWine has not appeared in this case, this Court must raise
the issue of subject matter jurisdiction over the claims against him sua sponte. See NetworkIP,
LLC v. FCC, 548 F.3d 116, 120 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (“Indeed, [federal courts] must raise [the issue],
because while arguments in favor of subject matter jurisdiction can be waived by inattention or
deliberate choice, [federal courts] are forbidden—as [ ] court[s] of limited jurisdiction—from
acting beyond [their] authority, and ‘no action of the parties can confer subject-matter
jurisdiction upon a federal court.’ ” Id. (quoting Akinseye v. District of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970,
971 (D.C. Cir. 2003)).
The Court addresses the multiple jurisdictional bases for dismissing the claims in this
action in turn. Lastly, the Court addresses Plaintiff’s two motions for default judgment.
A. No Personal Jurisdiction over Franklin County Defendants
The Franklin County Defendants argue both that Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient
contacts with the District of Columbia to give this Court personal jurisdiction over them and that,
irrespective of the allegations themselves, such contacts do not exist. See Franklin County Defs.’
Mot. to Dismiss at 3-4. While Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss, Plaintiff did
not respond to any of the Franklin County Defendants’ arguments with respect to jurisdiction. 8
See Pl.’s Opp’n at 1-4. The Court agrees with the Franklin County Defendants that this Court has
no personal jurisdiction over them, requiring dismissal of all claims against them.
In Plaintiff’s opposition, Plaintiff primarily relies on an opinion from the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Ohio, In re Foreclosure Cases, 2007 WL 3232430, at *1 (N.D.
Ohio Oct. 31, 2007). Plaintiff is correct that “[i]n that case, Judge Boyko dismissed 14
foreclosure actions at one time with scathing footnote comments about the actions of the
Plaintiffs and their attorneys.” Pl.’s Opp’n at 2. But Plaintiff misses the fundamental distinction
between those cases and the case before this Court: Judge Boyko was considering a series of
foreclosure actions brought in federal court in the first instance while this action is a collateral
attack on a foreclosure judgment in Ohio state court. See 2007 WL 3232430, at *1-2. Plaintiff’s
reliance on Fed. Home Loan Mortgage Corp. v. Schwartzwald, 979 N.E.2d 1214, 1216
reconsideration denied sub nom. Fed. Home Loan Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald, 979 N.E.2d 347
(Ohio 2012), is similarly unavailing. In Schwartzwald, the Ohio Supreme Court held that a
plaintiff has no standing in a foreclosure action when it “failed to establish an interest in the note
or mortgage at the time it filed suit.” Id. at 1220. The Ohio Supreme Court also held that the
“Real-Party-in-Interest Rule” does not allow a litigant to cure the absence of standing by actions
subsequent to the filing of a suit. Id. at 1223. While these cases illuminate Ohio substantive
foreclosure law, none of them help demonstrate that this Court has jurisdiction in this action. To
the contrary, Plaintiff’s reliance on these cases confirms that she is trying to challenge a statecourt foreclosure judgment in this action. As discussed below, this Court has no jurisdiction over
such an attempt.
To determine whether it may exercise jurisdiction over a particular defendant, a court in
this district must engage in a two-part inquiry. First, the Court must determine that the relevant
District of Columbia statutes authorize either general jurisdiction, D.C. Code § 13-423, or
specific jurisdiction, D.C. Code § 13-423. See GTE New Media Servs., Inc. v. BellSouth Corp.,
199 F.3d 1343, 1347 (D.C. Cir. 2000); see also Edmond v. United States Postal Serv. Gen.
Counsel, 949 F.2d 415, 424 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (even when subject matter jurisdiction is predicated
on a federal question, plaintiffs must rely on the D.C. long-arm statute to assert personal
jurisdiction over out-of-district defendants). If a defendant’s contacts within the forum are
“continuous and systematic,” a court may exercise general jurisdiction over a defendant with
respect to a suit arising out of any subject matter unrelated to the defendant’s activities within the
forum. See Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 415-16 (1984). A
court may exercise specific jurisdiction to entertain controversies based on acts of a defendant
that “touch and concern the forum.” Kopff v. Battaglia, 425 F. Supp. 2d 76, 81 (D.D.C. 2006)
(citing Steinberg v. Int’l Criminal Police Org., 672 F.2d 927, 928 (D.C. Cir. 1981)). Second, the
court must find that its exercise of jurisdiction comports with the requirements of constitutional
due process. See GTE New Media Servs., 199 F.3d at 1347.
General jurisdiction allows a court to adjudicate any claims brought against a defendant.
See Steinberg v. Int’l Criminal Police Org., 672 F.2d at 929. The D.C. Code grants a District of
Columbia court general jurisdiction over a person who is “domiciled in, … or maintaining his …
principal place of business in, the District of Columbia.” D.C. Code § 13-422. But the Franklin
County Defendants are not residents of the District of Columbia, Franklin County Defs.’ Mot. to
Dismiss at 3, and Plaintiff does not allege that they conduct any business in the District of
Columbia; to the contrary, Plaintiff alleges that they are officers of Franklin County, Ohio. 9 They
are accordingly not subject to general jurisdiction under section 13-422.
Specific jurisdiction arises where a defendant engages in certain kinds of conduct
enumerated in the District’s long-arm statute. 10 See D.C. Code § 13-423(a). A court with
specific jurisdiction may only adjudicate those claims that arise out of the conduct that triggered
its jurisdiction. Id. § 13-423(b). Plaintiff does not specifically allege that the Franklin County
Defendants engaged in any of the conduct listed in section 13-423(a). Indeed, there is no
connection to the District of Columbia – of any sort – alleged. 11 Because Plaintiff failed to allege
any conduct satisfying any of the prongs of section 13-423(a), this Court lacks specific
jurisdiction over the Franklin County Defendants.
Even if the Court concluded that the statutory provisions of the D.C. Code supported
jurisdiction, this Court could not exercise jurisdiction unless it comported with the requirements
The Court takes judicial notice that Franklin County, Ohio, is approximately 400 miles from
The D.C. long-arm statute provides that a District of Columbia court may exercise personal
jurisdiction over a person as to a claim for relief arising from the person’s (1) transacting any
business in the District of Columbia; (2) contracting to supply services in the District of
Columbia; (3) causing tortious injury in the District of Columbia by an act or omission in the
District of Columbia; (4) causing tortious injury in the District of Columbia by an act or
omission outside the District of Columbia if he regularly does or solicits business, engages in any
other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed,
or services rendered, in the District of Columbia; (5) having an interest in, using, or possessing
real property in the District of Columbia; (6) contracting to insure or act as surety for or on any
person, property, or risk, contract, obligation, or agreement located, executed, or to be performed
within the District of Columbia at the time of the contracting, unless the parties otherwise
provide in writing; or (7) marital or parent and child relationship in the District of Columbia
(subject to certain enumerated conditions). D.C. Code § 13-423.
Indeed, in a similar case in this district, Bradley v. DeWine, another judge in this district
concluded that the court had no jurisdiction over local Ohio officials on the basis of any tortious
injury caused in the District of Columbia by an act or omission outside of the District of
Columbia even though the plaintiff in that case lived in the District of Columbia—whereas
Plaintiff here lives in Ohio. See Bradley v. DeWine, No. 14-cv-110 (JDB), — F. Supp. 2d —,
2014 WL 3056513, at *5 (D.D.C. July 8, 2014).
of due process. The Court concludes that it would not comport with due process. This
determination turns on whether a defendant’s “minimum contacts” with the District of Columbia
establish that “the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.” Int’l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (internal citation and
quotation marks omitted). Such minimum contacts must arise from some act by which the
defendant “purposefully avails” himself of the privilege of conducting activities within the
District of Columbia, invoking the “benefits and protections of its laws.” Asahi Metal Indus. Co.
v. Super. Ct. of Cal., Solano Cty., 480 U.S. 102, 109 (1987). Put differently, the court “must
insure that the defendant’s conduct and connection with the forum ‘are such that he should
reasonably anticipate being hauled into court there.’ ” Marshall v. Labor & Indus., State of
Washington, 89 F. Supp. 2d 4, 9 (D.D.C. 2000) (citing World–Wide Volkswagen Corp. v.
Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980)). Because Plaintiff does not allege that the Franklin County
Defendants engaged in any conduct whatsoever in the District of Columbia, there is nothing to
suggest that these defendants have purposefully availed themselves of the protections of D.C.
law. See Asahi Metal Indus. Co., 480 U.S. at 109. Nothing about the underlying events, relating
to a foreclosure proceeding in Ohio, would lead these three county officials to expect that
participating in the foreclosure process would open them to suit in a D.C. federal court.
In sum, Plaintiff has failed to allege facts that would allow this Court to exercise personal
jurisdiction over the Franklin County Defendants. As a result, this Court lacks personal
jurisdiction over these defendants, and the Court will grant their Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss
Plaintiff’s claims against them.
B. Rooker-Feldman Doctrine Bars Claims Against All Defendants
The Franklin County Defendants argue that there is no subject matter jurisdiction “to the
extent Terry challenges the decisions of Judge Cocroft” because of the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine. Franklin County Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at 4. In her opposition, Plaintiff does not
respond to the Franklin County Defendants’ argument based on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
See Pl.’s Opp’n at 1-3. Because the Court concludes that all claims in this action either challenge
the decisions of Judge Cocroft or are inextricably intertwined with that state-court judgment, the
Court concludes that all claims in this action, against all defendants, are barred by this doctrine.
The Court addresses this doctrine with respect to all defendants, including DeWine, because the
Court is “obligated to assure [itself] that [subject matter] jurisdiction exists.” 12 Fogo De Chao,
769 F.3d at 1138.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1257, the United States Supreme Court has jurisdiction to review
“[f]inal judgments or decrees rendered by the highest court of a State.” 28 U.S.C. § 1257. The
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, a judge-made corollary of section 1257, makes this jurisdiction
exclusive. Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S. 459, 463 (2006) (quoting Dist. of Columbia Court of
Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983)). The Rooker-Feldman doctrine “prevents the
lower federal courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by ‘state-court losers’
challenging ‘state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced.’ ”
Id. at 460 (citations omitted). “The doctrine applies only in ‘limited circumstances,’ where a
In the Court’s order dated October 14, 2014, ECF No. 15, the Court informed Plaintiff that it
“question[ed] whether it has jurisdiction over the claims against DeWine because of, first, the
principles of state sovereign immunity and, second, the doctrine barring collateral attacks on
state-court judgments in federal court,” citing several doctrines that might deprive the Court of
jurisdiction, including the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. The Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause
“that this Court has jurisdiction against DeWine notwithstanding the cases cited above.” In her
response, Plaintiff did not provide any legal arguments about why the cited doctrines did not bar
jurisdiction. See Pl.’s Show Cause Response at 1-5.
party in effect seeks to take an appeal of an unfavorable state-court decision to a lower federal
court.” Id. at 466 (citation omitted). Therefore, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars a federal court
from exercising jurisdiction over a claim only if three criteria are met. See id. at 462.
First, “[t]he party against whom the doctrine is invoked must have actually been a party
to the prior state-court judgment.” Id. Here, the prior state-court judgment at issue is the
foreclosure decree issued against Plaintiff in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. See
Franklin County Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at 2; Compl. ¶ 1. Indeed, Plaintiff describes her
participation in the underlying foreclosure action in order to explain why she is seeking relief in
this action. See id. (“In this particular instance, Richard and Lue Cindy Terry … was fraudulently
foreclosed on in the case of 13-CV-006485 and seeks to hold Defendants accountable to
readdress in the matter with this court.”) (emphasis omitted). The first prong of the RookerFeldman doctrine is satisfied.
Second, “the claim raised in the federal suit must have been actually raised or
inextricably intertwined with the state-court judgment.” Lance, 546 U.S. at 462. Because it is
unclear exactly what Plaintiff is claiming in this action, other than generally seeking redress with
respect to the foreclosure judgment, it is unclear whether Plaintiff actually raised the claims in
this action in the foreclosure action. But claims are “inextricably intertwined” with a prior statecourt judgment unless their “core” is “independent” of that judgment. See Stanton v. Dist. of
Columbia Court of Appeals, 127 F.3d 72, 76 (D.C. Cir. 1997); see also Kenmen Eng’g v. City of
Union, 314 F.3d 468, 476 (10th Cir. 2002) (“[W]e [ask] whether the state-court judgment
caused, actually and proximately, the injury for which the federal-court plaintiff seeks redress.”).
Insofar as the Court can make sense of the complaint, Plaintiff’s complaint appears to
allege that defendants conspired to abuse the judicial process in order to unlawfully deprive her
of her property. See Compl. at 3 (“Each Defendant KNOWINGLY and INTENTIONALLY
engaged in a Conspiracy to commit and did commit the act of conducting a PONZI SCHEME,
INSIDER TRADING, INSURANCE FRAUD, REAL ESTATE and MORTGAGE FRAUD,
WIRE FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING, STRAW BUYING and TAX EVASION as on going
criminal enterprise”). Far from being “independent” of the Franklin County Court judgment, the
“core” of Plaintiff’s claims is that the judgment of foreclosure was invalid. Indeed, among other
relief, she seeks to overturn that judgment. See Compl. at 3 (“Any foreclosure decree, public sale
or Sheriff’s auction is demanded as Cease and desist upon filing of this complaint”); id. at 20
(“Plaintiff Moves this Court … to hold each individual Defendant liable for the crimes stated and
to enforce the Possession and Revenue Recovery of the property in question”). Plaintiff’s claims
are therefore “inextricably intertwined” with the state-court judgment, satisfying the RookerFeldman doctrine’s second requirement. 13
The third and final requirement of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine is that “the federal claim
must not be parallel to the state-court claim.” Lance, 546 U.S. at 462. A federal claim is parallel
to a state-court claim if it is filed after the state-court claim, but before the state court enters
judgment. See Exxon Mobil v. Saudi Basic Indus., 544 U.S. 280, 289-91 (2005). Therefore, the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine deprives a federal court of jurisdiction over a claim only if it was
brought in federal court after judgment was entered in a state court. Id. In this proceeding,
Plaintiff “seeks to challenge the alleged free and clear title awarded to [the bank] in Civil
foreclosure Case No. 13-CV-06485.” Compl. at 1. While the date of the foreclosure decree
issued in that action is not clear from the complaint, the complaint effectively acknowledges that
Federal claims are independent of state-court judgments when they lodge a federal law
challenge to a state rule. Stanton, 127 F.3d at 76 (“Applying Rooker-Feldman requires us to draw
a line between permissible general challenges to rules and impermissible attempts to review
judgments.”). Plaintiff does not lodge such a challenge here.
the decree was issued prior to this lawsuit by referring to that judgment multiple times. In
addition, the Court takes judicial notice of the state-court docket in Franklin County Case No.
13-CV-006485, 14 which shows that the foreclosure order was issued on June 9, 2014. The
complaint in this action was filed on June 25, 2014 (and signed by Plaintiff the previous day)—
after the Franklin County judgment issued. A foreclosure decree is “a final judgment of [an
Ohio] state court.” In re Hoff, 187 B.R. 190, 193 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 1995). Given that Plaintiff
filed her complaint in this Court after a final judgment was issued in the state-court foreclosure
proceeding, which she seeks to challenge, the federal court claims are not parallel to the statecourt proceeding. This sequence of events satisfies the Rooker-Feldman doctrine’s third and final
The claims in this action meet all three of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine’s criteria:
Plaintiff was a party to the state-court foreclosure proceeding, the claims in this action are
inextricably intertwined with that proceeding (if not actually raised in that proceeding), and this
action was filed after the state-court final judgment. Although the Franklin County Defendants
raise this defense only with respect to Judge Cocroft, this analysis is applicable to all three of the
Franklin County Defendants, as well as to Defendant DeWine. None of the prongs of the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine depend on the identity of the defendant. As long as the claims satisfy
the three criteria of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, as they do, this Court has no jurisdiction.
A copy of the docket was filed in a related case before this Court, Richard C. Terry v. First
Merit National Bank. See Terry v. First Merit National Bank, 14-cv-1197-CKK (D.D.C), Mot. to
Dismiss, ECF No. 13, Ex. 2. The Court also confirmed the sequence of events by visiting the
public docket of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. See Franklin County Clerk of
last visited December 16, 2014.
Accordingly, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims against every
defendant in this action.
C. Jurisdiction Over Claims Against DeWine
Despite the Court’s determination that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars all claims
against DeWine, the Court reviews several other jurisdictional bases for dismissing the claims
against DeWine in the interest of thoroughness and given the lack of clarity in Plaintiff’s filings.
Because it is less than clear what relief Plaintiff seeks from DeWine and whether she is
proceeding against him in his official capacity or his individual capacity, the Court considers
those multiple possibilities.
1. Nature of Claims Against DeWine
It appears that Plaintiff seeks both monetary damages and injunctive relief in this
action. 15 See Compl. at 8 (“The amount of this Civil Complaint is set at One Hundred NinetyFive Thousand ($USD195,000.00) Dollars”); id. at 20 (“Plaintiff Moves this Court, through
supervision of the United States Attorney General to refund the Civil Demand to herein
Association and Plaintiff and to hold each individual Defendant liable for the crimes stated and
to enforce the Possession and Revenue Recovery of the property in question.”). Plaintiff does not
distinguish among the defendants with respect to her claim for these monetary damages. See
While Plaintiff stated in her complaint that she sought $195,000, she appears to seek a vastly
higher amount in the default judgment motions. See Pl.’s Second Default Judgment Motion at 1
(“…Move this Court for an Immediate Default Judgment in the amount of the Demand, or
($104,799,000.00) for the Superseding government entity of the Federal Reserve Association of
Fite & Co. Holdings”). The Court notes that this is approximately the amount claimed in a
separate action in this district brought by 180 East Broad Street Partners, LLC doing business
“by and through” the Federal Reserve Association of Fite & Co. Holdings, demanding damages
in the amount of $104,799,059.54. See 180 East Broad Street Partners LLC v. Ohio Department
of Taxation, 13-cv-1285-RJL (D.D.C.), Compl., ECF No. 1, at 6. The Court is unclear whether
that similarity suggests a drafting error in this action. In any event, the amount of the demand has
no relevance because the Court has no jurisdiction over any claims in this action.
Compl. ¶ 8 (“making each individual Defendant liable…”). Insofar as Plaintiff seeks injunctive
relief with respect to the foreclosure and sale of the subject property, as well as seeks to compel
investigations about alleged fraud surrounding the foreclosure, Plaintiff appears to seek such
relief from Defendant DeWine. See, e.g., Compl. at 2-3 (“Although this instant matter is filed
separate from the evidentiary foreclosure case; all consolidated directly implicates the Attorney
General for the State of Ohio.”)
In response to the Court’s October 14, 2014, Order requiring Plaintiff to show cause why
this Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims against defendant, Plaintiff clarified that she
was only suing DeWine in his individual capacity:
Defendant DeWine was not sued in the capacity of “Attorney General”, as that
would create a conflict of interest with the U.S. Government that would result in a
dismissal of the herein case against Plaintiff. Defendant DeWine being sued in his
individual capacity does not insulate or protect this Defendant from direct suit in
this venue for not protecting the consumer credit rights of Plaintiff that resulted in
a foreclosure decree being placed against Plaintiff in the Franklin County Court of
Pl.’s Show Cause Response at 2. Because Plaintiff does not explain how she seeks any such
injunctive relief from DeWine in his personal capacity when all such relief appears to pertain to
his role as a government official, 16 the Court addresses the relief sought with respect to both
DeWine’s individual and official capacities.
2. No Jurisdiction Over Claims for Money Damages Against DeWine in Official Capacity
Insofar as Plaintiff seeks to recover money damages from the State of Ohio by suing
DeWine in his official capacity, this Court has no subject matter jurisdiction over the claims in
Ultimately, however, the Court need not dwell on this puzzle because of the conclusion below
that Plaintiff has not properly served DeWine in his individual capacity.
this action because of state sovereign immunity. 17 “[A]n unconsenting State is immune from
suits brought in federal courts by her own citizens as well as by citizens of another State.”
Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 663 (1974). Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity
protects state officials sued in their official capacities, as well. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473
U.S. 159, 167 (1985).
“Although a state can waive its sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment,
waiver is the exception rather than the rule.” Bradley v. DeWine, 2014 WL 3056513, at *4; see
also Edelman, 415 U.S. at 671-74 (“The mere fact that a State participates in a [federal] program
... is not sufficient to establish consent on the part of the State to be sued in the federal courts.”);
Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 72 (1996) (“[T]he Eleventh Amendment prevents
congressional authorization of suits by private parties against unconsenting States.”). While
Plaintiff claims that the State of Ohio has waived its sovereign immunity pursuant to the
Eleventh Amendment, see Compl. at 2, she provides no support for the conclusion that Ohio has
waived its immunity from suit in federal court. Indeed, it appears that none exists. See Bradley v.
DeWine, 2014 WL 3056513, at * 4; Lee Testing & Eng’g v. Ohio Dept. of Transp., 855 F. Supp.
2d 722, 726 (S.D. Ohio 2012) (“Ohio has not waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity from
suits for money damages in federal court.”); cf. Turker v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. and Corr., 157
F.3d 453, 457 (6th Cir. 1998) (Ohio has not waived immunity with respect to suits for violations
of state law in federal court). Plaintiff has failed to carry her burden of showing that Ohio has
waived its sovereign immunity and that, therefore, this Court has jurisdiction over a money
Even though DeWine never filed an appearance in this action and, therefore, made no
arguments about sovereign immunity, DeWine raised precisely this defense in another case in
this district. See Bradley v. DeWine, 2014 WL 3056513, at *3 (“DeWine first argues that he is
immune from Bradley’s claims for money damages under the Eleventh Amendment.”). In that
case, the district judge concluded that the sovereign immunity of the State of Ohio deprived the
court of subject matter jurisdiction over the money damages claim. See id. at *4.
damages claim. See Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377 (concluding that burden of demonstrating Court’s
jurisdiction falls on Plaintiff). The Eleventh Amendment deprives this Court of subject matter
jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s money damages claim against DeWine in his official capacity.
3. Insufficient Service of Process on DeWine in Personal Capacity
As an initial matter, whether DeWine was properly served is a jurisdictional issue.
Winston & Strawn LLP, 2014 WL 2598748, at *1 (“ ‘[F]ederal courts lack the power to assert
personal jurisdiction over a defendant unless the procedural requirements of effective service of
process are satisfied.’ ”) (quoting Mann v. Castiel, 681 F.3d 368, 372 (D.C. Cir. 2012)). “It is
well established … that ‘before a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant, there
must be more than notice to the defendant.’ ” Freedom Watch, Inc. v. Org. of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries, 766 F.3d 74, 81 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (quoting Omni Capital Intern., Ltd. v.
Rudolf Wolff & Co., 484 U.S. 97, 104 (1987)). Indeed, notice “ ‘cannot by itself validate an
otherwise defective service.’ ” Id. (quoting Grand Entertainment Grp. v. Star Media Sales, Inc.,
988 F.2d 476, 492 (3d Cir. 1993). Accordingly, the Court considers sua sponte whether there
was proper service of process on DeWine in his personal capacity. 18
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m), “[i]f a defendant is not served within
120 days after the complaint is filed, the court—on motion or on its own after notice to the
plaintiff—must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service
be made within a specified time.” The 120 day period allowed by Rule 4(m) elapsed on October
23, 2014. But Rule 4(m) also requires the Court to “extend the time for service for an appropriate
period” if “the plaintiff shows good cause for the failure.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m). In response to
Indeed, the fact that DeWine did not raise this issue as a result of not filing an appearance is
consistent with—rather than contrary to—the conclusion that he was not properly served.
the Court’s Order dated October 14, 2014, asking Plaintiff to demonstrate why the Court has
subject matter jurisdiction over the claims against Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine,
Plaintiff responded that she had not sued DeWine in “in the capacity of ‘Attorney General,’ ” but
rather had sued him in his individual capacity. In a subsequent order, dated November 12, 2014,
the Court informed Plaintiff that “[i]nsofar as Plaintiffs are suing DeWine in his individual
capacity, the docket does not reflect that they have effectively served him in this capacity.” The
Court extended the deadline for filing proof of service on the docket, and informed Plaintiff that
she must file proof of proper service by November 29, 2014, to avoid dismissal of the claims
against DeWine in his individual capacity. Plaintiff responded but did not file any additional
proof of service on the docket. Instead, she first appears to argue that there is no distinction
among the various capacities in which one could sue DeWine. See Pl.’s Service Response at 1
(“The matter deal with process of service upon the ‘individual MICHAEL DEWINE as opposed
to the public office of ‘ATTORNEY GENERAL’. … Plaintiff wishes to point out that this Court
cannot argue that MICHAEL DEWINE was in fact ‘Elected’ to the position of ‘ATTORNEY
GENERAL’; ‘OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL’; or ‘ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE
STATE OF OHIO’. All of these titles are essentially the same, despite being referenced to as
‘individual’. …”). Although she does not present any legal arguments, Plaintiff also appears to
claim that the prior service was proper. See id. at 3 (“Lastly, process of service was delivered to
the office of MICHAEL DEWINE or ‘ATTORNEY GENERAL’ by United States Certified
Mail, Return Receipt Requested.”) This response does not demonstrate that DeWine was
properly served in his individual capacity.
Ultimately, Plaintiff has yet to effectively serve DeWine in his individual capacity. The
only proof of service filed on the docket is an affidavit of service and return receipt card,
showing receipt of the mail delivery addressed to Michael DeWine, at 30 E. Broad Street, 16th
Floor, Columbus, OH 43215. The Court takes judicial notice that this is the address of the office
of the Attorney General of Ohio. Although service by mail is not one of the methods of service
generally allowed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4, Rule 4(e) also allows service “following
state law for serving a summons in an action brought in courts of general jurisdiction in the state
where the district court is located or where service is made.” Both the District of Columbia and
the State of Ohio allow service by mail in certain circumstances. But Plaintiff has not effectively
used this method of service to serve DeWine in his individual capacity.
With respect to D.C. law, Plaintiff has not provided the requisite proof that the individual
that received the service of process was “authorized to accept service on behalf of defendant in
their individual capacity[y].” Anderson v. Gates, No. CV 12-1243 (JDB), — F. Supp. 2d —,
2013 WL 6355385, at *5 (D.D.C. Dec. 6, 2013); see also Toms v. Hantman, 530 F. Supp. 2d
188, 191 (D.D.C. 2008) (no proper service under D.C. law by sending the summons and
complaint by certified mail to defendant’s business address). Although the signature of the
person who signed on behalf of the delivery to the Ohio Attorney General’s office is not entirely
legible, it is a fair inference that it was someone authorized to receive business mail only. 19
There is no reason to assume that such a person was authorized to receive service of process
upon DeWine in his individual capacity, and Plaintiff has not even attempted to show that the
recipient was so authorized.
With respect to Ohio law, the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure allow service by certified or
express mail “evidenced by return receipt signed by any person.” Ohio R. Civ. P. 4.1(a)(1)(A).
While the exact name is not clear, it is clear that it is not Defendant DeWine’s signature. The
first name appears to be Harvey and the last name appears to begin with a “W.” See Affidavit of
Service, ECF No. 3, at 2.
The Ohio Supreme Court has acknowledged the risks in service by certified mail because of “the
oftentimes numerous intermediate, and frequently uninterested, parties participating in the chain
of delivery.” Akron-Canton Regional Airport Auth. v. Swinehart, 406 N.E.2d 811, 813-14 (Ohio
1980). “[T]he best course of action, however, is not to entirely foreclose service to individuals at
their business address, but rather to examine each case upon its particular facts to determine if
notice was reasonably calculated to reach the interested party.” Id. at 814. In these
circumstances, the Court concludes that service to Attorney General DeWine at his work
address, as represented by Plaintiff, was not reasonably calculated to give him notice that he is
being sued in his individual capacity. 20 Neither the way in which the delivery was addressed nor
the complaint itself makes it clear that it was being sent to DeWine in his individual capacity.
With that delivery in hand, a named-but-unidentified person signed for the delivery containing
the complaint, but Plaintiff has provided no evidence that such an individual was authorized to
accept the package as an agent for Defendant DeWine in his individual capacity. Cf. id. (service
by certified mail must comport with the requirements of due process); Mullane v. Central
Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 314 (1950) (“An elementary and fundamental
requirement of due process in any proceeding which is to be accorded finality is notice
reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency
of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections.”)
Accordingly, insofar as Plaintiff seeks to proceed in this action against DeWine in his
personal capacity, those claims are dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(5) for insufficient service of process.
The Court informed Plaintiff of this very conclusion in its November 12, 2014, Order, but
Plaintiff did nothing to remedy the ineffective service.
In sum, to the extent that Plaintiff seeks monetary damages by suing DeWine in his
official capacity, those claims are dismissed because the Court has no jurisdiction over them as a
result of state sovereign immunity. To the extent that Plaintiff seeks any relief from DeWine in
his personal capacity, those claims are dismissed because of insufficient service of process. In
addition, as discussed above, all claims against the Franklin County Defendants are dismissed
because of the lack of personal jurisdiction over them, and all claims in this action are dismissed
because of the absence of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
D. Motions for Default Judgment
Plaintiff filed an initial  Motion for Immediate Default Judgment and Award before
any Defendant had filed an appearance in this action. Pursuant to the schedule set by the Court in
response to the Franklin County Defendants’ request for an extension to respond to the complaint
and to that default judgment motion, the Franklin County Defendants filed a  Motion to
Dismiss and an  opposition to Plaintiff’s first Default Judgment Motion. Five days after the
Franklin County Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff filed a second  Motion for
Default Judgment and Award. 21 The Court’s conclusion that all the claims in this action must be
dismissed for the several jurisdictional reasons discussed above all but resolves Plaintiff’s first
Insofar as the second default judgment motion was directed against the Franklin County
Defendants, it was improper because they had entered an appearance and filed a motion to
dismiss. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a) (“When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief
is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or
otherwise, the clerk must enter the party’s default.”); Lanny J. Davis & Associates LLC v.
Republic of Equatorial Guinea, 962 F. Supp. 2d 152, 161 (D.D.C. 2013) (“To obtain a default
judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55, a plaintiff must undertake two steps. First,
the plaintiff should request that the Clerk of the Court enter a default … . Once default has been
entered, the plaintiff may move for default judgment.”) (citations omitted). Insofar as this motion
was directed against Defendant DeWine, Plaintiff should have moved the Clerk of the Court to
enter a default prior to moving the court for a default judgment. But these procedural flaws have
no impact on the outcome because the Court lacks jurisdiction over all claims in this action in the
and second default judgment motions. The Court cannot enter a default judgment when it lacks
jurisdiction over an action. See Mohammadi v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 947 F. Supp. 2d 48, 61
(D.D.C. 2013), reconsideration denied (July 12, 2013). Given that the Court lacks jurisdiction
over all of the claims in this action, as the court concludes in the previous sections of this
opinion, a default judgment in this case, against any of the defendants, would be improper. Only
brief additional discussion is warranted in the interest of completeness.
Even though the Court did not analyze whether it had personal jurisdiction over DeWine
with respect to the motion to dismiss,22 that analysis is proper with respect to the motions for
default judgment. The Court “should satisfy itself that it has personal jurisdiction before entering
judgment against an absent defendant.” Mwani v. bin Laden, 417 F.3d at 6. However, “[i]n the
absence of an evidentiary hearing, although the plaintiffs retain ‘the burden of proving personal
jurisdiction, [they] can satisfy that burden with a prima facie showing.’ ” Id. at 7 (quoting
Edmond v. United States Postal Serv. Gen. Counsel, 949 F.2d 415, 424 (D.C. Cir. 1991)).
Although “plaintiffs are not limited to evidence that meets the standards of admissibility required
by the district court” and “may rest their argument on their pleadings, bolstered by such
affidavits and other written materials as they can otherwise obtain,” id., Plaintiff here has not
Plaintiff has not made any allegations, nor provided any other affidavits or documents,
suggesting that there is general jurisdiction or specific jurisdiction over DeWine pursuant to the
The Court did not analyze its personal jurisdiction over DeWine above with respect to its
dismissal of the claims in this action because “a court may not sua sponte dismiss for want of
personal jurisdiction, at least where a defendant has entered an appearance.” Kapar v. Kuwait
Airways Corp., 845 F.2d 1100, 1105 (D.C. Cir. 1988). Although this is a case where Defendant
DeWine has not entered an appearance, the Court need not decide whether this would be an
appropriate circumstance to consider dismissing claims against Defendant DeWine, sua sponte,
based on personal jurisdiction given that there are other grounds that require dismissal of those
laws of the District of Columbia. See D.C. Code §§ 13-422, 13-423. Plaintiff has not alleged that
DeWine has contacts with the District of Columbia that are “continuous and systematic”
supporting general jurisdiction. See Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, 466 U.S. at 415-16.
Specifically, Plaintiff has not alleged that DeWine either lives or works in Washington, D.C. 23
Nor has Plaintiff alleged that DeWine has any connections to the District of Columbia
with respect to this action in particular. Plaintiff’s two sole references to connections between the
Attorney General of Ohio and litigation in the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia are insufficient to establish specific jurisdiction. See Compl. at 17 ([E]ffective October
28, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued Exemplified
certificated documents to Plaintiff as part of a Non-Judicial proceeding against the Ohio
Department of Taxation and Attorney General Jim Petro of the Revenue Recovery Enforcement
Collection Section, supervised by Michael DeWine; Attorney General for the State of Ohio.”);
id. at 7. (“The Ohio Department of Taxation and Attorney General Jim Petro of the Revenue
Recovery Enforcement Collections Section was involved in a direct suit in the United States
District Court for the District of Columbia; Case No. 1:14-CV-00110-JDB.”). Being hauled into
court as a defendant, as DeWine was in the case that Plaintiff references, is far from enough to
establish that Defendant “purposefully availed” himself of the protections of D.C. law. See Asahi
Metal Indus. Co., 480 U.S. at 109. Ultimately, Plaintiff has not suggested any basis for the Court
to exercise personal jurisdiction over DeWine in this action. For this reason, in addition to all of
the reasons stated above, Plaintiff’s first and second default judgment motions are denied.
The Court notes that it would be unusual if DeWine did work or live in Washington, D.C.,
given that he is currently serving as the Attorney General of Ohio.
For the foregoing reasons, the Franklin County Defendants’  Motion to Dismiss is
GRANTED. The Court concludes that it does not have personal jurisdiction over the Franklin
Country Defendants and that it does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the claims against
those defendants as a result of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. The Court sua sponte dismisses all
the claims against Defendant DeWine. Not only are those claims barred by the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine as well, but the Court concludes that there is no jurisdiction over money damages claims
against DeWine in his official capacity because of Ohio’s sovereign immunity and that all the
claims against DeWine in his personal capacity fail because of ineffective service of process. In
addition, for the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES both Plaintiff’s first  Motion for
Immediate Default Judgment and Award and Plaintiff’s second  Motion for Immediate
Default Judgment and Award. Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES this action in its entirety. An
appropriate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
Dated: December 17, 2014
United States District Judge
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