ZHOU v. HERRING et al
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. The Clerk of the Court shall mail a copy of this Memorandum Opinion to: HUIXUAN ZHOU, 7215 Pine Drive, Annandale, VA 22003. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 10/23/17. (DJS) Modified on 10/23/2017 (DJS).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
MARK R. HERRING et al.,
Civil Action No. 17-cv-2155 (TSC)
Plaintiff Huixuan Zhou, dissatisfied with the outcome of a custody dispute litigated in
Virginia involving her daughter and ex-husband, has filed at least seven federal lawsuits against
persons involved in that litigation, including the Judge, a social worker, an attorney representing
the social worker, the Clerk of the Court and the Court Appointed Special Advocate. See Zhou v.
Saxe, 1:16-cv-26-GBL-IDD (E.D. Va. Apr. 29, 2016), ECF No. 7. In this case she raises many
of the same claims as she raised in the other cases, but also names as defendants Virginia
Attorney General Mark Herring, Virginia Deputy Attorney General Sam Towell, former Virginia
Deputy Attorney General Rhodes Ritenour, Virginia Senior Assistant Attorney General Rita
Davis, and Virginia Assistant Attorney Generals Nicholas Simopoulos and Erin R. McNeill.1
For the reasons set forth below, the court will DISMISS this action without prejudice.
Zhou filed a very similar Complaint in this court eight months ago against the same
Defendants, but voluntarily dismissed the case before effectuating service of process. See Zhou
v. Herring, 17cv-227-TSC. Zhou also filed a lawsuit against an attorney who apparently
represented her ex-husband in their divorce and possibly in the custody case. See Zhou v. Griffin,
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While the court recognizes that complaints filed by pro se litigants are held to less
stringent standards than those applied to formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, see Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), even pro se litigants must comply with the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Jarrell v. Tisch, 656 F. Supp. 237, 239 (D.D.C. 1987). Rule 8(a) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure requires that complaints contain, inter alia, “a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). In other words,
Rule 8(a) requires that the plaintiff “give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555–56 (2007) (holding
that the complaint must contain enough “factual matter” to suggest liability) (citation and
Zhou’s Complaint fails to meet the Rule 8(a) standard. Most of her thirty-five page
Complaint involves alleged misconduct by judicial officials, public servants and medical
professionals involved in her custody litigation. None of those individuals are named
Defendants in this lawsuit. The few allegations she makes involving the Defendants in this case
are undecipherable, and/or she fails to set forth any viable legal theory to support her allegations.
Specifically, Zhou alleges that: (1) her daughter was “kidnapped by illegal means of being bribed
government officials, such as, Mark R. Herring”; (2) she was unable to obtain a police report
because of Herring; and (3) Herring harbored criminals. (Compl. pp. 1, 3). Zhou further alleges
that all Defendants provided aid to the alleged kidnappers of her daughter, including the
daughter’s father, in exchange for monetary bribes, and engaged in unexplained misconduct that
17-cv-616-TSC. After the court issued an order to show cause why the action should not be
transferred to Virginia for lack of venue, the case was dismissed on Zhou’s motion.
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led to dismissals of her prior lawsuits. (Id. pp. 6-8). These allegations are not sufficient to “give
the defendant[s] fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555–56. As such, dismissal is appropriate pursuant to Rule 8(a).
Additionally, Zhou’s claims do not appear to have any connection to the District of
Columbia. The general federal venue statute provides that a civil action may be brought in
“a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are
residents of the State in which the district is located”;
“a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions
giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is
the subject of the action is situated”; or
“if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as
provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant is
subject to the court's personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.”
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). None of these criteria are met in this case because all of the allegedly
illegal conduct appears to have occurred in Virginia.
In cases filed in the wrong venue, the district court “shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest
of justice, transfer such case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.” 28
U.S.C. § 1406(a). Because the basis of Zhou’s claims is unclear, the court will exercise its
discretion to dismiss this action, rather than transfer it to Virginia.
The Clerk of the Court shall mail a copy of this Memorandum Opinion to:
7215 Pine Drive
Annandale, VA 22003
Date: October 23, 2017
Tanya S. Chutkan
TANYA S. CHUTKAN
United States District Judge
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