Jean-Baptiste v. SAP, National Security Services, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Paul W. Grimm on 2/15/2017. (kns, Deputy Clerk)(c/m 2/15/17)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. PWG-17-95
SAP, NATIONAL SECURITY SERVICES INC.
And CORPORATION TRUST, INC.
Henri Jean-Baptiste filed his Complaint in this lawsuit on January 13,2017, along with a
Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, ECF NO.3. Because he appears to be indigent, Plaintiff's
motion shall be granted. For the reasons that follow, th~ Complaint must be dismissed.
Plaintiff asserts that this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
1331 and 28
CompI. ~ 1. Section 1331 provides that "[t]he district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States." 28 U .S.C.
1331. The federal district courts also have original jurisdiction over
actions where the matter in controversy is more than $75,000 and none of the defendants is a
citizen of the same state as any plaintiff. 28 U.S.c.
Under the "well-pleaded complaint" rule, the facts showing the existence of
subject matter jurisdiction "must be affirmatively alleged in the complaint."
Pinkley, Inc. v. City of Frederick, 191 F.3d 394, 399 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing
McNutt v. Gen'l Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178 (1936)). "A court is to
presume, therefore, that a case lies outside its limited jurisdiction unless and until
jurisdiction has been shown to be proper." United States v. Poole, 531 F.3d 263,
274 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377
(1994)). Moreover, the "burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction is on ...
the party asserting jurisdiction." Robb Evans & Assocs., LLC v. Holibaugh, 609
F.3d 359, 362 (4th Cir. 2010); accord Hertz v. Friend, 599 U.S. 77, 95 (2010);
McBurney v. Cuccinelli, 616 F.3d 393, 408 (4th Cir. 2010).
Naselnik v. Ideal Hyundai Buick GMC, No. RDB-16-3034, 2016 WL 7474519, at *1 (D. Md.
Dec. 29, 2016); see also Williams v. Holley, No. DKC-16-623, 2017 WL 550034, at *3 (D. Md.
Feb. 10,2017) ("As the party invoking the jurisdiction of this court, Plaintiff bears the burden of
proving the existence of subject matter jurisdiction."
(citing Piney Run Pres. Ass'n v. Cnty.
Comm'rs o/Carroll Cnty., 523 F.3d 453,459 (4th Cir. 2008))).
Plaintiff alleges state-law claims of "Loss of Consortium, Negligence, Defamation of
character, Conspiracy in wrongful Malicious prosecution, and Reckless Destruction of Property,"
as well as "actions against plaintiff in violation of State, Federal Laws, Statute 18 U.S.C.A.
Compi. 1. Certainly, Plaintiff cites a federal criminal statute, 18 U.S.C.
provides that it is a punishable offense to "pretend to be an officer or employee acting under the
authority of the United States or any department, agency, or officer [of the United States]" and
thereby "demand or obtain any money, paper, document, or thing of value." But, this statute
cannot provide the basis for this Court's jurisdiction in this civil action, because Plaintiff cannot
institute criminal charges or insist on criminal prosecution of a third party.
See Linda R. v.
Richard V, 410 U.S. 614 (1973) (private citizens lack a judicially cognizable interest in the
criminal prosecution of another).
He does not identify any other federal laws that Defendants
allegedly violated. Because the remainder of the claims are state-law claims, this Court does not
have federal question jurisdiction.
See 28 U.S.C.
It appears that Plaintiff names both SAP, National Security Services, Inc. ("SAP") and
Corporation Trust, Inc. as Defendants. Compi. 1. However, he does not allege that Corporation
Trust, Inc. engaged in any acts for which it would be liable to him. Rather, he simply asserts that
Corporation Trust, Inc. is SAP's resident agent. Id. ~ 4. Consequently, he fails to state a claim
against Corporation Trust, Inc. under any cause of action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). In any
event, if Corporation Trust, Inc., a Maryland-based company, were a defendant, Plaintiff could
not invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction, because he also is a Maryland citizen. See id. ~~ 2,
4; 28 U.S.C. ~ 1332(a)(l) (providing that the lawsuit must be "between ... citizens of different
States" for diversity jurisdiction to exist).
Therefore, any claims asserted against Corporation
Trust, Inc. will be dismissed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(l), (6).
Plaintiff asserts that "Defendant SAP is a private Corporation with its headquarter [s] in
Waldorf, Germany," and "there is diversity of citizenship and an amount in controversy greater
Id. ~~ 1, 5. Even if SAP, the only Defendant listed on the Civil Cover Sheet,
ECF No. 2-3, and the only Defendant discussed within the body of the Complaint, is the only
Defendant Plaintiff is suing, such that diversity jurisdiction exists, Plaintiff nonetheless fails to
state a claim against it.
Plaintiff asserts that he is suing Defendants under respondeat superior for the actions of
Executives Vemon A. Bailey, Vikki Jean-Baptiste, Robert B. Laurence, Laura
Carmack, Patricia Lavan, Patrick Rafferty, and Mark Testoni," all of whom worked for SAP.
Compl. 1 & ~~9-13. In 2015, Plaintiff filed a complaint raising claims similar to those alleged
in the pending case. See Jean-Baptiste, et al. v. SAP, National Security Services, et aI., Civil
Action No. PJM-15-187 (D. Md.). That complaint was dismissed on February 2, 2015.
Mem. Op. & Order, ECF Nos. 3 and 4 in Jean-Baptiste, PJM-15-187.
appeal of this Court's dismissal.
Plaintiff did not file an
In dismissing the complaint without prejudice, this Court
reasoned as follows:
Plaintiff Henri Jean-Baptiste is suing his ex-wife's employer because he
claims employees of SAP National Security Services ("SAP") conspired with her
to falsely charge him with domestic violence and, subsequently, with violating an
order of protection resulting in his incarceration and loss of his businesses in
2012. He further claims the purpose of this conspiracy was to cover up an extramarital affair his wife was having with her boss and to prevent him from reporting
their misconduct which would have resulted in the loss of a large contract they
were attempting to win for SAP. Records submitted with the Complaint as
exhibits indicate that Plaintiffs wife alleged he beat her, emotionally abused their
children, and threatened to kill her as a result of Plaintiffs unmedicated bi-polar
illness. The Complaint asserts that federal criminal statutes were violated in the
process of having Plaintiff charged with domestic violence and failure to obey the
order of protection. All of the claims of misconduct involve acts of alleged
misconduct committed by Plaintiffs ex-wife and her supervisor. Plaintiff asserts
Defendant SAP is liable under a theory of respondeat superior. He claims
negligence, defamation of character, reckless destruction of property, and
wrongful prosecution. ECF 1. Plaintiff provides no evidence that his criminal
conviction has been overturned on appeal or otherwise expunged. See State of
Maryland v. Jean-Baptiste, Case No. 4D00278324 (D. Md. for Mont. Co.), see
While a corporation may be sued for the tortious conduct of its employees,
that conduct must have occurred within the scope of their employment. See
Southern Management Corp. v. Taha, 378 Md. 461, 480, 836 A.2d 627 (Md.
2003). In the instant case, all of the alleged tortious conduct involved allegations
of domestic violence in the context of Plaintiffs marriage and his bald assertions
that Defendant's employees conspired with her to file criminal charges against
him. In order to be considered conduct within the scope of employment, "the act
must have been in furtherance of the employer's business and authorized by the
employer." Id. at 481, citing Sawyer v. Humphries, 322 Md. 247, 255, 587 A.2d
467 (Md. 1991). Authorized does not mean "authority expressly conferred, but
whether the act was such as was incident to the performance of the duties
entrusted to the employee by the employer." Ennis v. Crenca, 322 Md. 285, 294,
587 A.2d 485 (Md. 1991).
Plaintiffs claims that his ex-wife was having an affair with her boss and
was then encouraged or cajoled into pursuing domestic violence charges to hide
the affair, is not conduct attributable to the employer in furtherance of its
business. . ..
Mem. Op. 1-4 in Jean-Baptiste, PJM-15-187.
Here, again, as noted, Plaintiff invokes the theory of respondeat superior to impose
liability on SAP.
See CompI. 1.
Under Maryland law, vicarious liability for the tortious
conduct of employees is only viable where "the conduct is in furtherance of the business of the
employer and is authorized by the employer." Tall v. Bd. of Sch. Comm'rs, 706 A.2d 659, 667
(Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1998).
The common law doctrine of respondeat superior not only holds
employers liable for the actions of their employees in furtherance of the
employer's business, but also limits an employer's liability to those situations. It
is central to the doctrine that an employee's acts committed outside the scope of
employment, i.e., not in the furtherance of the employer's business, are not
attributable to the employer.
Antonio v. SSA Sec., Inc., 110 A.3d 654, 658-59 (Md. 2015). Consequently, "[t]he universe of
the types of employee acts for which the employer might be held strictly liable is limited." Id.
As this Court previously noted in Jean-Baptiste,
attributable to the employer and respondeat super'
PJM-15-187, the alleged conduct is not
es not apply. Thus, Plaintiff fails to state
ed without prejudice by separate Order.l
United States District Judge
The complaint is dismissed without prejudice to any claim Plaintiff chooses to file in
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