The opinion of the court was delivered by: Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States District Judge.
Plaintiffs, husband and wife, both appearing pro se,*fn1
bring this action to recover possession of a cooperative
apartment appurtenant to shares of defendant North Shore Towers
Apartments, Inc., from which they were evicted pursuant to an order of
Queens County Housing Court Judge Anne Katz. (Am. Compl. (Doc. No. 6)
at ¶¶ 3, 5; Decl. of Jerry A. Montag in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss
("Montag Decl."), Ex. E (Doc. No. 43-2) at 2 (Decision and Order of
Housing Court Judge Katz).) Presently before the Court is defendant's
motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under
12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Mot. to Dismiss
(Doc. No. 43) at 1--2.) For the reasons set forth below, defendant's
motion is GRANTED.
On February 15, 2011, plaintiffs filed this action together with an affidavit in support of an Order to Show Cause for temporary and preliminary injunctive relief, seeking an order compelling defendant to restore plaintiffs to possession of the apartment. (Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at ¶¶ 4--5; Aff. in Supp (Doc. 1-2) at 1--2). The following day, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, expanding on the circumstances of their eviction. (Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 3--5.)
On February 17, 2011, the Court held a lengthy hearing on plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief. (See Minute Entry dated Feb. 17, 2011 (Doc. No. 5).) Present at the hearing were both plaintiffs, and then-counsel for defendant, Errol Brett, an attorney with North Shore Towers who represented defendant in prior state court proceedings against plaintiffs. The parties, at times contentiously, revealed a protracted history relating to plaintiffs' non-payment of maintenance and other charges, which culminated in plaintiffs' eviction and the forced sale of plaintiffs' apartment pursuant to order of both the Queens County Housing Court and the Queens County Supreme Court. In addition, plaintiff Sol Rosen presented a rambling, unfocused allegation that defendant's directors, officers and accountants had defrauded defendant and its shareholders of $44,000,000 through the levying of fraudulent capital assessments, and the fraudulent valuation of revenue, expenses and surplus. (See, e.g., Minute Entry dated Feb. 17, 2011, Pls.' Ex. 4 (Doc 5-10), at 1--3*fn2 .) These allegations, not included in the original or amended complaints, comprise much of plaintiff Sol Rosen's opposition to the instant Motion to Dismiss, and which are, themselves, confused discursions, comprised of printouts, photocopies, diagrams, documents from other litigation, and other miscellany, many accompanied by scrawled handwritten notes and annotations. (See, e.g., Notice to the Court (Doc. No. 10) at 4--6, 16--20, 27--28; Letter dated Mar. 25, 2011 from Sol Rosen (Doc. No. 21) at 8--14).
The Court denied plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief, finding that questions surrounding this Court's subject matter jurisdiction rendered success on the merits unlikely. (See Minute Entry dated Feb. 17, 2011; Mem. and Order dated March 7, 2011 (Doc. No. 16) (denying, inter alia, Plaintiffs' Mot. for Recons.).)
Plaintiffs' eviction followed a July 2010 non-payment proceeding in Queens County Housing Court, in which Judge Ann Katz granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment, awarding defendant possession and an order of eviction, as well as a money judgment for back rent. (Montag Decl., Ex. E at 2.)
Shortly after Judge Katz issued that decision, on July 30, 2010, plaintiffs commenced an action in New York Supreme Court for Queens County, seeking an order temporarily and preliminarily enjoining the eviction, as well as damages for the same fraud and accounting claims raised at the preliminary injunction hearing in this Court. Rosen v. N. Shore Towers Apartments, Inc., No. 19301-2010, slip op. 2 (Sup. Ct. Queens Cnty. Sept. 15, 2010). That court granted the temporary injunction restraining execution of the warrant of eviction pending the disposition of plaintiffs' allegations of fraud. Id. In January 2011, Supreme Court Judge Alan Weiss dismissed the complaint, finding that plaintiffs had failed to state a claim for fraud, and vacated the temporary injunctive relief. Id. at 4--6. On February 14, 2011, City Marshal George Essock executed the warrant of eviction. (See Montag Decl., Ex. I (Doc. No. 43-11) (warrant of eviction).)
Pursuant to an amended briefing schedule established by this Court's Order dated May 13, 2011 (Doc. No. 37), defendant submitted the instant motion to dismiss on May 27, 2011. On May 31, 2011, plaintiff Sol Rosen submitted several untimely responses to defendant's motion. (Pl.'s Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 45) ("Pl.'s Opp'n I"); Pl.'s Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 47) ("Pl.'s Opp'n II"); Pl.'s Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 48) ("Pl.'s Opp'n III"); Pl.'s Reply to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 50) ("Pl.'s Reply").)
In light of plaintiff's pro se status, the Court accepts plaintiff Sol Rosen's untimely opposition papers, and has considered them in deciding the instant motion as though they were timely. Plaintiff Florence Rosen does not oppose defendant's motion to dismiss. (Decl. of Florence Rosen (Doc. No. 42) at 1). For the reasons below, defendant's motion is GRANTED and plaintiffs' amended complaint is dismissed in its entirety.
"A case is properly dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) when the district court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate it." Makarova v. United States, 201 F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2000) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1)); see also Oscar Gruss & Son, Inc. v. Hollander, 337 F.3d 186, 193 (2d Cir. 2003) ("Failure of subject matter jurisdiction, of course, is not waivable and may be raised at any time by a party or by the court sua sponte.") In considering a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, a district court "must accept as true all material factual allegations in the complaint, but [is] not to draw inferences from the complaint favorable to plaintiffs." J.S. ex rel. N.S. v. Attica Cent. Sch., 386 F.3d 107, 110 (2d Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). This Court, however, "may consider affidavits and other materials beyond the pleadings to resolve the jurisdictional issue, but [it] may not rely on conclusory or hearsay statements contained in the affidavits." Id. (citations omitted). "The plaintiff bears the burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence." Aurecchione v. Schoolman Transp. Sys. Inc., 426 F.3d 635, 638 (2d Cir. 2005).
Furthermore, when considering a motion to dismiss a pro se complaint, the Court must interpret the complaint liberally to raise the strongest claims that the allegations suggest. See Cruz v. Gomez, 202 F.3d 593, 597 (2d Cir. 2000); see also Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980) (per curiam) (noting that courts should hold pro se pleadings "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers" (internal quotation marks omitted)). However, mere "conclusions of law or unwarranted deductions" need not be accepted. First Nationwide Bank v. ...