United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
ERNEST S. HENDRY, JR. & JUDITH V. HENDRY, Plaintiffs,
THE GEORGELAS GROUP, INC. & FRANCIS J. PELLAND, Defendants.
JAMES C. CACHERIS, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Francis J. Pelland's Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. 9], Defendant The Georgelas Group, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. 15], and Defendant The Georgelas Group, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. 17]. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant the Motions to Dismiss and dismiss this matter with prejudice.
Beginning in 1927, pro se Plaintiffs' ancestors, the Hendry family, owned a twenty-acre parcel of real property in Arlington County, Virginia until 1994, when it was sold to Arlington County. (Compl. [Dkt. 1] ¶¶ 6-7.) This lawsuit - similar to the many lawsuits that have come before it - concerns events that occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s surrounding this sale of real property.
Defendant Francis J. Pelland ("Pelland") offers an accurate description of the Complaint now before the Court:
The complaint... is a confusing, wandering narrative of events starting with an alleged offer to purchase a twenty-acre parcel of land in Arlington County by defendant Georgelas & sons to Anne P. Hendry (mother and mother-in-law of plaintiffs) in 1977 (Compl. ¶¶ 9-10), leading to litigation between Georgelas and the Hendrys that was settled (Compl. ¶¶ 121-123), and ending with protracted litigation between the Hendrys and Pelland [the Hendry family's former attorney].
(Pelland's Mem. in Support [Dkt. 10] at 2.)
In liberally construing pro se Plaintiffs' Complaint, it appears to raise the following three "counts" or claims:
Count One: Coram Non Judice against only Defendant Georgelas & Sons ("Georgelas"), claiming the settlement in Chancery No. 87-671 in Arlington County Circuit Court was void because none of the judges had jurisdiction to rule due to their alleged failure to follow the appropriate legal standards. (Compl. ¶¶ 121-123.)
Count Two: Collusion and Fraud against Pelland and Georgelas, claiming the Hendrys were never able to properly enter into the settlement contract because of various breaches of fiduciary duties, extreme duress, and incredible misrepresentations by two attorneys and three judges. (Compl. ¶¶ 124-247.)
Count Three: Punitive Damages, claiming Defendants' behavior at issue was intentional and reckless. (Compl. ¶¶ 248-249.) Plaintiffs request $18, 765, 297.99 in compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 35.)
The two Defendants, Pelland and Georgelas, now move separately to dismiss the Complaint for a variety of reasons. [Dkts. 9, 15.] In opposition, Plaintiffs filed the following memoranda: "Memorandum Detailing How the Hendrys Were Denied Due Process In Chancery No. 89-969" [Dkt. 20], "Material Facts Affidavit" [Dkt. 22], "Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss and Rule 56 Motion" [Dkt. 23], and "Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss" [Dkt. 25]. Georgelas filed a Reply memorandum. [Dkt. 24.] Accordingly, the motions are fully briefed and ripe for disposition.
II. Standard of Review
"The purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is to test the sufficiency of a complaint; importantly, [it] does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Butler v. United States , 702 F.3d 749, 752 (4th Cir. 2012) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). A court reviewing a complaint on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion must accept well-pleaded allegations as true, and must construe all allegations in favor of the plaintiff. See Randall v. United States , 30 F.3d 518, 522 (4th Cir. 1994). However, the court need not accept as true legal conclusions disguised as factual allegations. Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. ...