United States District Court, D. Delaware
Urbain Tah Jibbi, ("Plaintiff"), a citizen of The
Republic of Cameroon and a permanent resident of the United
States, commenced this action on August 23, 2018. (D.I. 2) He
proceeds pro se and has been granted in forma
pauperis status. (D.I. 4) Plaintiff filed this action
alleging human rights violations and asserts jurisdiction
under the Alien Tort Statute ("ATS"), 28 U.S.C.
§ 1350, and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
("FSIA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1602, et seq.
(D.I. 2) Upon screening, the Court dismissed the original
Complaint and gave Plaintiff leave to amend. (D.I. 5, 6)
Plaintiff timely filed an Amended Complaint. (D.I. 7)
Amended Complaint states that Plaintiff is an attorney,
licensed to practice in Delaware where he resides. (D.I. 7 at
1) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant The Republic of Cameroon
("Republic of Cameroon") signed an agreement with
Defendants law firms, Squire Patton Boggs
("Squire") and Mercury LLC ("Mercury")
(together "law firms") to provides lobbying
services in the United States on behalf of the Cameroon
government. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Squire and
Mercury "assist the government of Cameroon in securing
loans and aid from the United States government" and
that "[m]ost of this aid is diverted and used to kill
innocent civilians and burn down hundreds of thousands of
property [sic] across the war zones. (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges that war broke out in Cameroon in December
2016, is ongoing, and getting worse, (/c/.) He alleges that
specific dates for human rights violations cannot be provided
during an ongoing war, but atrocities occur daily.
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he lost all of his
clients because of the war raging in Cameroon. (Id.)
More particularly, he alleges that he has been unable to
provide legal services to his clients who reside in Delaware
as "a direct consequence of the war waged by the
government of Cameroon, with the assistance of their
lobbyists at Squire and Mercury." (Id.) He
explains that the courts in Cameroon have been shut down,
schools are no longer functioning, his clients in Delaware
need the services of the courts in Cameroon, and most need
academic services for their "US children who study
abroad in Cameroon." (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges that the contracts at issue were signed in
the United States for services being performed in the United
States. (Id.) He alleges the "atrocities of
Cameroon are being carried out [in Cameroon] and the direct
consequence" is that Plaintiff, a United States
permanent resident, is "being affected by the atrocities
while physically" in the United States. (Id.)
According to Plaintiff, the foregoing circumstances make the
FSIA applicable. He also alleges the ATS applies because he
has suffered loss of income in the United States.
(Id.) Plaintiff states that if the Court "will
be patient enough and not hurriedly dismiss [the] lawsuit, it
will be proven at discovery that nothing sinister happens in
Cameroon or other dictatorships in Africa without the
assistance of lobbying firms in the USA." (Id.
at 2) For relief, Plaintiff seeks $150, 000 for loss of
income, angst, and hardship suffered by the direct impact of
[defendants'] actions. (Id.)
Standard of Review.
federal court may properly dismiss an action sua
sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) if "the action is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief." Ball v. Famiglio, 726
F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013). The Court must accept all
factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in
the light most favorable to a pro se plaintiff.
Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229
(3d Cir. 2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007). Generally, when a plaintiff proceeds pro se,
his pleading is liberally construed and his complaint,
"however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94
(citations omitted). Plaintiff, however, alleges that he is
"a licensed Foreign Legal Consultant and member of the
Delaware State Bar" (see D.I. 7 at 1), and the
Court does not extend the indulgence of the pro se
liberal construction rule to pro se litigants who,
like Plaintiff, are also attorneys. See Tatten v. Bank of
Am. Corp., 562 Fed.Appx. 718, 720 (10th Cir.
2014) (citing Committee on the Conduct of Attorneys v.
Oliver, 510 F.3d 1219, 1223 (10th Cir. 2007)).
An action is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), a court may dismiss a
complaint as frivolous if it is "based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory" or a "clearly
baseless" or "fantastic or delusional" factual
scenario. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28; Wilson v.
Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989).
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is
identical to the legal standard used when ruling on Rule
12(b)(6) motions. Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d
236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999) (applying Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
standard to dismissal for failure to state a claim under
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)). However, before dismissing a complaint
or claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915, the Court must grant Plaintiff leave to amend
his Complaint unless amendment would be inequitable or
futile. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d
103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).
A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). A plaintiff must
plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has substantive
plausibility. See Johnson v. City of Shelby, 574
U.S. 10 (2014). A complaint may not dismissed, however, for
imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim
asserted. See Id. at 10.
Under the pleading regime established by Twombly and
Iqbal, a court reviewing the sufficiency of ...