J.M.M. CORP. v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
253 F.Supp.2d 15 (2003)
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
March 31, 2003.
Although the civil enforcement action in D.C. Superior Court was initiated after JMM brought the instant suit in federal court, it is "pending" for the purposes of Younger abstention because it was initiated "before any proceedings of substance on the merits" in federal court. See Hawaii Hons. Auth. v. Midkiff467 U.S. 229, 238, 104 S.Ct. 2321, 81 L.Ed.2d 186 (1984); Hicks v. Miranda,422 U.S. 332, 349, 95 S.Ct. 2281, 45 L.Ed.2d 223 (1975). This Court's refusal to grant a preliminary injunction was not a "proceeding of substance," because the litigation was in its "embryonic stage," see Doran v. Salem Inn, Inc.,422 U.S. 922, 929, 95 S.Ct. 2561, 45 L.Ed.2d 648 (1975), and there was no extensive hearing on the matter aside from the hearing on plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction, which is routinely held for such motions, LCvR 65.1(d). In addition to the action in D.C. Superior Court, administrative enforcement actions by the District were underway when plaintiff brought its claims to this Court. See Ohio Civil Rights Comm'n v. Dayton Christian Schools, Inc.,477 U.S. 619, 627, 106 S.Ct. 2718, 91 L.Ed.2d 512 (1986); Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n,457 U.S. 423, 102 S.Ct. 2515, 73 L.Ed.2d 116 (1982) (applying Younger abstention to state administrative proceeding). Even if plaintiffs were correct to assume that they will not be able to raise their constitutional claims in their administrative appeals, they can raise their constitutional claims in the civil enforcement action in D.C. Superior Court, see 3/5/03 Tr., which will determine the validity of the administrative rulings that were made subsequent to and based on the June 2000 DCRA decision at issue in District of Columbia v. J.MM. Corp., CV 02-5670.
Defendant's motion to dismiss accordingly will be granted in part and denied in part. All claims will be dismissed except for plaintiffs claim for damages, which is stayed pending JMM's appeals of the administrative enforcement rulings and the District's civil enforcement action against JMM in D.C. Superior Court.ORDER
For the reasons set forth in the accompanying memorandum, defendants' motion to dismiss [# 9] is denied in part and granted in part. All claims are dismissed except for plaintiffs claim for damages, which is stayed pending JMM's appeals of the administrative enforcement rulings and
the District's civil enforcement action against JMM in D.C. Superior Court.
Plaintiffs motion for leave to file an amended complaint [# 32] is granted.
1. These appeals are still pending according to the parties. JMM continues to operate as a SOBE in its current location — it has not relocated, applied for a SOBE license, or ceased its business activities.
2. Although the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has not yet declared whether the District is a state for Younger abstention, "every time the question has arisen, we have assumed that the doctrine applies to the District...." Bridges v. Kelly,84 F.3d 470, 476 n. 8 (D.C.Cir.1996).