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Rouyer v. Bozgoz

United States District Court, D. Maryland

November 16, 2017

FREDERIC ROUYER, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
MARGARET BOZGOZ, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen L. Hollander United States District Judge

         On September 27, 2017, self represented litigants Robert and Margaret Bozgoz, “service disabled veterans” (ECF 1 at 3), filed a Notice of Removal (ECF 1) as to litigation initiated in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland on February 9, 2017 by Frederic Rouyer, a resident of Oman. See Rouyer v. Bozgoz, et al., Case No. C-02-CV-17-000403. Royer alleged breach of a lease agreement by the defendants. Suit was served on the Bozgozes in March 2017. Thereafter, they filed a counterclaim on March 28, 2017, which they later amended. It appears that the State case was closed on October 2, 2017.[1]

         In particular, the Bozgozes filed a counterclaim against Rouyer and his wife, Nathalie Rouyer; Robert J. Frances, Director of the Howard County Department of Inspections, Licenses, and Permits (“DILP”); and Samuel “Wayne” Killebrew, a retired rental housing inspector. However, it does not appear that Killebrew has been served. Moreover, summonses were issued to Howard County Executive Allen Kittelman and Howard County Solicitor Gary Kluc (ECF 3), although they do not appear to be named as counterdefendants.

         The Notice of Removal was accompanied by about 100 pages of exhibits in paper form. Notably, it does not appear that the Bozgozes filed the underlying Complaint, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1446 (requiring the defendant who removes a case to file “a copy of all process, pleadings, and orders . . . in such action”). Fortunately, the plaintiff has provided the Court with a copy of the underlying State Complaint. See ECF 9-2.

         The Notice of Removal and the civil cover sheet filed by the Bozgozes indicate that they are relying on both diversity and federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 and 1331 to support removal. They assert, inter alia, violations of their due process rights; the “Americans With Disability Act Amendments of 2008” (“ADA”); the “Americans With Disability Act of 1990”; the “Rehabilitation Act of 1973”; the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”); the “Federal Trade Commission Act”; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”); the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and a host of other laws. ECF 1 at 3.

         On October 19, 2017, counterdefendant Frances filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, to remand (ECF 7), supported by a memorandum. ECF 7-1. Plaintiff Frederic Rouyer filed a motion to remand on October 26, 2017. ECF 9. It is supported by a Memorandum (ECF 9-1) and exhibits. The Bozgozes have filed oppositions to both motions. See ECF 10 (opposition to Frances); ECF 11 (Opposition to Rouyer).

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See Local Rule 105.6. Upon review of the parties' submissions and exhibits, and for the reasons stated below, the court shall remand the case to the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County.

         I. Background

         The matter is rooted in a Lease Agreement (the “Lease”) dated February 4, 2013, between PFC Management, Inc. (“PFC”), as agent for Rouyer, as the landlord, and the Bozgozes, as tenants, with respect to property located in Columbia, Maryland (the “Property”). ECF 9-2, ¶ 5; ECF 9-2 at 6-19 (the “Lease”). The Lease provided that the Bozgozes, as tenants, would pay $3, 000.00 per month as rent for the Property. ECF 9-2, ¶ 6.

         As noted, on February 9, 2017, Rouyer filed a breach of contract action against the Bozgozes in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. See ECF 9-2, case number C-02-CV-17-000403. Numerous exhibits were appended to the suit. Rouyer alleged that the Bozgozes defaulted on their obligations under the Lease. According to Rouyer, for the period between February 2013 and August 2015, the Bozgozes owed the sum of $62, 512.35 in unpaid rent due under the Lease. Id. Further, plaintiff claimed that a payment by the Bozgozes on April 14, 2014, totaling $1, 500.00, constituted their last rent payment. Id. ¶ 22.

         The Bozgozes complained about mold and other conditions in the basement in the Property. Id. ¶ 23. Moreover, the paper submissions provided by the Bozgozes reflect that they filed suit against the Rouyers in the District Court for Howard County, Maryland, Case 1001SP005702015. That case appears to have been a rent escrow action.

         In the Anne Arundel County case, the Bozgozes were served by Rouyer on March 3, 2017. As noted, they filed a counterclaim on March 28, 2017 (ECF 1 at 3) alleging, inter alia, a host of violaitons, including RICO violations; HIPAA violations; and ADA violations.

         On or about June 15, 2017, Frances moved to dismiss the State counterclaim. See Anne Arundel Circuit Court Docket (“Docket”). Rouyer claims that Frances's motion was granted on August 24, 2017. ECF 9-1 at 2. And, in August 2017, Rouyer, too, moved to dismiss the State counterclaim. Docket. On or about September 18, 2017, while Rouyer's motion was pending, the Bozgozes amended their counterclaim. See Docket. Then, on or about September 28, 2017, they filed the Notice of Removal, based on their counterclaim. ECF 1.

         II. ...


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