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Wells v. Facebook Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

December 18, 2019

KANDANCE WELLS, Plaintiff,
v.
FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, and MARK ZUCKERBERG, [1] Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Daniel D. Crabtree United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the court on defendants Facebook Incorporated and Mark Zuckerberg's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 13). Pro se[2] plaintiff Kandance Wells has filed several responses (Docs. 18, 20, and 22) and defendants have replied (Doc. 23). And, plaintiff has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 21) to which defendants have responded (Doc. 24). Plaintiff also filed another “Supplement” response (Doc. 25). For reasons explained below, the court grants defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 13) and thus denies plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 21) as moot.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed this action against defendants on July 11, 2019. Doc. 1. Plaintiff alleges that “[d]efendants['] website uploaded internet cookies to plaintiff['s] social media profiles that led to tracking, threats, and public backlash.” Id. at 3. And, plaintiff alleges “[d]efendants['] website mandates clauses that made plaintiff a victim to severe media and public relations tracking and lobbying.” Id. Plaintiff seeks $93 million in actual damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief from defendants. Plaintiff also asks the court to prevent defendants from “media tracking in personal endeavors” and “to eradicate such mandate clauses that victimizes users of this website for the protection of consumers.” Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges that her “life was ruined” by using Facebook because of “severe mental anguish, public scrutiny, track[ing], brutaliz[ation], and blackball[ing] . . . .” Id. Finally, plaintiff asserts that defendants violated her civil rights.

         II. Legal Standard

         A plaintiff bears the burden to establish personal jurisdiction over each defendant named in the action. Rockwood Select Asset Fund XI (6)-1, LLC v. Devine, Millimet & Branch, 750 F.3d 1178, 1179-80 (10th Cir. 2014). But in the preliminary stages of litigation, a plaintiff's burden to prove personal jurisdiction is a light one. AST Sports Sci., Inc. v. CLF Distrib. Ltd., 514 F.3d 1054, 1056 (10th Cir. 2008).

         Where, as here, the court is asked to decide a pretrial motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction without conducting an evidentiary hearing, plaintiff must make no more than a prima facie showing of jurisdiction to defeat the motion. Id. at 1056-57. “The plaintiff may make this prima facie showing by demonstrating, via affidavit or other written materials, facts that if true would support jurisdiction over the defendant.” OMI Holdings, Inc. v. Royal Ins. Co. of Can., 149 F.3d 1086, 1091 (10th Cir. 1998).

         To defeat a plaintiff's prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction, defendants “must present a compelling case demonstrating ‘that the presence of some other considerations would render jurisdiction unreasonable.'” Id. (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1985)). Where defendants fail to controvert a plaintiff's allegations with affidavits or other evidence, the court must accept the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, and resolve any factual disputes in the plaintiff's favor. Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 55 F.3d 1503, 1505 (10th Cir. 1995).

         III. Analysis

         Defendants ask the court to dismiss plaintiff's claims for two reasons. First, defendants move to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), and assert that plaintiff has failed to establish that the court has personal jurisdiction over defendants. Second, and alternatively, defendants move to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a plausible claim because it never identifies any legal claim or alleges any facts to support a legal claim. The court first concludes that it has subject matter jurisdiction over this dispute. Then, because the court concludes that it lacks personal jurisdiction over defendants, it does not reach defendants' argument about whether plaintiff states a claim.

         A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         The court has an independent obligation to satisfy itself that subject matter jurisdiction is proper. Henderson ex rel. Henderson v. Shinseki, 562 U.S. 428, 434 (2011). Plaintiff asserts the court has diversity jurisdiction over this matter. Doc. 1 at 2. To invoke diversity jurisdiction, plaintiff must show the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, and that complete diversity of citizenship exists between plaintiff and all defendants. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Here, this requirement means plaintiff must allege that she and all defendants are “citizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Plaintiff alleges that she is a citizen of Kansas and both defendants are citizens of California. Doc. 1 at 2. So, no defendant is a citizen of the same state as plaintiff. And, plaintiff seeks $93 million in damages. Id. at 4. Thus, plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to show the court has diversity jurisdiction in this matter.

         B. Personal Jurisdiction

         It is unclear whether plaintiff intended to bring her claims under a statute. Plaintiff appears to assert the court has diversity jurisdiction over her claims, but also asserts the court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1343. Doc. at 2, 3. In either event, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k)(1)(A) governs service. Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, Inc., 514 F.3d 1063, 1070 (10th Cir. 2008). This Rule ...


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