United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
CHRISTOPHER A. DENNIS, Plaintiff,
MARK ZUCKERBERG, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER[Resolving ECF 5, 6,
and 7 ]
Y. PEARSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
is Defendants Facebook, Inc. and Mark Zuckerberg's Motion
to Dismiss Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) and (b)(6)
(ECF No. 7). The Court has been advised, having
reviewed the record, the parties' briefs, and the
applicable law. For the reasons set forth below, the motion
Se Plaintiff Christopher A. Dennis filed a Complaint
(ECF No. 1) against Facebook, Inc. and its Chief
Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg. In his “Statement
of Claim, ” Plaintiff alleges:
The Defendants misappropriated, without consent, proprietary
business information owned by the Plaintiff and protected by
the Trade Secrets Acts, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016,
the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, and [the] Ohio Uniform
Trade Secrets Act. The Defendants used proprietary business
[information] and/or processes for their commercial benefit.
Reasonable precautions were taken by the Plaintiff to prevent
disclosure of its proprietary business information.
ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 4, § III. Plaintiff
seeks $13 billion in damages, asserting that
“proprietary information is still being used by
Facebook, Inc. and was instrumental in the development of the
Defendants' corporation.” ECF No. 1 at PageID
#: 5, § IV.
filed the within Motion to Dismiss Under Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(2) and (b)(6) (ECF No. 7) in response to
the Complaint (ECF No. 1). They argue the Court
should dismiss the action for lack of personal jurisdiction
under Rule 12(b)(2) because Plaintiff has not
adequately alleged personal jurisdiction over either
Defendant. In addition, they contend that
Plaintiff's allegations - which consist entirely of those
set out above - are insufficient to state a claim for relief
for any of the causes of action he alleges and require
dismissal of the Complaint (ECF No. 1) under
The Court Lacks Personal Jurisdiction Over
“a district court rules on a jurisdictional motion to
dismiss made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(2) without conducting an evidentiary hearing, the
court must consider the pleadings and affidavits in a light
most favorable to the plaintiff.” CompuServe, Inc.
v. Patterson, 89 F.3d 1257, 1262 (6th Cir. 1996). To
defeat such a motion, a plaintiff “need only make a
prima facie showing of jurisdiction.” Id.
jurisdiction can be either general or specific, depending on
the nature of the contacts a defendant has with the forum
state. Bird v. Parsons, 289 F.3d 865, 873 (6th Cir.
2002). “General jurisdiction is proper only where
‘a defendant's contacts with the forum state are of
such a continuous and systematic nature that the state may
exercise personal jurisdiction over the defendant even if the
action is unrelated to the defendant's contacts with the
state.'” Id. (quoting Third Natl. Bank
in Nashville v. WEDGE Group Inc., 882 F.2d 1087, 1089 (6th
Cir. 1989) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Specific
jurisdiction occurs where “a State exercises personal
jurisdiction over a defendant in a suit arising out of or
related to the defendant's contacts with the
forum.” Id. at 874 (quoting Helicopteros
Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 n. 8
(1984)). Specific jurisdiction is permissible only if a
three-part test is satisfied: the defendant must purposefully
avail himself of the privilege of acting in the forum state
or causing a consequence in the forum state; the cause of
action must arise from the defendant's activities in the
forum; and, acts of the defendant or consequences caused by
the defendant must have a substantial enough connection with
the forum to make the exercise of jurisdiction over the
defendant reasonable. Id.(citing Southern Mach.
Co. v. Mohasco Indus., Inc., 401 F.2d 374, 381 (6th Cir.
argues there is both specific and general jurisdiction over
Defendants. He contends specific jurisdiction exists because
he alleges “that Defendants while conducting business
in Ohio violated Section 18 of the Trade Secrets Act and that
this violation occurred in the state of Ohio to an Ohio
resident.” ECF No. 9 at PageID #: 56. He
contends there is general jurisdiction because Facebook
“is a publicly traded corporation that purposely
transacts business throughout the United States, including
the State of Ohio” and has a “continuous and
systematic presence in Ohio, ‘based on [the] number of
Facebook users: 5, 702, 760 in Ohio.'” ECF No.
9 at PageID #: 57.
Court finds Plaintiff's assertions are not sufficient to
demonstrate either general or specific jurisdiction over
Defendants. General jurisdiction does not exist because the
Sixth Circuit has made clear that “maintain[ing] a
website that is accessible to anyone over the Internet is
insufficient to justify general jurisdiction.”
Bird, 289 F.3d at 874. Furthermore, although a court
“need only find that the plaintiff has set forth
specific facts that support a finding of jurisdiction in
order to deny the motion to dismiss, ” this still
requires a plaintiff's complaint to establish “with
reasonable particularity” those specific facts that
support an exercise of specific jurisdiction. Palnik v.
Westlake Entm't, Inc., 344 Fed.Appx. 249, 251 (6th Cir.
2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
Plaintiff's asserted basis for specific jurisdiction -
“that Defendants while conducting business in Ohio
violated Section 18 of the Trade Secrets Act” in Ohio
and caused injury to Plaintiff here - is purely conclusory,
and the Complaint (ECF No. 1) does not establish
“with reasonably particularity” any specific
facts (such as specific conduct on the part of Defendants, or
any specific trade secret or other proprietary information
Plaintiff allegedly had) that would support an exercise of
specific jurisdiction over Defendants in this trade secret
the Court agrees with Defendants that the Complaint (ECF
No. 1) is properly dismissed for lack of personal