United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
NICHOLAS C. GEORGALIS, Plaintiff
FACEBOOK, INC., Defendant
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
SOLOMON OLIVER, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending before the court are motions by both parties. The
first is the motion of Defendant Facebook, Inc.
(“Defendant” or “Facebook”) to
dismiss (Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 4) the complaint of Plaintiff
Nicholas Georgalis (“Plaintiff” or
“Georgalis”) (Compl., ECF No. 1). Plaintiff
opposed the motion and moved for final judgment (Opp'n
Mot. Dismiss/Mot. Final Judgment, ECF No. 8). Defendant filed
a reply in support of the motion to dismiss, (Reply Mot.
Dismiss, ECF No. 9), and Plaintiff filed a sur-reply
(Sur-reply Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 10). Defendant opposed
Plaintiff's Motion for Final Judgment (Opp'n Mot.
Final Judgment, ECF No. 11).
addition, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend the
complaint, and a motion for leave to further amend the
complaint (Mots. Leave to Amend, ECF Nos. 12 and 13,
respectively). Defendant filed a combined opposition to
Plaintiff's motions for leave to amend (Opp'n Mots.
Leave to Amend, ECF No. 14).
reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is
granted. Plaintiff's Motions for Leave to Amend and for
Final Judgment are denied.
commenced this action on February 1, 2018, alleging that he
is a Facebook user and Defendant is an Interactive Computer
Service Provider (“ICSP”) (Compl. at 3.)
According to the Complaint, Defendant allegedly deleted
comments posted by Plaintiff on Facebook and his
“likes” of other's Facebook posts and,
therefore, is liable for abrogating his rights to free speech
and other “inalienable right[s]” in violation of
the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States
Constitution (id. at 1-2). Plaintiff also claims
that 47 U.S.C.§ 230(c)(2)(A), which shields ICSPs from
liability for restricting material that the ICSP considers to
be, among other things, obscene, excessively violent,
harassing, or otherwise objectionable (whether or not such
material is constitutionally protected), is unconstitutional
(id. at 2). Plaintiff characterizes his suit as
undertaken “in a court of law and not a court of
equity” and proclaims himself a “sovereign
precursor” and the “prosecutor/plaintiff”
in this action (id.). Plaintiff also describes this
action as a criminal matter (see Opp'n Mot.
Dismiss at 1-2, 8). Plaintiff claims that Defendant is a
publicly held corporation doing business in every state in
the United States and, therefore, is subject to the
jurisdiction of this court (Compl. at 2). In his prayer for
relief, Plaintiff seeks (among other remedies) $1 billion in
punitive damages, a declaration that 47 U.S.C. §
230(c)(2)(A) is unconstitutional, and an order that Defendant
cease and desist its restriction on speech and restore all
deleted comments (id. at 22-23).
motion to dismiss is brought pursuant to Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6). Plaintiff's
motions to amend the Complaint are brought pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2)
12(b)(2) provides that a defendant may seek dismissal if the
court lacks personal jurisdiction over that defendant.
Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the court's
personal jurisdiction. Theunissen v. Matthews, 935
F.2d 1454, 1458 (6th Cir. 1991) (citing McNutt v. Gen.
Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936)
(further citation omitted)). The court has the discretion to
decide the motion on the materials submitted, permit
discovery in order to aid in deciding the motion, and/or to
conduct an evidentiary hearing. Id. (citing
Serras v. First Tenn. Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 875
F.2d 1212, 1214 (6th Cir. 1989)). Neither party has requested
discovery and the court concludes that a hearing is not
necessary in order to rule on Defendant's motion. In so
proceeding, the court must construe the pleadings in a light
most favorable to Plaintiff. Opportunity Fund, LLC v.
Epitome Sys., Inc., 912 F.Supp.2d 531, 537-38 (S.D. Ohio
2012) (citing CompuServe, Inc. v. Patterson, 89 F.3d
1257, 1262 (6th Cir. 1996)). Dismissal in this procedural
posture is proper if all of the specific facts alleged by
Plaintiff collectively fail to state a prima facie
case for jurisdiction. J4 Promotions, Inc. v. Splash
Dogs, LLC, No. 08 CV 977, 2009 WL 385611, at *5 (N.D.
Ohio Feb. 13, 2009) (quoting CompuServe, Inc., 89
F.3d at 1262). Pleadings and documents filed by pro se
litigants are “liberally construed” by the Court.
See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
a federal court's jurisdiction arises under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 or 1332, Plaintiff must satisfy the forum
state's requirements for personal jurisdiction. See
Thomas W. Petrarca Corp. v. Writers Guild of Am. W.
Inc., No. 4:08CV1337, 2008 WL 5725659, at *2 (N.D. Ohio
July 30, 2008) (citing Theunissen, 935 F.2d at 1459
(diversity); Bird v. Parsons, 289 F.3d 865, 871 (6th
Cir. 2002) (federal question)). Because Ohio's long-arm
statute is not coterminous with federal constitutional
limits, Plaintiff must also show that the court's
exercise of jurisdiction over the Defendant comports with due
process. Schneider v. Hardesty, 669 F.3d 693, 699
(6th Cir. 2012) (citing Estate of Thomson ex rel. Estate
of Rakestraw v. Toyota Motor Corp. Worldwide, 545 F.3d
357, 361 (6th Cir. 2008)). “Thus, the court will find
that it has personal jurisdiction over a defendant only if
the plaintiff ‘presents a prima facie case that: (1)
jurisdiction is proper under a long-arm statute [Ohio Revised
Code § 2307.382(A)(1)-(9)] or other jurisdictional rule
of Ohio, the forum state; and (2) the Due Process
Clause also allows for jurisdiction under the facts of the
case.'” Sherwin-Williams Co. v. Advanced
Collision Ctr. of Mobile, Inc., No. 1:16 CV 2355, 2017
WL 3034383, at *2 (N.D. Ohio July 18, 2017) (emphasis added)
(quoting Conn v. Zakharov, 667 F.3d 705, 711 (6th
Cir. 2012)). If either factor of this two-part analysis
fails, the court cannot exercise personal jurisdiction over
order to satisfy the due process component, Plaintiff must
show that Defendant has sufficient minimum contacts with Ohio
so that the court's exercise of jurisdiction comports
with “traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington,
326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (citation omitted); Opportunity
Fund, LLC, 912 F.Supp.2d at 537-38 (To make out a
prima facie case for the court's exercise of
personal jurisdiction over a defendant, a plaintiff must
establish “with reasonable particularity sufficient
contacts between [defendant] and the forum state to support
jurisdiction.” (some internal quotation marks omitted))
(quoting Neogen Corp. v. Neo Gen Screening, Inc.,
282 F.3d 883, 887 (6th Cir. 2002) (further citation
“minimum contacts” that satisfy the due process
requirement may be general or specific. General jurisdiction
exists when a defendant's contacts with the forum state
are “continuous and systematic” and render the
defendant amenable to any lawsuit brought against it in the
state. Bird, 289 F.3d at ...