United States District Court, District of Columbia
Larry E. Klayman, Law Office of Larry Klayman, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff.
Craig S. Primis, Kenneth Winn Allen, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Washington, DC, for Defendants.
REGGIE B. WALTON, District Judge.
The pro se plaintiff, Larry Klayman, brings this action against the defendants, Facebook, Inc. and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, asserting claims of assault and negligence. See Complaint (" Compl." ) ¶¶ 14-20. Currently before the Court are the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (" Defs.' Mot." ) and the Defendants' Motion to Transfer. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions, the Court concludes, for the reasons stated below, that the defendants' motion to dismiss must be granted. Moreover, because the defendants sought transfer of this action " as alternative relief" to dismissal, Defs.' Transfer Mem. at 1, the Court denies as moot the defendants' motion to transfer without reaching the merits of that motion.
The defendants operate www. facebook. com (" Facebook" ), which is a " social networking"
website. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 7; Defs.' Mem. at 2. As explained by the defendants, " Facebook allows users to share content with others, including articles, photographs, news about family members and friends, and opinions about world events. Users can also view content shared by other Facebook users on one or more of the hundreds of millions of Facebook Pages." Defs.' Mem. at 2 (citing Compl. ¶ 4). " Viewership [of the website] is growing fast and exponentially" in many parts of the world, including the Middle East and the District of Columbia. Compl. ¶¶ 4-5. In order to use Facebook's services, " a user must open an account," which is provided without cost. Defs.' Mem. at 2.
The plaintiff, an attorney who acts as the Chairman and General Counsel of an organization called Freedom Watch, Compl. ¶¶ 2, 11, maintains " a Facebook account, titled Larry Klayman," id. ¶ 6. While using his Facebook account, the plaintiff " encountered the Facebook page titled ‘ Third Palestinian Intifada.’ " Id. ¶ 7. The Third Palestinian Intifada Facebook page " called for an uprising beginning on May 15, 2011, after Muslim prayers [were] completed, announcing and threatening that ‘ Judgment Day will be brought upon us only once Muslims have killed all the Jews.’ " Id. The Facebook page " had over 360,000 participants" and " three similar [Facebook] Intifada pages have come up with over 7,000 subscribers." Id. The Facebook page at issue, the Third Palestinian Intifada Facebook page, caught the attention of the Public Diplomacy Minister of Israel, who wrote a letter to the defendants requesting that they " take down the page and similar and related pages." Id. The defendants initially " refused for many days" to remove the page, but eventually removed it " begrudgingly." Id. ¶ 12.
The plaintiff originally filed this action in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on March 31, 2011. Notice of Removal ¶ 1. The defendants successfully removed the case to this Court in May 2011. See generally Notice of Removal. The plaintiff asserts claims of negligence and assault against the defendants, and seeks permanent injunctive relief preventing the defendants from allowing Facebook users to publish the Third Palestinian Intifada Facebook page and other similar pages, compensatory and punitive damages amounting to over $1,000,000,000.00, as well as attorneys' fees and costs. Compl. ¶ 20. The defendants seek dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Defs.' Mot at 1.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests whether a complaint has properly stated a claim upon which relief may be granted. Woodruff v. DiMario,197 F.R.D. 191, 193 (D.D.C.2000). For a complaint to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that it contain " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although Rule 8(a) does not require " detailed factual allegations," a plaintiff is required to provide " more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation," Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)), in order to " ‘ give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests,’ " Twombly, 550 U.S. at ...