United States District Court, D. Columbia.
For COSTCOMMAND, LLC, Plaintiff: Christopher Kip Schwartz, LEAD ATTORNEY, SCHWARTZ & ASSOCIATES PLLC, Washington, DC; Patrick Anthony Klingman, LEAD ATTORNEY, KLINGMAN LAW, LLC, Hartford, CT.
For PRS SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS, INC., FULL THROTTLE FILMS INC., doing business as VIDEO EQUIPMENT RENTALS, Defendants: John David Taliaferro, LEAD ATTORNEY, KAYE SCHOLER LLP, Washington, DC.
For WH ADMINISTRATORS, INC., BRENDAN M. TURNER, Defendants: David Anthony Hill, Troy Alfred-Wiley Priest, LEAD ATTORNEYS, WONG FLEMING, Washington, DC.
AMY BERMAN JACKSON, United States District Judge.
Plaintiff CostCommand, LLC brings this diversity action against defendants PRS
Software Solutions, Inc. (" PRS" ), Full Throttle Films Inc. d/b/a Video Equipment Rentals (" VER" ), WH Administrators, Inc. (" WHA" ), and Brendan M. Turner, asserting a variety of claims arising out of a business relationship gone awry. Compl. [Dkt. # 1]. Defendants PRS and VER have moved to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(2). Defs.' Joint Mot. to Dismiss (" Defs.' Mot." ) [Dkt. # 9]; Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Defs.' Joint Mot. to Dismiss (" Defs.' Mem." ) [Dkt. # 9]. Because the Court finds that there is not complete diversity of citizenship between plaintiff CostCommand and the defendants, the Court will grant the motion and dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
In evaluating a motion to dismiss under either Rule 12(b)(1) or 12(b)(6), the Court must " treat the complaint's factual allegations as true . . . and must grant plaintiff 'the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged.'" Sparrow v. United Air Lines, Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1113, 342 U.S.App.D.C. 268 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (internal citations omitted), quoting Schuler v. United States, 617 F.2d 605, 608, 199 U.S.App.D.C. 23 (D.C. Cir. 1979); see also Am. Nat'l Ins. Co. v. FDIC, 642 F.3d 1137, 1139, 395 U.S.App.D.C. 316 (D.C. Cir. 2011). Nevertheless, the Court need not accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff if those inferences are unsupported by facts alleged in the complaint, nor must the Court accept plaintiff's legal conclusions. Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242, 352 U.S.App.D.C. 4 (D.C. Cir. 2002); see also Speelman v. United States, 461 F.Supp.2d 71, 73 (D.D.C. 2006).
Under Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992); Shekoyan v. Sibley Int'l Corp., 217 F.Supp.2d 59, 63 (D.D.C. 2002). Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and the law presumes that " a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994); see also Gen. Motors Corp. v. EPA, 363 F.3d 442, 448, 361 U.S.App.D.C. 6 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (" As a court of limited jurisdiction, we begin, and end, with an examination of our jurisdiction." ). " [B]ecause subject-matter jurisdiction is 'an Art[icle] III as well as a statutory requirement . . . no action of the parties can confer subject-matter jurisdiction upon a federal court.'" Akinseye v. District of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970, 971, 358 U.S.App.D.C. 56 (D.C. Cir. 2003), quoting Ins. Corp. of Ir., Ltd. v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 702, 102 S.Ct. 2099, 72 L.Ed.2d 492 (1982).
When considering a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, unlike when deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court " is not limited to the allegations of the complaint." Hohri v. United States, 782 F.2d 227, 241, 251 U.S.App.D.C. 145 (D.C. Cir. 1986), vacated on other grounds, 482 U.S. 64, 107 S.Ct. 2246, 96 L.Ed.2d 51 (1987). Rather, " a court may consider such materials outside the pleadings as it deems appropriate to resolve the question [of] whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case." Scolaro v. D.C. Bd. of Elections & Ethics, 104 F.Supp.2d 18, 22 (D.D.C. 2000), citing Herbert v. Nat'l Acad. of Scis., 974 F.2d 192, 197, 297 U.S.App.D.C. 406 (D.C. Cir. 1992); see also Jerome Stevens Pharms., Inc. v. FDA, 402 F.3d 1249, 1253, 365 U.S.App.D.C. 270 (D.C. Cir. 2005).
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The complaint sets forth a series of complicated allegations concerning the business relationships among the parties, but there is no need to recite those allegations in detail to resolve the issue of this Court's subject matter ...