United States District Court, District of Columbia
RANDOLPH D. MOSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Vitaly Pilkin is a citizen of the Russian Federation who,
appearing pro se, brings this suit seeking $340
million in damages on a theory of unjust enrichment. On
November 13, 2017, Pilkin filed a 152-page complaint
asserting claims against Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC,
Sony Corporation, Hogan Lovells LLP, the United States
Department of Justice, and Attorney General Jefferson
Sessions. See Dkt. 1 at 1, 3 (Compl.). The Court
dismissed the claims against the Department of Justice and
Attorney General Sessions, who was sued in his official
capacity, on grounds of sovereign immunity. Dkt. 8. The
following day, noting that it was “difficult to
discern” Pilkin's “theory (or theories) of
relief” based on the lengthy complaint, the Court
ordered Pilkin to show cause why the complaint should not be
dismissed for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure Rule 8 or, in the alternative, to file an amended
complaint that satisfied the requirements of Rule 8. Dkt. 9.
Pilkin filed an amended complaint on May 1, 2018,
see Dkt. 12 (Amended Compl.), and Defendants Sony
Interactive Entertainment and Hogan Lovells LLP moved to
dismiss, see Dkt. 25; Dkt. 26. Shortly thereafter,
Pilkin filed a motion for leave to file a second amended
complaint. Dkt. 31.
his original complaint, Pilkin's first amended complaint
“is not the picture of clarity.” Dkt. 8 at 1.
Pilkin alleges that he and Vladimir Vitalievich
Miroshnichenko, now deceased, co-owned a Russian patent and
that the invention covered by that patent is used in the
PlayStation Vita game console manufactured and sold by the
Sony Defendants. See Dkt. 12 at 1, 3 (Amended Compl.
¶¶ 1, 7-9). Having failed in defending the validity
of his patent before the Russian administrative agency
responsible for patents, id. at 4-5 (Amended Compl.
¶¶ 14, 18), as well as at least three Russian
judicial bodies, id. at 6-7 (Amended Compl.
¶¶ 26-31), Pilkin turned to this Court.
Pilkin's principal argument seems to be that Defendants
conspired to undermine his patent in a number of
administrative and legal proceedings in Russia and were
unjustly enriched by the Sony Defendants' infringement of
Sony Interactive Entertainment (“SIE”),
headquartered in California, moves to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction under the D.C. long-arm statute and the
U.S. Constitution. See Dkt. 25-1 at 14-16. According
to Pilkin, SIE is subject to personal jurisdiction in this
district because it “does business . . . as well as has
agents and other representatives in the District of
Columbia.” Dkt. 12 at 2 (Amended Compl. ¶ 2). As
explained below, the Court concludes that it lacks personal
jurisdiction over SIE and, accordingly, grants SIE's
motion to dismiss.
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing a basis for
exercising personal jurisdiction over each defendant in an
action. See Mwani v. bin Laden, 417 F.3d 1, 7 (D.C.
Cir. 2005); Case 1:17-cv-02501-RDM Document 45 Filed 01/16/19
Page 3 of 7 Crane v. N.Y. Zoological Soc'y, 894
F.2d 454, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1990). “When deciding personal
jurisdiction without an evidentiary hearing[, ] . . . the
‘court must resolve factual disputes in favor of the
plaintiff.'” Livnat v. Palestinian Auth.,
851 F.3d 45, 57 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (citation omitted).
But, the Court “need not accept inferences drawn by
plaintiffs if such inferences are unsupported by the facts,
” id. (citation omitted), and a
plaintiff's “[m]ere conclusions or ‘bare
allegation[s]' do not constitute the prima facie
case for jurisdiction that this standard requires, ”
Fawzi v. Al Jazeera Media Network, 273 F.Supp.3d
182, 186 (D.D.C. 2017) (alteration in original) (citation
may exercise either general or specific personal
jurisdiction. General jurisdiction “permits a court to
assert jurisdiction over a defendant based on a forum
connection unrelated to the underlying suit, ” whereas
specific jurisdiction requires an “affiliation between
the forum and the underlying controversy.”
Livnat, 851 F.3d at 56 (citation omitted). “To
establish personal jurisdiction over a non-resident, a court
must engage in a two-part inquiry: A court must first examine
whether jurisdiction is applicable under the state's
long-arm statute and then determine whether a finding of
jurisdiction satisfies the constitutional requirements of due
process.” GTE New Media Servs. Inc. v.
BellSouth Corp., 199 F.3d 1343, 1347 (D.C. Cir. 2000)
(citing United States v. Ferrara, 54 F.3d
825, 828 (D.C. Cir. 1995)). Those principles apply to
A court may assert general jurisdiction over foreign . . .
corporations to hear any and all claims against them when
their affiliations with the State are so “continuous
and systematic” as to render them essentially at home
in the forum State. . . . Specific jurisdiction, on the other
hand, depends on an “affiliatio[n] between the forum
and the underlying controversy”. . . . In contrast to
general, all-purpose jurisdiction, specific jurisdiction is
confined to adjudication of “issues deriving from, or
connected with, the very controversy that establishes
Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564
U.S. 915, 919 (2011) (internal citations omitted); see
also Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 127 (2014).
Because Pilkin fails, at the first step, to allege
“pertinent jurisdictional facts” sufficient to
make a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction
under the District's long-arm statute, First Chicago
Int'l v. United Exch. Co., 836 F.2d 1375, 1378 (D.C.
Cir. 1988), this Court need not reach the constitutional
question. See Arora v. Buckhead Family Dentistry,
Inc., 263 F.Supp.3d 121, 126 (D.D.C. 2017).
contends that this Court has personal jurisdiction over SIE
for two reasons: First, he alleges that SEI “does
business . . . as well as has agents and other
representatives in the District of Columbia.” Dkt. 12
at 2 (Amended Compl. ¶ 2). Second, he contends that
“Defendants, including SIE LLC, committed federal
offenses and concealed them from the Department of Justice,
” and that, as a result, a “substantial part of
the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred in
the District of Columbia.” Dkt. 33 at 15. These
allegations, even if accepted as true, are insufficient to
support either general or specific jurisdiction.
considered a “foreign” corporation because there
is no evidence-and Pilkin does not allege-that it is
“domiciled in [or] organized under the laws” of
the District of Columbia, nor does SEI maintain “its
principal place of business” here. D.C. Code §
13-422. To the contrary, as Plaintiff concedes, SIE is
“headquartered” in San Mateo, California. Dkt. 12
at 2 (Amended Compl. ¶ 2); see also Dkt. 33 at
15 (characterizing SIE as an “out-of-state
Defendant”). As a result, the Court must look to D.C.
Code § 13-334(a), which authorizes general jurisdiction
over a foreign corporation only if it is “doing
business in the District” and the exercise of general
jurisdiction comports with constitutional due process.
See FC Inv. Grp. LC v. IFX Mkts., Ltd., 529 F.3d
1087, 1092 (D.C. Cir. 2008). Under this demanding standard,
the Court may exercise general jurisdiction over SIE only if
the company's affiliations with the Case
1:17-cv-02501-RDM Document 45 Filed 01/16/19 Page 5 of 7
District of Columbia are so “‘continuous and
systematic' as to render [it] essentially at home”
here. Goodyear Dunlop Tires, 564 U.S. at 919.
Pilkin's jurisdictional allegations do not come close to
satisfying this test. As a result, the Court cannot exercise
general jurisdiction over SIE.