United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Fadi Elsalameen, filed an eight-count amended complaint
against the Bank of Palestine, P.L.C. ("Bank of
Palestine" or "Bank") alleging: 1) defamation
per se, 2) conspiracy to defame, 3) invasion of
privacy - publicity concerning private life of another, 4)
invasion of privacy - false light, 5) tortious interference
with contract, 6) fraud, 7) civil conspiracy, and 8)
intentional infliction of emotional distress. Second Am.
Compl. [Dkt # 36] ("Am. Compl") ¶¶
111-59. Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment, compensatory
damages of at least $5, 980, 000.00, punitive damages, and
attorneys' fees and costs. Id., "Prayer for
Relief," at 39-40. The Bank moved to dismiss the
complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff
opposed the motion and cross-moved for limited jurisdictional
discovery. The Court granted plaintiffs discovery request and
held the motion to dismiss in abeyance while the parties
conducted discovery. After reviewing the complete record,
including the parties' post-discovery supplemental
filings, the Court finds that it lacks personal jurisdiction
over defendant, and it will dismiss the suit pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2).
second amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that the Bank of
Palestine engaged in a "prolonged, calculated effort to
discredit, threaten, extort, and silence" him due to his
criticism of the "Palestinian regime" and
"powerful Palestinian institutions and
individuals." Second Am. Compl. at 1. Plaintiff brought
this suit under the Court's diversity jurisdiction, 28
U.S.C. § 1332. Id. ¶ 1. He alleges that he
is a U.S. citizen currently residing in the state of North
Carolina, but that he suffered most of the alleged harm while
he was living in the District of Columbia. Id. The
Bank of Palestine is a citizen of Palestine, and it is not
domiciled in the District of Columbia nor North Carolina.
12, 2018, the Bank of Palestine moved to dismiss the suit for
lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.
Def. Bank of Palestine, P.L.C.'s Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. #
29] ("Def.'s Mot."), Def. Mem. of Law in Supp.
of its Mot. [Dkt. #29-1] ("Def.'s Mem.").
Plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing among other things,
that personal jurisdiction is proper under the D.C. long-arm
statute, D.C. Code § 13-423(a)(4), based upon the
Bank's activities which "are persistent and
reasonably connect[ed] ... to the District of Columbia."
Pl.'s Opp. to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss & Mem. in
Supp. of Cross-Mot. [Dkt. #31] ("Pl.'s Opp.")
at 4-7. Plaintiff asserted that, among other activities, the
defendant solicited capital investments in the District and
engaged in online banking transactions with D.C. residents.
Id. at 5-7. In the alternative, plaintiff
cross-moved to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery on
the extent of the Bank's contacts with the District of
Columbia. Pl.'s Cross-Mot., In the Alternative, For
Limited Jurisdictional Discovery [Dkt. # 32] ("Pl.'s
Cross-Mot.") at 2-4.
November 27, 2018, the Court granted plaintiffs cross-motion
to hold defendant's motion to dismiss in abeyance to
allow for jurisdictional discovery. Min. (Nov. 27, 2018).
Court limited the scope of discovery to address four relevant
In particular, discovery may address: 1) whether defendant
solicited capital investments from private individuals or
entities - as opposed to any governmental entities or arms of
the World Bank, which would not be relevant - within the
District of Columbia; 2) whether it solicited new banking
customers within the District of Columbia; 3) whether it
operates any branches or offices or employs any individuals
in the District of Columbia; and 4) the use of its online
website by customers within the District of Columbia to
transact banking business, including, the nature, frequency,
and volume of any such use.
Id. After conducting discovery, the parties
submitted supplemental briefs and exhibits in support of
their positions. Pl.'s Suppl. Opp. to Def.'s Mot. to
Dismiss [Dkt. #41] ("Pl.'s Suppl") (sealed);
Def.'s Suppl Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt.
# 42] (Def.'s Suppl").
survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2), a plaintiff "must make a prima
facie showing of the pertinent jurisdictional
facts." Livnat v. Palestinian Auth., 851 F.3d
45, 56-57 (D.C. Cir. 2017), quoting First Chicago
Int'l v. United Exch. Co., 836 F.2d 1375, 1378 (D.C.
Cir. 1988). This requires specific factual allegations
connecting the defendant to the forum. First Chicago
Int'l, 836 F.3d at 1378, citing Greenspun v. Del
E. Webb Corp., 634 F.2d 1204, 1208 n.5 (9th Cir. 1980).
Conclusory statements and bare allegations are insufficient.
Livnat, 851 F.3d at 57, citing First Chicago
Int'l, 836 F.3d at 1378-79. In conducting the
personal jurisdiction analysis, any factual discrepancies
must be resolved in favor of the plaintiff, Crane v. New
York Zoological Soc., 894 F.2d 454, 456 (D.C. Cir.
1990). But the Court need not treat all of the plaintiffs
jurisdictional allegations as true. Myers v. Holiday
Inns, Inc., 915 F.Supp.2d 136, 139 (D.D.C. 2013).
"Instead, the court may receive and weigh affidavits and
any other relevant matter to assist it in determining the
jurisdictional facts." Id., citing United
States v. Philip Morris, Inc., 116 F.Supp.2d 116, 120
n.4 (D.D.C. 2000).
establish personal jurisdiction over a non-resident . . .
[the Court] must first decide whether statutory jurisdiction
exists under the District's long-arm statute and, if it
does, then [the Court] must determine whether an exercise of
jurisdiction would comport with constitutional
limitations" of the Due Process Clause. Forras v.
Rauf, 812 F.3d.1102, 1105-06 (D.C. Cir. 2016). In his
opposition to the motion to dismiss, plaintiff contends that
personal jurisdiction is ...