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Davis v. Facebook Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

December 13, 2018

JEREMIAH WAYNE DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
FACEBOOK, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          Leonard T. Strand, Chief Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before me on a motion (Doc. No. 6) to dismiss filed by defendant Facebook Inc. (Facebook). Plaintiff Jeremiah Davis has filed a resistance (Doc. No. 9) and Facebook has replied (Doc. No. 10). Oral argument is not necessary. N.D. Iowa L.R. 7(c).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Davis commenced this action on August 31, 2018, by filing a pro se motion (Doc. No. 1) to proceed in forma pauperis, along with a proposed complaint (Doc. No. 1-1). I granted the motion to proceed in forma pauperis, and ordered the Clerk of Court to file Davis' complaint. Doc. No. 2. The complaint contains the following description of Davis' claim:

My claim involves my share distribution during 2012 [Initial Public Offering (IPO)] of Facebook. I've filed a claim with the SEC and need documentation of my share distribution to follow up with the SEC ([Security] and Exchange Commission) and provide [documentation] for that claim as well. As it is [privileged] [documentation] and not public knowledge. And it is preventing [me] from accessing, voting; any rights involved with shareholder rights. The distribution was for 59, 000, 000 [convertible] shares both class B and class A shares. And since it is [privileged] information it [would] take a federal court to unseal the documentation.

Doc. No. 3 at 6. Davis further states that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000 because his claim involves “59, 000, 000 class [B] and A shares that convert to over 421, 000, 000.” Id. at 3. Davis invokes this court's diversity of citizenship jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. In his resistance to the motion to dismiss, Davis adds that he is seeking to uncover “a registration statement for the distribution of shares” which can be filed confidentially by “emerging growth companies” during such a company's IPO. Doc. No. 9 at 1. As best as I can discern, Davis is seeking to unseal Facebook's Form S-1 registration statement, which was filed with the SEC prior to Facebook's IPO.

         On November 20, 2018, Facebook filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) for lack of federal subject-matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.

         III. STANDARDS

         A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         The rules of procedure permit a pre-answer motion to dismiss “for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).

“The existence of subject-matter jurisdiction is a question of law that this court reviews de novo.” ABF Freight Sys., Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. Of Teamsters, 645 F.3d 954, 958 (8th Cir. 2011). The party seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction . . . carries the burden, which may not be shifted to another party. Great Rivers Habitat Alliance v. FEMA, 615 F.3d 985, 988 (8th Cir. 2010).

Jones v. United States, 727 F.3d 844, 846 (8th Cir. 2013). Dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) is permissible on the basis of a defense or exception to jurisdiction. See, e.g., Herden v. United States, 726 F.3d 1042, 1046 (8th Cir. 2013).

         When a party limits its attack to the face of the complaint, the attack is a facial challenge to subject matter jurisdiction. Jones, 727 F.3d at 846 (citing BP Chems. Ltd. v. Jiangsu Sopo Corp., 285 F.3d 677, 680 (8th Cir. 2002)). On a facial challenge, “‘the court restricts itself to the face of the pleadings, and the non-moving party receives the same protections as it would defending against a motion brought under Rule 12(b)(6).'” Id. (quoting Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 729 n.6 (8th Cir. 1990)). Those protections include treating the complainant's factual allegations as true and dismissing only if ...


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