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Roberson v. Youtube

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

June 12, 2018

Ashley Roberson
v.
YouTube, et al.

          ORDER

          JOSEPH A. DICLERICO, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Ashley Roberson, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint, naming YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Blogspot.com, Patreon, and GoFundMe as defendants.[1] The defendants have filed motions to dismiss, asserting that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction, that Roberson fails to state a claim, that Roberson impermissibly relies on DeLima's complaint, and other grounds. Some defendants also seek a change of venue. Roberson did not respond to the motions.

         I. Scope of Complaint

         Roberson's pro se complaint is cursory at best. As a statement of her claims, Roberson provides the following: “Consolidated Plaintiff's Lawsuit for Violations of Civil Rights Act, 1964, Election Rigging, Partner Compensation (YouTube and Patreon), First Amendment Rights, Censorship, Illicit Shadow banning of information, Cyberbullying, Copyright Infringement Chapter 5, Illicit Monitoring, Unmasking, Defamation, NIED Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress.” Instead of providing allegations to support her claims, Roberson refers to “Lead Plaintiff Natasha DeLima, who has cited all of the like issues from tampering w/ the election, harassing users,, [sic] who suffered discrimination based on sexuality, political beliefs, and popularity.” Roberson further states that she “concurs with the lawsuit complaints of Natasha DeLima and has suffered similar discrimination and harassment, and felt in danger and unsafe, as though people could personally come after her for her rights to use the internet, this should never be a real fear, but it is.”

         DeLima filed her complaint, DeLima v. YouTube, et al., 17-cv-733-PB (D.N.H. Dec. 21, 2017), on the same day that Roberson filed her complaint. As the defendants point out, Roberson cannot rely on the allegations in DeLima's complaint to support her claims.

         While Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(c) allows incorporation by reference within a pleading or between filings in the same case, the rule does not permit incorporation by reference of allegations from an entirely separate case. See, e.g., Kane v. R.J. Donovan State Prison, 2018 WL 400404, at *3 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 12, 2018); Crawford v. McFadden, 2017 WL 7689416, at *2 (D.S.C. May 4, 2017) (citing cases); Macias v. New Mexico Dep't of Labor, 300 F.R.D. 529, 562 (D.N.M. Mar. 31, 2014); 5A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1326 (3d ed. 2018).

         Therefore, the only allegations considered for purposes of the pending motions are those in Roberson's complaint. The allegations in DeLima's complaint and in any other cases are not incorporated by reference into Roberson's complaint.

         II. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         The court must determine whether subject matter jurisdiction exists before considering the merits of the complaint. Acosta-Ramirez v. Banco Popular de P.R., 712 F.3d 14, 18 (1st Cir. 2013). The plaintiff generally bears the burden of showing subject matter jurisdiction. Aversa v. United States, 99 F.3d 1200, 1209-10 (1st Cir. 1996). When jurisdiction is challenged under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), the court takes the factual allegations in the complaint as true, with reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, and may also consider other evidence that is submitted. Merlonghi v. United States, 620 F.3d 50, 54 (1st Cir. 2010).

         A. Diversity Jurisdiction

         In the complaint, Roberson states that jurisdiction is based on diversity of citizenship. She also states that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.[2] Some defendants move to dismiss on the ground that Roberson has not shown that the case meets the amount in controversy requirement, $75, 000, under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).

         The complaint, standing alone, does not show the value of Roberson's claims beyond her own statement. “The amount in controversy alleged in a plaintiff's complaint ‘is accepted if made in good faith, ' Dart Cherokee Basin Operating CO., LLC v. Ownens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 553 (2014), and ‘[i]t must appear to a legal certainty that the claim is really for less than the jurisdictional amount to justify dismissal.' St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 289 (1938).” Kersey v. Staples, 2018 WL 2077598, at *2 (D. Mass. May 2, 2018). “Once the damages allegation is challenged, however, the party seeking to invoke jurisdiction has the burden of alleging with sufficient particularity facts indicating that it is not a legal certainty that the claim involves less than the jurisdictional amount.” Spielman v. Genzyme Corp., 251 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Roberson's complaint includes no facts to show the amount in controversy, and she filed nothing in response to the motions to dismiss to support the amount in controversy. The defendants plausibly argue that the claims do not meet the required amount. Therefore, based on the record ...


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