United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
WILLIAM F. DOSHIER and DOTSTRATEGY, CO. PLAINTIFFS
TWITTER, INC. DEFENDANT
Kristine G. Baker, United States District Judge.
the Court are plaintiffs William F. Doshier and dotStrategy,
Co.'s ("dotStrategy") motion to allow limited
jurisdictional discovery (Dkt. No. 15). Defendant Twitter,
Inc. ("Twitter"), responded in opposition to the
motion (Dkt. No. 20). For the following reasons, the Court
denies the motion (Dkt. No. 15).
filed their complaint initially in the Circuit Court of
Faulkner County, Arkansas (Dkt. No. 2). Twitter removed this
action to this Court on September 21, 2018 (Dkt. No. 1).
Twitter then filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) or, alternatively, to transfer venue
under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) (Dkt. No. 3). Plaintiffs
oppose that motion (Dkt. No. 5). Plaintiffs then filed a
motion to remand this action to Arkansas state court,
contending that Twitter failed in its notice of removal to
"meet its burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of
the evidence that the jurisdictional amount has been met. . .
." (Dkt. No. 7, ¶ 3). Twitter opposes that motion
(Dkt. No. 12).
request limited, jurisdictional discovery in this matter on
the basis that "Plaintiffs believe that in order to
fully and fairly defend against, and dispute the propriety
of, the removal of this case to federal court, as well as to
establish that Venue is proper in Arkansas, that certain
limited jurisdictional discovery is needed. . . ." (Dkt.
No. 15, ¶ 3). Plaintiffs set forth the jurisdictional
discovery they propose and admit that such discovery is
intended to demonstrate that Twitter has sufficient
continuous and systematic contacts or connections with and
within Arkansas for venue to be proper here (Dkt. No. 15,
¶ 6). Twitter opposes the motion because Twitter
contends that the Court has all of the facts required to
determine that Twitter is not subject to jurisdiction in
Arkansas, that the information plaintiffs seek is irrelevant
to the Court's inquiry because it would not establish the
basis for this Court's exercising personal jurisdiction
over Twitter, and because Twitter does not have and cannot
provide the specific information plaintiffs seek (Dkt. No.
20, at 2). Further, Twitter maintains that, because
plaintiffs failed to confer with Twitter prior to filing this
motion, plaintiffs failed to comply with Local Rule 7.2(g) of
the Local Rules of the Eastern District of Arkansas, and the
Court should also deny the motion on this basis (M,at2n.l).
discovery is only warranted if the facts necessary to resolve
the jurisdictional inquiry are either unknown or can be
genuinely disputed. Viasystems, Inc. v. EBM-Papst St.
Georgen GmbH & Co., KG, 646 F.3d 589, 598 (8th Cir.
2011). "Courts look to decisions under [Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure] 56 for guidance in determining whether to
allow discovery on jurisdictional facts." Johnson v.
United States, 534 F.3d 958, 965 (8th Cir. 2008). To
request discovery under Rule 56(f), a party must file an
affidavit that describes: "(1) what facts are sought and
how they are to be obtained; (2) how these facts are
reasonably expected to raise a genuine issue of material
fact; (3) what efforts the affiant has made to obtain them;
and (4) why the affiant's efforts were
unsuccessful." Id; see also F.D.I.C. v.
Dosland, 50 F.Supp. 3d 1070, 1077 (N.D. Iowa Oct. 7,
2014) (noting that the Johnson factors are
"relevant to the determination of whether or not to
allow jurisdictional discovery").
plaintiffs bare assertion that jurisdictional discovery
"would likely" reveal facts necessary to support
jurisdiction is "entirely speculative, and 'when a
plaintiff offers only speculation or conclusory assertions
about [the existence of facts demonstrating jurisdiction,] a
court is within its discretion in denying jurisdictional
discovery.'" Viasystems, Inc., 646 F.3d at
598 (quoting Dever v. Hentzen Coatings, Inc., 380
F.3d 1070, 1074 n.l (8th Cir. 2004)). Whether to grant
jurisdictional discovery is a decision committed to the sound
discretion of the district court, and the denial of a
jurisdictional discovery request is reviewed for abuse of
discretion. Lakin v. Prudential Sec, Inc., 348 F.3d
704, 713 (8th Cir. 2003). "The burden is on the
plaintiff in seeking jurisdictional discovery . . . ."
Fever v. Westin, St. Louis, No. 4;I2CV9SNLJ, 2012 WL
1657062, at *2 (E.D. Mo. May 10, 2012).
Court concurs with Twitter that jurisdictional discovery is
not warranted. Initially, plaintiffs did not confer with
Twitter prior to filing this motion for discovery. Further,
jurisdictional discovery is not warranted because there is no
demonstrated genuine dispute over the facts underlying this
Court's lack of general jurisdiction.
Viasystems, 646 F.3d at 598. Plaintiffs'
complaint and Twitter's motion to dismiss set forth the
relevant facts, and plaintiffs do not dispute them (Dkt. No.
20, at 5). Moreover, the discovery plaintiffs seek likely
would not establish that Twitter has had continuous and
systematic contact with the forum state, Arkansas, sufficient
to render Twitter essentially at home in Arkansas and to
establish this Court's general jurisdiction. Nothing in
plaintiffs' proposed discovery will alter that Twitter
remains a corporation organized under the law of Delaware;
with its principal place of business in California; and with
no employees, offices, or real property in Arkansas. See
Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 138-39(2014).
in plaintiffs' proposed discovery will demonstrate that
Twitter specifically directed its conduct at Arkansas so as
to establish specific jurisdiction either.
Viasystems, 646 F.3d at 594-95. Instead,
plaintiffs' proposed discovery is intended generally to
seek information about the number of Twitter users residing
in Arkansas or the level of user interaction with content
generated by Twitter users residing in Arkansas. None of that
evidence demonstrates conduct initiated by Twitter or an
intent by Twitter to target purposefully Arkansas. See
Lingren v. GDT, LLC, 312 F.Supp.2d 1125, 1131 (S.D. Iowa
2004) (determining that, without more, a website that is
accessible and interactive anywhere does not demonstrate an
intent to purposefully target the forum state). In addition,
Twitter explains through the affidavit of Courtney Smith, a
Legal Policy Specialist on the Trust & Safety team at
Twitter, that its users are not required to provide a
geographic location nor are they required to provide the
correct geographic location (Dkt. No. 20-1, ¶¶
2-3). As a result, much of the information plaintiffs purport
to seek is not reliably available from Twitter. Plaintiffs do
not dispute this record evidence. For these reasons, the
Court denies jurisdictional discovery.
foregoing reasons, having reviewed the entire record and all
filings relevant to this matter, the Court denies
plaintiffs' motion to allow ...