United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
PAUL OETKEN United States District Judge
Jeffrey Mead Kurzon, an attorney now proceeding pro
se, initiated this action against the Democratic
National Committee (“DNC”) and the New York State
Democratic Committee (“NYSDC”) on June 3, 2016.
(Dkt. No. 4.) Kurzon initially sought a preliminary
injunction to enjoin Defendants from applying the
superdelegate voting rules at the Democratic National
Convention; the Court denied that motion on July 18, 2016.
(Dkt. No. 32.) Since the denial of the preliminary
injunction, Kurzon has twice amended his complaint and
terminated his counsel. He filed the operative Second Amended
Complaint on December 16, 2016, naming only the DNC as a
defendant and alleging a variety of state-law claims and a
single federal common law “Democracy Tort.” (Dkt.
No. 50 (“SAC”).) The DNC moves to dismiss. (Dkt.
No. 53.) For the reasons that follow, the DNC's motion to
dismiss is granted.
Court presumes familiarity with the background of this
action, as set out in its Opinion and Order on Kurzon's
motion for a preliminary injunction. Kurzon v.
Democratic Nat'l Comm., 197 F.Supp.3d 638
(S.D.N.Y. 2016). The following facts are taken from the
Second Amended Complaint and are presumed true for the
purposes of this motion.
relies on much of the same factual underpinning as the
initial complaint. Kurzon “seek[s] justice” for
himself and others who were “wronged by the [DNC]'s
illegal actions surrounding the 2016 Democratic Presidential
Primary.” (SAC ¶ 1.) The SAC quotes at length from
the DNC Charter and Bylaws regarding the DNC's obligation
of impartiality in the selection of a Presidential candidate.
(Id. ¶¶ 16-18.) He then cites a host of
news articles and internal DNC documents describing the
DNC's alleged favoritism of Hillary Clinton in the 2016
Democratic Presidential Primary. (Id. ¶¶
the SAC differs most notably from the initial complaint is in
the causes of action it alleges. The SAC alleges eight
different state-law claims-fraud, negligent
misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duties, negligence,
prima facie tort, breach of contract, deceptive business
practices under New York law, and unlawful trade practices
under D.C. law-and a “Violation of Federal Common Law:
Democracy Tort.” (Id. ¶¶ 55-119.)
Kurzon seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as
punitive damages in the amount $10, 000, 000. (Id.
¶ 120.) In contrast, the initial complaint raised claims
for violation of Kurzon's rights under the First and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and
for breach of contract. (Dkt. No. 4 ¶¶ 35-42.)
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, ' possessing
‘only that power authorized by Constitution and
statute.'” Gunn v. Minton, 133 S.Ct. 1059,
1064 (2013) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). “A case is
properly dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) when the
district court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to
adjudicate it.” Makarova v. United States, 201
F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2000) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)).
“When resolving a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, a district
court may refer to evidence outside the pleadings, and the
plaintiff bears the burden to prove subject-matter
jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Morrow v. Ann Inc., No. 16 Civ. 3340, 2017 WL
363001, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 24, 2017) (citing
Makarova, 201 F.3d at 113).
argues that Kurzon's SAC should be dismissed under Rule
12(b)(1) for want of subject matter jurisdiction because he
has failed to allege either diversity of citizenship or
federal-question jurisdiction and because he lacks
standing. (Dkt. No. 54 at 5-15.) The DNC also argues
that the SAC should be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim. (Id. at 15-24.) Because
the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the SAC must be
dismissed; the Court reaches neither standing nor whether the
SAC states a claim under Rule 12(b)(6).
Diversity of Citizenship
properly allege diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1332, Kurzon must present a claim between parties who are
citizens of different states where the amount in controversy
is greater than $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The party
seeking to invoke jurisdiction bears the burden of proving
complete diversity and the amount in controversy by a
preponderance of the evidence. See Makarova, 201
F.3d at 113.
that the NYSDC is no longer a party to this action, the
parties are completely diverse, as Kurzon is a New York
citizen and the DNC is a citizen of Washington, D.C. (SAC
¶¶ 4, 8.) The DNC does not dispute this prong of
the diversity analysis. (Dkt. No. 54 at 14.)
argues, however, that Kurzon has not satisfied the amount in
controversy requirement. (Id. at 14-15.) In the SAC,
Kurzon does not seek compensatory damages; rather, he seeks
injunctive and declaratory relief and ...