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Taylor v. Rockyou, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 12, 2019

ENRICO TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
ROCKYOU, INC., Defendant,

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on review of pro se plaintiff Enrico Taylor's amended complaint. (Docket No. 6). For the reasons discussed below, plaintiff will be directed to show cause as to why this case should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         Background

         Plaintiff filed his original complaint on June 4, 2018, naming Rock You, Inc. as defendant. He asserted diversity of citizenship as the basis of jurisdiction, and stated that he was a Missouri citizen, while Rock You, Inc. was a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in California. (Docket No. 1 at 3-4). Plaintiff accused defendant Rock You, Inc. of conspiring against him to commit “grand larceny.” (Docket No. 1 at 5).

         On November 6, 2018, the Court ordered plaintiff to file an amended complaint. (Docket No. 5). The Court noted that plaintiff's complaint contained a number of defects, including a reliance on conclusory language and a failure to establish the nature of the alleged conspiracy against him. (Docket No. 5 at 2-3). The Court also noted that while plaintiff asserted a jurisdictional amount of $75, 001, he acknowledged that his actual losses were likely below $10, 000. (Docket No. 1 at 4). Plaintiff was given directions on filing his amended complaint and given thirty days in which to respond. He duly filed an amended complaint on December 6, 2018.

         The Amended Complaint

         In his amended complaint, plaintiff now names three defendants: Rock You, Inc.; Little Things, Inc.; and Joseph Speiser. Plaintiff states that he is a Missouri citizen, while Joseph Speiser is a New York citizen, Rock You, Inc. is a California corporation, and Little Things, Inc. is a Delaware corporation. (Docket No. 6 at 2-3). While the parties are diverse, plaintiff does not assert diversity of citizenship as a basis for jurisdiction, and he does not provide the jurisdictional amount. Instead, plaintiff asserts that this Court's jurisdiction is based on a federal question, and lists the following statutes as being at issue in this case: 29 U.S.C. § 1109, liability for breach of fiduciary duty; 18 U.S.C. § 1343, wire fraud; the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act; and 18 U.S.C. § 1964, the civil remedies section of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). (Docket No. 6 at 4).

         Plaintiff states that he had a revenue sharing partnership with defendant Little Things, Inc. from 2015 to 2018. (Docket No. 6 at 6). Defendant Speiser is purportedly the CEO of Little Things, Inc. Under their arrangement, Little Things, Inc. agreed to pay plaintiff “on a Net 30 basis” for web traffic that plaintiff generated. On February 28, 2018, on the day that plaintiff was to be paid for January's traffic, defendant Little Things, Inc. announced its closing. When plaintiff asked to be paid for his work in January and February, he was advised that the “bank [had taken] over the situation.” Plaintiff alleges that defendant Little Things, Inc. “sold all of their assets in secret to Rock You, Inc. via an asset purchase agreement.” He further states that Little Things, Inc. hid from him without paying, thereby breaching its “fiduciary duty” to plaintiff.

         Plaintiff also states that there were “secret plans” between defendants Little Things, Inc., CEO Speiser, and Rock You, Inc. to buy all Little Things, Inc.'s assets. He asserts that Speiser and Little Things, Inc. made Rock You, Inc. aware of the debt owed to plaintiff, and that Rock You, Inc. “decided to do an asset purchase to try and avoid future liability, ” knowing that it would hurt plaintiff. He claims that this amounts to a conspiracy against him. Furthermore, he states that Little Things, Inc. and Speiser were unjustly enriched at his expense. (Docket No. 6 at 7).

         Finally, plaintiff alleges that Little Things, Inc., “under Joseph Speiser's command, ” made a false statement in an email claiming that Little Things, Inc. had ceased doing business on February 28. However, plaintiff asserts that in a separate federal case, a Little Things, Inc. attorney “claimed it really ceased business on February 27.” Separate emails from Little Things, Inc. stated “that the debt was being controlled by the bank” and that “they were working to ensure the best outcome for its creditors.” Plaintiff alleges this was false and that Little Things, Inc. was “buying time to sell [its] assets” to Rock You, Inc. while knowing that plaintiff was owed money. Plaintiff claims this amounts to fraud.

         Plaintiff is seeking damages in the amount of $10, 001, though he requests the Court's “full discretion over the amount to be rewarded.” (Docket No. 6 at 6). Elsewhere in the amended complaint, however, he notes that his actual damages are between $5, 000 and $10, 000. (Docket No. 6 at 8). He believes he should be given punitive damages because defendants “have been trying to game the bankruptcy process.”

         Discussion

         Plaintiff's amended complaint accuses defendants of breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, unjust enrichment, and fraud. From the face of the amended complaint, however, it does not appear that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction. For the reasons discussed below, plaintiff will be directed to show cause why this case should not be dismissed for lack of a jurisdictional basis.

         A. Subject ...


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