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Bertram Emekekwue v. Ike Agwuegbo

November 1, 2012

BERTRAM EMEKEKWUE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
IKE AGWUEGBO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Conner)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the court is a motion to dismiss (Doc. 8) the amended complaint filed by defendant Ike Agwuegbo ("Agwuegbo"). Agwuegbo avers that Plaintiff Bertram Emekekwue's ("Emekekwue") amended complaint (Doc. 6) should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), and 12(b)(3). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

I. Background

A. Statement of Facts

Emekekwue brings this cause of action for defamation based on an email sent on December 8, 2011. (Doc. 6 ¶ 6). The email in question was sent in response to an email sent by Emekekwue on December 7, 2011. In the December 7, 2011 email, Emekekwue wrote to members of the Obosi Community Association of New York, Inc. ("OCA"):

Please open your attached file to find OCA BYLAWS. I will advice [sic], that we follow the Procedure on electing new officers in accordance with our OCA BYLAWS. . . . PS. We should be careful not to elect any member that had [sic] been convicted of crime and went to Jail for said crime here in U.S. Since this association is [an] IRS 501 (C) 3 charter. (Doc. 6-1, Ex. A). In response, Agwuegbo sent the December 8, 2011 email, which stated:

I read your write up with sheer amusement. You suffer apparently from selective amnesia. Applying your faulty reasoning and misunderstanding of the OCA bye-laws [sic] which are written in very plain english [sic], then, you stand disqualified from holding any position in OCA.

It is on record that you were arrested for Robbery in Nigeria, you jumped bail and eloped to the United States.

I dare you to contradict me and I will publish the newspaper clip on the story for all to see. You were arrested and detained in Pennsylania [sic] for raping your step daughter. We all were involved in helping you get out of that. But just in case you forgot, this [sic] same people you now attack contributed money and called your late wife on your behalf before eventually, the charges were dropped. Please stop threatening people with lawsuits.

You are incapable of sustaining the battle that you seek to start. . . . (Doc. 6-1, Ex. B). Both emails were sent to members of the OCA community, which consists of approximately twenty-eight families located in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. (See Doc. 8-2).

B. Procedural History

Emekekwue filed his original complaint on August 2, 2012. (Doc. 1). On August 21, 2012, Emekekwue filed an amended complaint.*fn1 The amended complaint clarified that Emekekwue resides at 2325 Locust Lane, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17109, with a postal mailing address at 1425 Crooked Hill Road, P.O. Box 60883, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17106. Emekekwue alleges that Agwuegbo's email contained false statements that were intended to "cause harm and ill thoughts of Plaintiff to the detriment of his good name and reputation." (Doc. 6, ¶ 8). Emekekwue further avers that Agwuegbo did cause harm to Emekekwue's reputation. (Id., ¶¶ 17, 19, 20). This case is brought pursuant to the court's diversity jurisdiction because Emekekwue is a Pennsylvania resident and Agwueugbo resides in New Jersey. (Id., ¶¶ 1, 5). In addition, Emekekwue maintains that this court has personal jurisdiction over Agwuegbo and that venue is proper because a substantial portion of the alleged harm occurred in Pennsylvania. (Doc. 6, ¶¶ 2, 3).

On August 23, 2012, Agwuegbo filed the instant motion to dismiss. (Doc. 8). The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

II. Discussion

Agwueugbo asserts the following three jurisdictional grounds for dismissing Emekekwue's amended complaint: (1) subject matter jurisdiction, (2) personal jurisdiction, and (3) venue. The ...


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