O'Rourke et al v. Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. et al
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS (Dkt. ## 22 , 23 , & 41 ) & PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO AMEND (Dkt. # 48 ) by Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter on 28 April 2021. It is hereby ORDERED that the Motions to Dismiss of Defendants Dominion, Facebook, and CTCL (Dkt. ##22, 23, & 41) are GRANTED. It is further ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Complaint (Dkt. # 1 ) is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for lack of standing. Because Plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed the claims against the various state officials of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (Brian Kemp, Brad Raffensperger, Gretchen Whitmer, Jocelyn Benson, Tom Wolf, Kathy Boockvar, Tony Evers, Ann S. Jacobs, Mark Thomsen, Marge Bostelman, Julie E. Glancey, Dean Knudson, a nd Robert F. Spindell, Jr.), it is further ORDERED that the Motions to Dismiss filed by those state official defendants (Dkt. ## 46 , 47 , & 49 ) are DENIED as moot.It is further ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (Dkt. # 48 ) is DENIED on the grounds of futility.(cmadr, )
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 1 of 29
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 20-cv-03747-NRN
NATHANIEL L. CARTER,
LARRY D. COOK,
NEIL YARBROUGH, and
DOMINION VOTING SYSTEMS INC., a Delaware corporation,
FACEBOOK, INC., a Delaware corporation,
CENTER FOR TECH AND CIVIC LIFE, an Illinois non-profit organization,
MARK E. ZUCKERBERG, individually,
PRISCILLA CHAN, individually,
BRIAN KEMP, individually,
BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, individually,
GRETCHEN WHITMER, individually,
JOCELYN BENSON, individually,
TOM WOLF, individually,
KATHY BOOCKVAR, individually,
TONY EVERS, individually,
ANN S. JACOBS, individually,
MARK L. THOMSEN, individually,
MARGE BOSTELMAN, individually,
JULIE M. GLANCEY,
DEAN KNUDSON, individually,
ROBERT F. SPINDELL, JR, individually, and
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS (Dkt. ##22, 23, & 41) &
PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO AMEND (Dkt. #48)
N. REID NEUREITER
United States Magistrate Judge
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 2 of 29
This matter is before the Court with the consent of the Parties, referred for all
purposes by Chief Judge Philip A. Brimmer pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
This lawsuit arises out of the 2020 election for President of the United States.
The original Complaint, filed December 22, 2020 (Dkt. #1) and which purports to be a
class action lawsuit brought on behalf of 160 million registered voters, alleges a vast
conspiracy between four state governors; secretaries of state; and various election
officials of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia; along with Dominion Voting
Systems, Inc.—a private supplier of election and voting technology; the social media
company Facebook, Inc.; the Center for Tech and Civic Life (“CTCL”)—a non-profit
organization dedicated to making elections more secure and inclusive; as well as
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.
I use the words “vast conspiracy” advisedly. That is what the Complaint, all 84
pages and 409-plus paragraphs, alleges: that “the Defendants engaged in concerted
action to interfere with the 2020 presidential election through a coordinated effort to,
among other thing, change voting laws without legislative approval, use unreliable
voting machines, alter votes through an illegitimate adjudication process, provide illegal
methods of voting, count illegal votes, suppress the speech of opposing voices,
disproportionally and privately fund only certain municipalities and counties, and other
methods, all prohibited by the Constitution.” Dkt. #1 at 2, ¶ 4.
The named Plaintiffs are from Virginia (Kevin O’Rourke), Michigan (Nathaniel
Carter and Kesha Crenshaw), Colorado (Lori Cutunilli and Neil Yarbrough), Alaska
(Alvin Criswell), California (Larry D. Cook), and Alabama (Amie Trapp).
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 3 of 29
Plaintiffs’ affidavits, attached to the Complaint, shed light on the personal feelings
and motivations in bringing this suit, highlighting their personal anguish stemming from
the 2020 presidential election. For example, Mr. O’Rourke, a Virginia certified public
accountant and a self-professed “free man, born of a free woman and free man,”
I have lost any faith in the existing form of government and technology
monopolies; I am angry; I am frustrated; I cannot sleep at night; I suffer from
anxiety as a result of this uncertainty; I have lost my desire to communicate
with most people openly and remain guarded as to my interactions and
communication with every day people; I feel I have no voice, no rights, and
I have been 100% abandoned by the government in all its forms[.]
Dkt. #1-2 at ¶ 36.
Mr. Carter, a 55-year old Michigander from Benton Harbor, swears that
DOMINION and others were aware or should have been aware that
machines are unreliable, and susceptible to manipulation by unethical
administrators, outside actors, foreign countries, and from employees and
contractors from inside DOMINION. I believe that as a result, my vote during
the 2020 Presidential Election was effectively not counted, and the results
of the election were predetermined. . . . I believe my vote has be [sic]
discounted or eliminated all-together from consideration regarding the
choice for the country’s highest office.
Dkt. #1-3 at ¶ 19–22.
And Ms. Cutunilli, a business owner and grandmother in Summit County,
Colorado, believes that her “constitutional right to participate in fair and honest elections
has been violated with [her] vote suppressed.” She says, “While I once trusted in the
fairness of the United States electoral system I no longer do, with the Dominion Voting
System being utilized in Colorado and around the country as well as private ‘donations’
being unconstitutionally distributed and accepted to interfere with the legitimacy of our
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 4 of 29
The affidavits of the other Plaintiffs are similar in tone and reflect similar beliefs
and sentiments,1 summarized in the concluding pages of the Complaint, “The shared,
foreboding feeling of impending doom is presently felt by tens of millions of people. All
across the country there is a fear that the people are losing their liberty.” Dkt. #1 at 82.
The Complaint asserts seven separate counts. Plaintiffs allege (1) violation of the
Electors Clause and imposing of an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote for
President and Vice-President; (2) violation of equal protection; (3) violation of due
process; (4) the imposition of an unconstitutional burden on the rights to political
speech, the right to associate, and freedom of the press; (5) a “Constitutional
Challenge” to the actions of Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg as somehow burdening the
Plaintiffs’ right to free speech and free press, and questioning whether 47 U.S.C. §
230(c) applies to Facebook; (6) a request for a declaratory judgment that each of the
Defendants acted unconstitutionally; and (7) a permanent injunction.
For relief, Plaintiffs in their Complaint seek a mishmash of outcomes, ranging
from a permanent injunction restraining Defendants from any further unconstitutional
behavior, to a declaratory judgment that 47 U.S.C. §230(c) is unconstitutional as applied
to the actions of the Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg, to a declaration that the actions of
the Defendants are unconstitutional and ultra vires “making them legal nullities,” to a
damage award in the “nominal amount of $1,000 per registered voter [which] equals
Plaintiff Larry D. Cook, although convinced that there “was widespread vote fraud and
manipulation during the 2020 Presidential Election” is somewhat anomalous, as his
affidavit appears to focus on his anti-vaccination beliefs, his support of Q and other
Qanon conspiracy theorists, and his distress at having had his anti-vaccine Facebook
page and Qanon-related pages removed from the platform. See Dkt. #1-6.
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 5 of 29
damages in the approximate amount of $160 billion dollars” for the alleged
Constitutional wrongs Plaintiffs have suffered. Dkt. #1 at 82–83.
The Defendants who have been served moved to dismiss on a number of
grounds, including pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) (lack of subject matter jurisdiction);
12(b)(2) (lack of personal jurisdiction), and 12(b)(6) (failure to state a claim). See Dkt.
##22, 23, 41, 46, 47, & 49.
Procedural Background, Pending and Mooted Motions
Plaintiffs filed suit on December 22, 2020.
On February 16, 2021, Dominion filed its Motion to Dismiss. See Dkt. #22.
Facebook filed its own Motion to Dismiss the same day. See Dkt. #23.
On February 26, 2021, the Court stayed all disclosures and discovery pending
resolution of the Motions to Dismiss. See Dkt. #28 (Minute Order).
Rather than filing an Amended Complaint as a matter of right, Plaintiffs filed
oppositions to the two Motions to Dismiss on March 9, 2021. See Dkt. ##38 & 39.
On March 10, 2021, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (“CTCL”) filed its own
Motion to Dismiss. See Dkt. #41.
On March 15, 2021, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson filed a Motion to Dismiss. See Dkt. #46. The same
day, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
also filed a Motion to Dismiss. See Dkt. #47. And on March 18, 2021, Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of Commonwealth Veronica
Degraffenreid also filed a Motion to Dismiss. See Dkt. #49.
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 6 of 29
In the meantime, on March 15, 2021, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Leave to File an
Amended Complaint, attaching a redlined version of the proposed Amended Complaint.
See Dkt. #48. The proposed Amended Complaint seeks to add 152 new plaintiffs from
33 different states and breaks the proposed national class of registered voters into
subclasses of Republicans, Democrats, Third-Parties, Independents, and “Disgruntled
Voters.” The proposed Amended Complaint adds six causes of action (including
racketeering claims under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization
Act (“RICO”) against Facebook, CTCL, Zuckerberg and Chan) and 473 paragraphs.
On March 23, 2021, Facebook and Dominion filed their replies in support of their
Motions to Dismiss. See Dkt. ##55 & 56.
On March 29, 2021, each of the Defendant groups filed responses objecting to
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File the Amended Complaint. See Dkt. #58
(Kemp/Raffensperger), #59 (Boockvar/Wolf), #60 (Benson/Whitmer), #61 (Dominion),
#62 (CTCL), & #63 (Facebook.).
On April 8, 2021, Plaintiffs filed multiple replies in support of their Motion for
Leave to File an Amended Complaint. See Dkt. ##71, 73, 74, 75, 76, & 77.
Plaintiffs initially filed responses opposing the various government official
defendants’ Motions to Dismiss. See Dkt. #72 (opposing Wolf and Degraffenreid’s
Motion to Dismiss), #79 (opposing Kemp and Raffensberger’s Motion to Dismiss); & #80
(opposing Whitmer and Benson’s Motion to Dismiss). But then, a few days later, on
April 19 and 20, 2021, Plaintiffs’ voluntarily dismissed the government official
defendants from the case. See Dkt. ##82–85, & 87.
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 7 of 29
Thus, remaining for determination are the Motions to Dismiss of Defendants
Dominion (Dkt. #22), Facebook (Dkt. #23), and CTCL (Dkt. #41), and Plaintiffs’ Motion
for Leave to Amend the Complaint (Dkt. #48). The Motions to Dismiss filed by the
government official defendants will be denied as moot, as those defendants have been
Standard for Considering Rule 12(b)(1) Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction
Rule 12(b)(1) provides for dismissal of an action for “lack of subject matter
jurisdiction.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(1), Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the Court has subject matter
jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1). Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560–61
Standard for Failure to State a Claim Under Rule 12(b)(6)
To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain
enough facts “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“Mere ‘labels and conclusions’ and ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action’ are insufficient.” Morman v. Campbell Cty. Mem’l Hosp., 632 F. App’x 927, 931
(10th Cir. 2015). Thus, “a court should disregard all conclusory statements of law and
consider whether the remaining specific factual allegations, if assumed to be true,
plausibly suggest the defendant is liable.” Kan. Penn Gaming, LLC v. Collins, 656 F.3d
1210, 1214 (10th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiffs lack Article III standing so the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case.
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 8 of 29
Defendants make numerous arguments as to why Plaintiffs’ Complaint should be
dismissed, including lack of personal jurisdiction, failure to state a constitutional claim
because the remaining Defendants are not state actors, failure to plausibly allege
violation of constitutional rights, and reliance on Section 230 of the Communications
Decency Act. But one argument appears in all the Motions and, even without
addressing the myriad others, it ultimately proves fatal to Plaintiffs’ case. The decisive
argument is that the Plaintiffs have not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest or
injury sufficient to grant them standing to sue. With Plaintiffs not having standing to sue,
there is no case or controversy, a necessary predicate for federal court jurisdiction
under Article III of the Constitution.
Federal courts are not “constituted as free-wheeling enforcers of the Constitution
and laws.” Initiative & Referendum Inst. v. Walker, 450 F.3d 1082, 1087 (10th Cir. 2006)
(en banc). As the Supreme Court “ha[s] often explained,” we are instead “courts of
limited jurisdiction.” Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. v. Jackson, ––– U.S. ––––, 139 S. Ct.
1743, 1746 (2019) (internal quotation marks omitted). Article III of the Constitution
establishes that the jurisdiction of the federal courts reaches only “Cases” and
“Controversies.” U.S. Const. art. III, § 2. Absent a justiciable case or controversy
between interested parties, a federal court lacks the “power to declare the law.” Steel
Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env’t, 523 U.S. 83, 94 (1998).
Article III standing requires Plaintiffs to have personally suffered (1) a concrete
and particularized injury (2) that is traceable to the conduct they challenge, and that (3)
would likely be redressed by a favorable decision. Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct.
1540, 1547 (2016). At the pleading stage, any complaint filed in federal court must
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 9 of 29
“clearly allege facts demonstrating each element.” Id. (quotation marks and alterations
omitted). A particularized injury is one that “affect[s] the plaintiff in a personal and
individual way.” Id. at 1548 (internal quotation marks omitted).
The gravamen of Plaintiffs’ Complaint, confirmed by a review of their attached
affidavits, is the general assertion that allegedly illegal conduct occurred in multiple
states across the country during the recent Presidential election, resulting in Plaintiffs’
votes (to the extent each Plaintiff actually voted—some admit they did not) being diluted
or discounted in some way, to the point where their votes did not matter.2 The allegedly
illegal conduct supposedly included facilitating the use of more absentee ballots than
Plaintiffs think was permissible; the unequal placement of ballot drop boxes; the
modification of various state voting rules in a way Plaintiffs believe was inconsistent with
state law; the publication by Facebook of certain messages and Facebook’s selective
censorship of others; the implementation by municipalities across the country of
allegedly inaccurate vote-counting technologies; and the charitable funding of certain
municipalities’ voting inclusion and security programs.
But whatever the grievances, the disputed conduct and the resulting claimed
injury impacted 160 million voters in the same way. The Complaint, viewed as whole, is
a generalized grievance about the operation of government, or about the actions of the
See Aff. of Kesha Crenshaw (Dkt. #1-7) (“I am routinely told by people, even my
husband, that my vote didn’t matter, and that voting is just wasting my time. . . . I have
watched what happened on Election Day and since, and now realize that the people
who warned me that my vote didn’t count were right. I know that I did cast a ballot and
voted in the election, but based on reports that I have seen, I have no faith that the
outcomes reported are actually the votes that were cast, or that my vote was counted at
all. . . . I can see with my own eyes the ‘irregularities’ that have been reported, and
know what I see is not right, has not been explained, and calls into doubt the legitimacy
of the election.”).
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 10 of 29
Defendants on the operation of government, resulting in abstract harm to all registered
voting Americans. It is not the kind of controversy that is justiciable in a federal court.
See Wood v. Raffensperger, 981 F.3d 1307, 1314 (11th Cir. 2020) (claimed interest in
ensuring that “only lawful ballots are counted” is a generalized grievance).
As the Supreme Court of the United States has said in a case involving four
Colorado voters who sought to challenge on federal constitutional grounds a Colorado
Supreme Court decision relating to redistricting,
We have consistently held that a plaintiff raising only a generally available
grievance about government—claiming only harm to his and every citizen’s
interest in proper application of the Constitution and laws, and seeking relief
that no more directly and tangibly benefits him than it does the public at
large—does not state an Article III case or controversy.
Lance v. Coffman, 549 U.S. 437, 439 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at
573-74 (1992)). See also Chiles v. Thornburgh, 865 F.2d 1197, 1205–06 (11th Cir.
1989) (explaining that an injury to the right “to require that the government be
administered according to the law” is a generalized grievance).
The Supreme Court in Lance was specific that a case where voters allege only
that the law (in that case the Elections Clause) has not been followed will not support
standing to sue:
[T]he problem with this allegation should be obvious: The only injury
plaintiffs allege is that the law—specifically the Elections Clause—has not
been followed. This injury is precisely the kind of undifferentiated,
generalized grievance about the conduct of government that we have
refused to countenance in the past. It is quite different from the sorts of
injuries alleged by plaintiffs in voting rights cases where we have found
standing. See, e.g. Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 207–208, 82 S. Ct. 691, 7
L. Ed. 2d 663 (1962). Because plaintiffs assert no particularized stake in the
litigation, we hold that they lack standing to bring the Elections Clause claim.
549 U.S. at 1198.
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 11 of 29
It should be no surprise to Plaintiffs or their counsel that their generalized
grievances about their votes being diluted or other votes being improperly counted
would be insufficient to grant them the standing required under Article III of the
Constitution. Numerous other cases challenging the 2020 election and its surrounding
circumstances have been dismissed for precisely this reason (among many other
For example, on December 11, 2020, the United States Supreme Court denied
the State of Texas’ attempt to file a bill of complaint challenging the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania’s 2020 election procedures on the ground that “Texas has not
demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State
conducts its elections.” Texas v. Pennsylvania, 141 S. Ct. 1230 (2020).
In Wood v. Raffensperger, the Eleventh Circuit held that attorney Lin Wood
lacked standing in federal court to enforce Georgia’s election laws, in part because his
claim that unlawfully processed absentee ballots diluted the weight of his vote was a
generalized grievance “that cannot support standing.” 981 F.3d at 1314-15.
In Bognet v. Secretary Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where voters and a
congressional candidate brought suit against the Secretary of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania and county boards of election seeking to enjoin the counting of mail-in
ballots during a three-day extension of the ballot-receipt deadline ordered by the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and also seeking a declaration that the extension period
was unconstitutional, the Third Circuit explained the doctrine of standing in clear terms:
To bring suit, you—and you personally—must be injured, and you must be
injured in a way that concretely impacts your own protected legal interests.
If you are complaining about something that does not harm you—and does
not harm you in a way that is concrete—then you lack standing. And if the
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 12 of 29
injury that you claim is an injury that does no specific harm to you, or if it
depends on a harm that may never happen, then you lack an injury for which
you may seek relief from a federal court.
980 F.3d 336, 348 (3d Cir. 2020), cert. granted and judgment vacated with instructions
to dismiss as moot, ___ S. Ct.___, 2021 WL 1520777 (April 19, 2021). In Bognet, the
court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue for alleged injuries attributable to a
state government’s violations of the Elections Clause, in part because the relief “would
have no more directly benefitted them than the public at large.” Id. at 349.3
In Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar, No. 2:20-cv-966, 2020 WL
5997680 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 10, 2020), the Western District of Pennsylvania dismissed a
legal challenge to election guidance given by the Secretary of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania regarding manned security near absentee drop boxes, performing of
signature comparisons for mail-in ballots, and a county-residency requirement for poll
watchers. The claim had been that the plaintiffs would suffer an injury through the nonequal treatment or dilution of their legitimately cast votes by improperly verified
absentee or mail-in ballots. The court there found the plaintiffs lacked the “concrete” and
“particularized” injury necessary for Article III standing, agreeing that the “claimed injury
of vote dilution caused by possible voter fraud . . . too speculative to be concrete.” 2020
WL 5997680, at *32.
In Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Cegavske, 488 F. Supp. 3d 993 (D. Nev.
2020), the District of Nevada dismissed a lawsuit against Nevada’s Secretary of State
that sought to challenge a Nevada law that expanded mail-in voting due to the COVID19 pandemic. The law directed city and county election officials to mail paper ballots to
While the judgment in this case was vacated by the Supreme Court on mootness
grounds, the reasoning on the issue of standing remains persuasive.
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 13 of 29
all active registered voters. Plaintiffs sued, claiming an individual right under the
Constitution to have a vote fairly counted, “without being distorted by fraudulently cast
votes”—i.e., vote dilution—and also for violations of the Equal Protection Clause. The
court dismissed the case for lack of standing, finding the claimed injury “impermissibly
generalized” and “speculative.” 488 F.Supp.3d at 1000. “As with other ‘[g]enerally
available grievance[s] about the government,’ plaintiffs seek relief on behalf of their
member voters that “no more directly and tangibly benefits them than it does the public
at large.” Id. (alteration omitted) (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 573–74).
In Bowyer v. Ducey, No. CV-20-02321-PHX-DJH, 2020 WL 7238261 (D. Ariz.
Dec. 9, 2020), the District of Arizona rejected a suit by Republican nominees for
Arizona’s Presidential Electors and Republican county chairs who sued Arizona’s
governor and secretary of state seeking to set aside results of the 2020 election on the
basis of fraud and election misconduct. Claims under both the Elections Clause and the
Equal Protection Clause based on vote dilution were deemed inadequate for lack of
Article III standing: “Defendants contend that Plaintiffs do not have standing to assert
these claims and point out that these allegations are nothing more than generalized
grievances that any one of the 3.4 million Arizonans who voted could make if they were
so allowed. The Court agrees.” 2020 WL 7238261, at *5.
In King v. Whitmer, Civ. No. 20-13134, 2020 WL 7134198 (E.D. Mich. December
7, 2020), the Eastern District of Michigan rejected a lawsuit bringing claims of
widespread voter irregularities and fraud in the processing and tabulation of votes and
absentee ballots in the 2020 general election. The plaintiffs were registered Michigan
voters and nominees of the Republican Party to be Presidential Electors on behalf of
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 14 of 29
the State of Michigan. They sued Michigan Governor Whitmer and Secretary of State
Benson in their official capacities, as well as the Michigan Board of State Canvassers.
Applying the doctrine of standing, the court there found that the plaintiffs had failed to
establish that the alleged injury of vote dilution was redressable by a favorable court
decision. 2020 WL 7134198, at *9. And with respect to the claimed violations of the
Elections Clause and Electors Clause, the Court held that where “the only injury
Plaintiffs have alleged is the Elections Clause has not been followed, the United States
Supreme Court has made clear that ‘[the] injury is precisely the kind of undifferentiated,
generalized grievance about the conduct of government that [courts] have refused to
countenance.’” Id. at *10 (quoting Lance, 549 U.S. at 442).
In Feehan v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, No. 20-cv-1771-pp, 2020 WL
7250219 (E.D. Wis. Dec. 9, 2020), a case involving a Wisconsin political party’s
nominee to be a Presidential Elector who brought suit alleging the election was the
subject of wide-spread ballot fraud and violated the equal protection and due process
clause, the court dismissed the suit for lack of standing because the claimed injury was
The plaintiff’s alleged injuries are injuries that any Wisconsin voter suffers if
the Wisconsin election process were, as the plaintiff alleges, “so riddled with
fraud, illegality, and statistical impossibility that this Court, and Wisconsin’s
voters, courts, and legislators, cannot rely on, or certify, any numbers
resulting from this election.” [ ] The plaintiff has not alleged that, as a voter,
he has suffered a particularized, concrete injury sufficient to confer
2020 WL 7250219, at *9 (internal citation omitted). Many of the allegations found in
Plaintiffs’ Complaint are identical to the allegations in the Feehan case. See id. at *2
(reciting the Feehan complaint as alleging “massive election fraud, multiple violations of
the Wisconsin Election Code, see e.g., Wis. Stat. §§ 5.03, et seq., in addition to the
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 15 of 29
Election and Electors Clauses and Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution”
based on “dozens of eyewitnesses and the statistical anomalies and mathematical
impossibilities detailed in the affidavits of expert witnesses”).
In Texas Voters Alliance v. Dallas County, Civ. No. 4:20-CV-00775, 2020 WL
6146248 (E.D. Tex. Oct. 10, 2020), the Eastern District of Texas denied a motion for a
temporary restraining order in a suit brought by a Texas voting rights group and voters
under the Elections Clause, Supremacy Clause and Help Americans Vote Act, which
alleged (similar to the allegations in this case) that by accepting or using CTCL’s private
federal election grants, Texas counties acted ultra vires. The court found the plaintiffs
lacked standing to challenge the counties’ acceptance of the CTCL grants because the
injury claimed was an “undifferentiated, generalized grievance about the conduct of
government” and “merely alleging that the grants may influence the election result and
lead to possible disenfranchisement is not an injury-in-fact.” 2020 WL 6146248, at *4.
In Iowa Voter Alliance v. Black Hawk County, C20-2078-LTS, 2021 WL 276700
(N.D. Iowa January 27, 2021), the Northern District of Iowa dismissed a lawsuit brought
by voters and a voter group, which also sought to challenge Iowa counties’ acceptance
of CTCL grants which were intended to assist with the unforeseen costs of conducting
an election during the COVID-19 pandemic. The court found
none of plaintiffs alleged injuries constitutes an injury in fact, as they have
failed to allege facts showing that the counties’ actions resulted in a
concrete and particularized injury to their right to vote or to their rights under
the Fourteenth and Ninth Amendments. Instead, they have done no more
than assert generalized grievances against government conduct or which
they do not approve.
2021 WL 276700, at *7 (internal quotation marks, citations, and alterations omitted).
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 16 of 29
In sum, federal courts addressing these issues, whether in the 2020 or other
elections, are nearly uniform in finding the types of election-related harms of which the
Plaintiffs complain insufficient to confer standing. The Middle District of North Carolina
recently summarized some of these vote-dilution “generalized grievance” decisions:
Indeed, lower courts which have addressed standing in vote dilution
cases arising out of the possibility of unlawful or invalid ballots being
counted, as Plaintiffs have argued here, have said that this harm is unduly
speculative and impermissibly generalized because all voters in a state are
affected, rather than a small group of voters. See, e.g., Donald Trump for
President, Inc. v. Cegavske, Case No. 2:20-CV-1445 JCM (VCF), ––– F.
Supp. 3d ––––, ––––, 2020 WL 5626974, at *4 (D. Nev. Sept. 18, 2020)
(“As with other generally available grievances about the government,
plaintiffs seek relief on behalf of their member voters that no more tangibly
benefits them than it does the public at large.”) (internal quotations and
modifications omitted); Martel v. Condos, Case No. 5:20-cv-131, ––– F.
Supp. 3d ––––, ––––, 2020 WL 5755289, at *4 (D. Vt. Sept. 16, 2020) (“If
every voter suffers the same incremental dilution of the franchise caused by
some third-party’s fraudulent vote, then these voters have experienced a
generalized injury.”); Paher v. Cegavske, 457 F. Supp. 3d 919, 926-27 (D.
Nev. 2020) (“Plaintiffs’ purported injury of having their votes diluted due to
ostensible election fraud may be conceivably raised by any Nevada voter.”);
Am. Civil Rights Union v. Martinez-Rivera, 166 F. Supp. 3d 779, 789 (W.D.
Tex. 2015) (“[T]he risk of vote dilution [is] speculative and, as such, [is] more
akin to a generalized grievance about the government than an injury in
Although “[i]t would over-simplify the standing analysis to conclude
that no state-wide election law is subject to challenge simply because it
affects all voters,” Martel, ––– F. Supp. 3d at ––––, 2020 WL 5755289, at
*4, the notion that a single person’s vote will be less valuable as a result of
unlawful or invalid ballots being cast is not a concrete and particularized
injury necessary for Article III standing. Compared to a claim of
gerrymandering, in which the injury is specific to a group of voters based on
their racial identity or the district in which they live, all voters in North
Carolina, not just Individual Plaintiffs, would suffer the injury Individual
Plaintiffs allege. This court finds this injury to generalized to give rise to a
claim of vote dilution . . ..
Moore v. Circosta, Nos. 1:20CV911, 1:20CV912, 2020 WL 6063332, at *14 (M.D.N.C.
Oct. 14, 2020).
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 17 of 29
In contrast to the veritable tsunami of decisions finding no Article III standing in
near identical cases to the instant suit, Plaintiffs’ arguments in opposition to Defendants’
Motions to Dismiss are cursory and neither cite nor distinguish any of the cases that
have found a lack of standing among voter plaintiffs making challenges to the 2020
election. See Dkt. #64 at 10–11 (Plaintiffs’ Opposition to CTCL’s Motion to Dismiss
citing cases from 1982, 1915, 1983, 1978, and 1976 and not discussing any of the
many standing cases cited in CTLC’s moving papers); Dkt. #40 at 21–22 (Plaintiffs’
Opposition to Facebook’s Motion to Dismiss making the same superficial arguments
and citing the same cases); Dkt. #39 at 17–19 (Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Dominion’s
Motion to Dismiss failing to cite or distinguish any of the other standing cases
dismissing claims disputing the 2020 election). And in opposing the Motions to Dismiss,
Plaintiffs paradoxically make arguments that implicitly concede the generalized, rather
than particularized, nature of the injuries about which they complain.
For example, in responding to Dominion’s Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs attempt to
explain their claimed individualized injury as follows:
The Plaintiffs alleged that their individual rights to vote in a Presidential
election, and to be treated equally and fairly, have been burdened by the
conduct of Dominion. [. . . ] Even for those voters in State’s [sic] that do not
utilize Dominion, their shared right to vote for the President and Vice
President was burdened by this Colorado corporation.
Dkt. #39 at 20. In trying to explain how this injury is particularized to the individual
plaintiffs and not all members of the public, Plaintiffs purport to clarify that it is only
registered voters—all 160 million of them—who “have had their rights infringed –and
this [have] the standing to bring suit.” Id. But reducing the number of allegedly harmed
Plaintiffs from 300 million total Americans to only 160 million registered voters does not
make the harm complained of any less generalized nor any more particularized. As the
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 18 of 29
cases cited above make clear, a claim that “all voters” are affected the same way is no
more particularized than a claim that the “general public” is so affected.
In opposing the motions to dismiss, Plaintiffs’ only tangentially relevant citation is
to a dissenting opinion by Justice Thomas in a denial of certiorari. See Dkt. #39 at 21
(citing Justice Thomas’s dissent in Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Degraffenreid,
141 S. Ct. 732 (2021) (denying petitions for writ of certiorari)). It should go without
saying that denials of certiorari are not binding authority. See House v. Mayo, 324 U.S.
42, 48 (1945) (“[A] denial of certiorari by this Court imports no expression of opinion
upon the merits of a case.”). And dissenting opinions are, by definition, not the law. But
even Justice Thomas’s dissent to the denial of certiorari said nothing about the standing
of registered voters to challenge a state’s use of specific election technology, or
standing to challenge a social network’s editorial policies because of the impact it might
have on the electorate at large, or standing to dispute a non-profit’s donations to
municipalities for election-related purposes.
Plaintiffs fare no better on the standing issue in their brief opposing Facebook’s
Motion to Dismiss. See Dkt. #40. The alleged complaint against Facebook is that the
company, its founder Zuckerberg, and the non-profit CTCL, formed an “obvious
conspiracy” working “with local governments to place ballot drop boxes primarily in
urban areas, which has the purpose and effect of avoiding or intercepting the U.S. Mail.”
Id. at 2. According to Plaintiffs, this was part of a
secret conspiracy among a “cabal” formed by an “informal alliance between
left-wing activists and business titans,” to “fortify” the election through new
voting machines, new election laws, hundreds of millions in cash, new poll
workers, millions of new mail-in ballots, social media censorship,
propaganda, media manipulation, and lawsuit suppression through the use
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 19 of 29
of threats, intimidation and strategic lawsuits against public participation,
which takes credit for impacting the outcome of the election.
Id. at 3. In attempting to describe the supposedly individualized nature of the injury
suffered by Plaintiffs at the hands of Facebook to justify standing their standing to sue,
Plaintiffs refute their own argument:
Here, every registered voter was deprived of a fair and legitimate process
administered by the relevant state actors. Further, the lack of legitimacy
not only devalues and dilutes the votes that were cast, but also reinforces
the notion that individual votes do not matter, thereby diminishing the
perceived present value of the right to vote in future elections and
suppressing subsequent voter turnout. Registered voters have been
subjected to tumult, mental anguish and division for months. These
injuries are bipartisan, and have been suffered by all registered voters
regardless of whom their vote was cast. Although some registered voters
may be content that the candidate of their choice was certified as the
winner, questionable election integrity impacts all registered voters.
Id. at 22–23 (emphasis added). This is almost the hornbook definition of a generalized
grievance that broadly affects all of a state’s voters in the same way. It is lethal to
Plaintiffs’ claim to have standing to sue. See Moore, 2020 WL 6063332, at *14 (“This
harm is unduly speculative and impermissibly generalized because all voters in a state
are affected, rather than a small group of voters.”); Bowyer, 2020 WL 7238261, at *5
(“[T]hese allegations are nothing more than generalized grievances that any one of the
3.4 million Arizonans who voted could make if they were so allowed.”); King, 2020 WL
7134198, at *10 (‘[T]he injury is precisely the kind of undifferentiated, generalized
grievance about the conduct of government that courts have refused to countenance.’”)
(alterations omitted) (quoting Lance, 549 U.S. at 442).
At oral argument on April 27, 2021, Plaintiffs’ counsel tried to say that the
numerous other similar cases denying standing were different because those cases
involved suits against state actors or state agencies, and here Plaintiffs are suing
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 20 of 29
corporations (and a non-profit). This argument ignores that, until they were dismissed,
Plaintiffs had sued a number of state governors and secretaries of state. More
important, no case makes the distinction that Plaintiffs try to make. Standing, or at least
the injury-in-fact element of standing, arises from a plaintiff’s claimed injury, not the
particular defendant it is seeking to sue, or in what capacity. Here, Plaintiffs’ claimed
injuries are general, unparticularized, and shared with every other registered voter in
Without Plaintiffs having standing to sue, there is no case or controversy for the
Court to address. The complaint therefore will be dismissed for lack of federal
Amendment of the Complaint
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure grant amendment as of right where the
amendment is made within 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b). Fed. R.
Civ. P. 15(a)(1)(B). After this period, amendment may only be granted with the court’s
leave. The grant or denial of an opportunity to amend is within the discretion of the
court. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). “The court should freely grant leave
when justice so requires.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). In civil-rights cases, that means
granting leave unless “amendment would be futile or inequitable.” Vorchheimer v. Phila.
Owners Ass’n, 903 F.3d 100, 113 (3d Cir. 2018).
The Supreme Court has approved denial of leave to amend when any
amendment would be futile. Foman, 371 U.S. at 182. “A proposed amendment is futile if
the complaint, as amended, would be subject to dismissal.” Anderson v. Suiters, 499
F.3d 1228, 1238 (10th Cir. 2007). See also Midcities Metro. Dist. No. 1 v. U.S. Bank
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 21 of 29
Nat’l. Ass’n., 44 F. Supp. 3d 1062, 1068 (D. Colo. 2014) (denying leave to amend where
Plaintiff had no standing). The factual allegations in a proposed amended complaint
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Christy Sports,
LLC v. Deer Valley Resort Co., 555 F.3d 1188, 1191 (10th Cir. 2009).
The proposed Amended Complaint adds 152 individual plaintiffs and grows in
length to 882 paragraphs and 115 pages. See Dkt. #48-1. The newly added Plaintiffs
are registered voters are from thirty-three different states, spanning from Alabama,
Alaska, and Arizona, to West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In connection with the
Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs’ counsel has submitted an affidavit (Dkt. #48-3)
describing how he and his staff have fielded hundreds of phone calls and e-mails while
coordinating with individuals seeking to join this suit. According to Plaintiffs’ counsel,
“Every individual who has made contact has universally believed that they had been
damaged and expressed a deep sense of loss of trust and confidence in the electoral
process, specifically caused by the actions of the named Defendants.” Id. at 2, ¶ 6. At
oral argument, Plaintiffs’ counsel explained that he has collected more than 400
additional affidavits describing the mental anguish and suffering these new prospective
Plaintiffs have gone through as a result of the disputed election. He proposed to file
those affidavits with the Court. (He should not file them.)
In addition to the existing claims for violation of the Electors Clause, Equal
Protection Clause, Due Process Clause, undue burden on the rights to associate and
freedom of the press, and the constitutional challenge to 47 U.S.C. § 230(c), the
proposed Amended Complaint seeks to add claims for (1) violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1962(c)—enterprise racketeering against Facebook, CTCL, Zuckerberg and Chan; (2)
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 22 of 29
racketeering conspiracy against the same defendants; and (3) constitutional challenges
to Michigan State Law (M.C.L. 168.759(3)); Georgia State law (O.C.G.A. 21-2-386 et
seq.); Pennsylvania state law (Act 77); and Wisconsin state laws (Wis. Stat. 6.855(3)
and 7.15(2m)).4 The Amended Complaint continues to seek a declaratory judgment that
each of the Defendants “acted in contravention to the limitations imposed by the
Constitution and the laws relate to a federal Presidential election to the injury of
Plaintiffs.” Dkt. #48-1 at 113, ¶ 878. Plaintiffs also continue to seek “permanent
injunctive relief against the Defendants to enjoin them from continuing to burden the
rights of the Plaintiffs and all similarly situated registered voters.” Id. at 114, ¶ 881.
In terms of the factual additions found in the Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs add
numerous additional paragraphs. Many of those paragraphs use the language of the
RICO statute to paint a picture of the Defendants as co-conspirators in a grand nationallevel effort to corrupt the Presidential election of 2020. See Dkt. 48-1 at 5–7, ¶ 13 (“The
2020 Presidential election was unconstitutionally influenced by a well-funded cabal of
powerful people . . .”); ¶ 14 (“This well-funded group of persons, associated in fact . . .”);
& ¶¶ 15–28 (describing the actions of the alleged “enterprise,” including coordinating
with non-profit organizations and local municipalities to make changes to voting
The new paragraphs also add details about alleged problems with Dominion’s
electronic voting systems and software. See id. at 8, ¶ 42 (“Dominion’s voting machines,
tabulators, poll books, automated data, and other products and services were and are
Although at oral argument, Plaintiffs’ counsel made clear that Plaintiffs’ are
withdrawing their claims purporting to challenge the various state election laws or
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 23 of 29
defective, and not deployed in a workmanlike manner sufficient to ensure the validity of
the election results.”); & ¶ 44 (“Dominion’s software and other products are susceptible
to hacking, bugs, malware and configuration errors.”).
And, in support of the class action allegations, the proposed Amended Complaint
lists a series of supposed “common questions” that could be determined on a classwide basis, including, among others:
Whether Defendants engaged in a scheme and enterprise to
improperly interfere with the 2020 Presidential election, by the use of
devices and methods that affected or diluted the Plaintiffs’ right to vote in a
free and fair Presidential election;
Whether Defendants used the US Mail to further their scheme and
enterprise and improperly interfere with the 2020 Presidential election;
Whether Defendants engaged in a conspiracy against the rights and
liberties of registered voters by employing their scheme and enterprise
aimed at the election machinery; [and]
Whether Defendants engaged in a conspiracy against the rights and
liberties of registered voters by engaging in censorship of political and
Id. at 32, ¶ 253(a), (b), (d), & (e). But the Amended Complaint adds nothing meaningful
or different to the injuries claimed by the Plaintiffs.
Just as in the original Complaint, all the supposed injuries relate to Plaintiffs’
votes and the alleged dilution thereof. See, e.g., id. at 85, ¶¶ 676–79 (“The evidence
establishes that the enterprise has engaged in a scheme to dilute the votes of some,
and count illegal ballots to the benefit of another. This hurts every registered voter in the
country irrespective of voter affiliation. Other than the nefarious, the honest American
voter wants every vote counted to legally determine the President and Vice President.”).
Under normal circumstances and in a normal case, where a plaintiff seeks to
amend the complaint for the first time relatively soon after the start of the litigation, even
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 24 of 29
after responding substantively to a motion to dismiss, it is near automatic for leave to
amend to be granted. The exception is where, given the nature of the claims, no
amendment can salvage a fatally flawed suit and it is everyone’s interest that the
litigation be ended. This is such a fatally flawed case.
On the critical question of standing, the proposed Amended Complaint fares no
better than the original. Plaintiffs’ claim to standing is that these new 152 Plaintiffs, and
the class and subclasses that the Amended Complaint hopes to certify, all have
“standing to vindicate the [sic] rights as registered voters in a federal Presidential
Election.” Dkt. #48 at 4. Plaintiffs insist that “it would improper for a federal court to deny
registered voters . . . standing to vindicate their rights, protected under the Constitution.”
Id. Plaintiffs maintain that “each of them” has “a right to seek adjudication of federal
questions of singular effect over Defendants.” Id.
But Plaintiffs misunderstand the nature of the standing inquiry. Standing is not
something that is granted or denied by a court. A plaintiff has standing to sue because
of the nature of the injury she has suffered and the circumstances which caused that
injury. If a plaintiff has suffered an identifiable, distinct, and particularized injury,
redressable by court action, then standing exists. Here, by their own admission,
Plaintiffs’ claimed injuries are no different than the supposed injuries experienced by all
registered voters. This is a generalized injury that does not support the standing
required for a genuine case or controversy under Article III of the Constitution.
In their replies in support of the Motion for Leave to Amend, Plaintiffs cite the
recent Supreme Court case of Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, 141 S. Ct. 792 (2021). In
Uzuegbunam, former students at a state college had wished to exercise their religion by
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 25 of 29
sharing their faith on campus. The students obtained a required permit and were
distributing religious materials in a designated “free speech zone” when a campus
police office asked the students to stop. Campus policy at the time prohibited using the
free speech zone to say anything that “disturbs the peace and/or comfort of persons.”
The plaintiffs sued, arguing the policies violated the First Amendment. The college then
changed the challenged policies rather than defend them, and argued that the case
should be dismissed on the ground that the policy change rendered the request for
injunctive relief moot, arguably leaving the students without standing to sue for lack of a
redressable case or controversy. But the students had sought nominal damages in
addition to injunctive relief. The question for the Supreme Court was whether a plea for
nominal damages for an already completed constitutional injury could by itself establish
the redressability element of standing.
The Court held that a request for nominal damages alone does satisfy the
redressability element necessary for Article III standing where a plaintiff’s claim is based
on a completed violation of a legal right and the plaintiff establishes the first two
elements of standing—injury and traceability. 141 S. Ct. at 801–02. But the
Uzuegbunam decision is clear that a plea for nominal damages only satisfies the
redressability element of standing, not the requirement for pleading particularized injury:
“This is not to say that a request for nominal damages guarantees entry to court. Our
holding concerns only redressability. It remains for the plaintiff to establish the other
elements of standing (such as particularized injury).” Id. at 802. In Uzuegbunam, there
was no debate that the plaintiff had suffered particularized injury—he had tried to
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 26 of 29
exercise his right to free speech and religion and been stopped by the campus police
from doing so.
In this case, by contrast, whether in the original Complaint or the proposed
Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs allege no particularized injury traceable to the conduct of
Defendants, other than their general interest in seeing elections conducted fairly and
their votes fairly counted. As outlined in the section above, when the alleged injury is
undifferentiated and common to all members of the public or a large group, courts
routinely dismiss such cases as “generalized grievances” that cannot support standing.
United States v. Richardson, 418 U.S. 166, 173–75 (1974). And the injuries complained
of in this case are general grievances shared by all registered voters that do not give
standing to sue.
Asked at oral argument to direct the Court to the “best case” supporting Plaintiffs’
position that they have standing to sue, Plaintiffs’ counsel mentioned Anderson v.
Celebreze, 460 U.S. 780 (1983). Anderson involved a suit by independent Presidential
candidate John Anderson who challenged the State of Ohio’s arguably discriminatory
requirements for independent Presidential candidates who sought a place on the Ohio
ballot. Ohio required an independent candidate to submit required documents, filing
fees, and the requisite signatures many months in advance of the election (by March 20
for the November election), while political party nominees were automatically granted a
place a ballot. While Anderson submitted all the necessary paperwork and obtained the
requisite number of signatures, he did so after the early filing deadline had passed, and
Ohio’s Secretary of State refused to accept Anderson’s nominating petition. Three days
later, Anderson himself and three voters sued in the Southern District of Ohio
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 27 of 29
challenging the constitutionality of Ohio’s early filing deadline for independent
candidates. 460 U.S. at 782–83. While the Anderson opinion talks a great deal about
the right to vote being “fundamental,” id. at 788, the case says nothing about standing.
Anderson, as a candidate being denied a spot on the ballot, obviously had a
particularized injury that granted him standing. The Anderson supporters too had a
particularized injury: the candidate they sought to vote for was being denied a spot on
the ballot. Their right to vote for the Presidential candidate of their choice was being
denied. Even the dissent, which disagreed that Ohio’s early registration requirements
were unconstitutional, conceded the particularized nature of Anderson’s and his
supporters’ injuries: “Anderson and his supporters would have been injured by Ohio's
ballot access requirements; by failing to comply with the filing deadline for nonparty
candidates Anderson would have been excluded from Ohio's 1980 general election
ballot.” Id. at 808 (Rehnquist, J., dissenting). Thus, even Plaintiffs’ purported “best case”
to justify standing provides no support at all.
Therefore, I find that any amendment of this Complaint which seeks to bring suit
on behalf of all registered voters in the United States for alleged illegality in the conduct
of the 2020 election and associated vote dilution is futile because Plaintiffs cannot
allege particularized injury sufficient to establish Article III standing. Leave to amend will
be denied. Brereton v. Bountiful City Corp., 434 F.3d 1213, 1219 (10th Cir. 2006)
(explaining that district court may dismiss without granting leave to amend when
amendment would be futile, and affirming dismissal without leave to amend for lack of
standing, but noting such dismissal should be without prejudice); Hutchinson v. Pfeil,
211 F.3d 515, 523 (10th Cir. 2000) (affirming dismissal for lack of standing and
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 28 of 29
approving denial of amendment of pleading on grounds of futility because proposed
amendment would not cure the standing deficiency); Grossman v. Novell, Inc., 120 F.3d
1112, 1126 (10th Cir. 1997) (affirming denial of leave to amend on grounds of futility
and failure to show how any amendment would cure identified deficiencies). See also
Donald J. Trump for President, 830 F. App’x at 389 (affirming denial of leave to amend
suit challenging 2020 election on grounds of futility because the proposed Second
Amended Complaint would not survive a motion to dismiss).
At oral argument, counsel for CTCL pointed out that although Plaintiffs filed an
opposition to Dominion and Facebook’s Motions to Dismiss and therefore forfeited their
ability to amend the Complaint as a matter of right, the timing was different for CTCL’s
Motion to Dismiss. It is apparently not clear under Tenth Circuit caselaw whether
Plaintiffs can still amend as a matter of right. CTCL’s proposed solution to avoid any
procedural confusion is to allow the amendment and then dismiss the Amended
Complaint for lack of standing. As they say, “six of one and half dozen of the other.” I
deny the amendment on the grounds of futility. A proposed amendment is futile if it
would not survive a motion to dismiss. To be clear, if the amendment were allowed, the
proposed Amended Complaint would nevertheless be subject to dismissal for lack of
standing. Nothing in the proposed Amended Complaint changes the standing analysis.
Because the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear Plaintiffs’ suit, it will not address the
many other bases for dismissal raised in Defendants’ motions.
It is hereby ORDERED that the Motions to Dismiss of Defendants Dominion,
Facebook, and CTCL (Dkt. ##22, 23, & 41) are GRANTED. It is further ORDRED that
Case 1:20-cv-03747-NRN Document 92 Filed 04/28/21 USDC Colorado Page 29 of 29
Plaintiffs’ Complaint (Dkt. #1) is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for lack of
standing. See Brereton, 434 F.3d at 1219 (dismissal for lack of standing should be
Because Plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed the claims against the various state
officials of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (Brian Kemp, Brad
Raffensperger, Gretchen Whitmer, Jocelyn Benson, Tom Wolf, Kathy Boockvar, Tony
Evers, Ann S. Jacobs, Mark Thomsen, Marge Bostelman, Julie E. Glancey, Dean
Knudson, and Robert F. Spindell, Jr.), it is further ORDERED that the Motions to
Dismiss filed by those state official defendants (Dkt. ##46, 47, & 49) are DENIED as
It is further ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File an Amended
Complaint (Dkt. #48) is DENIED on the grounds of futility.
April 28, 2021
N. Reid. Neureiter
United States Magistrate Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?