News
Hikaru Nakamura Files Motion To Dismiss Hans Niemann Lawsuit
Hikaru Nakamura filed his motion to dismiss Hans Niemann's lawsuit. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Hikaru Nakamura Files Motion To Dismiss Hans Niemann Lawsuit

AnthonyLevin
| 106 | Misc

GM Hikaru Nakamura filed a motion in the Eastern District of Missouri to dismiss GM Hans Niemann's lawsuit on December 7. This is the latest development in the defamation lawsuit that has received international attention, filed in late October. Chess.com, GM Magnus Carlsen, and IM Daniel Rensch filed their respective motions to dismiss the previous week.

The 15-page document argues that the court does not have personal jurisdiction over Defendant Nakamura, who resides in Florida and made comments online, in the state of Missouri. It further argues that all of the claims are "wholly defective" and should be dismissed and that Nakamura should be "awarded his attorney's fees and costs."

The first approximately seven pages (Part A) of the Argument focus on the personal jurisdiction of the Missouri court over Nakamura. It succinctly states: "Indeed, Plaintiff does not—and cannot—plead any facts demonstrating the existence of personal jurisdiction in Missouri over Mr. Nakamura."

It adds: "Indeed, Mr. Nakamura is not mentioned until the fifth page of the Amended Complaint, and only sparsely thereafter. Plaintiff asserts that his relationship with Mr. Nakamura has been 'acrimonious' for 'several years.'"

A lengthy explanation of Missouri's long-arm statute, which could extend "jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant," concludes with: "Missouri’s long-arm statute does not reach Mr. Nakamura in this case." The document asserts Nakamura was not in Missouri when he expressed his opinions online and did not participate in the Sinquefield Cup, surmising that the state cannot have personal jurisdiction over the Defendant.

In addition, citing the “effects test” of Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984), the following statement is made: "Plaintiff does not and cannot allege that Mr. Nakamura, an international chess personality (see Am. Compl., Doc. 20, ¶¶ 54-55), somehow acted in a way uniquely aimed at Missouri and knowingly caused the brunt of any supposed harm in Missouri."

In Part B of the Argument, with regard to Plaintiff Niemann's antitrust allegations of "a violation of the Sherman Act by all Defendants," the claims are dismissed. It cites Hurley v. National Basketball Players Association: "The court had little difficulty rejecting the Sherman Act claim" in that previous instance.

It adds: "Plaintiff does not and cannot allege that Mr. Nakamura controls some undefined market in such a way that could cause an antitrust violation."

Citing Carlsen's motion to dismiss from last week: "Plaintiff’s Counts I, II, IV, and V should be dismissed pursuant to Connecticut’s anti-SLAPP law," adding that Nakamura should be "awarded his attorneys’ fees and costs."

Finally, the Argument rejects all claims. "Plaintiff fails to identify specifically which of Mr. Nakamura’s alleged statements form the basis of his claims." The document goes on to list six alleged statements by Nakamura, writing that "Plaintiff was required to, but failed to, plausibly allege actual malice," including:

"Mr. Nakamura’s alleged re-Tweeting of a Tweet from Twitter from an account named
'Unsubstantiated Chess Rumors' (id., ¶ 99) is not an actionable statement of fact—the
Twitter account re-Tweeted was quite literally named Unsubstantiated Chess Rumors."

The final paragraph of the argument states: "Plaintiff has not adequately alleged that Mr. Nakamura had knowledge of the purported contracts or business expectancies with which he supposedly interfered."

Niemann's defamation lawsuit seeks at least $100 million in damages against each of the defendants: Carlsen, Nakamura, Chess.com, the Play Magnus Group, and Rensch. What has become the chess world's largest scandal in recent years has gripped the community since the Sinquefield Cup in September 2022, with more developments surely still to come.

Correction: An erroneous quotation including "MI Defendants" has been corrected to "Missouri," as in the original document.


Previous coverage:

AnthonyLevin
NM Anthony Levin

NM Anthony Levin caught the chess bug at the "late" age of 18 and never turned back. He earned his national master title in 2021, actually the night before his first day of work at Chess.com.

Anthony, who also earned his Master's in teaching English in 2018, taught English and chess in New York schools for five years and strives to make chess content accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages. At Chess.com, he writes news articles and manages social media for chess24.

Email:  anthony.levin@chess.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/anthony.seikei/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alevinchess

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anthonylevinchess/

More from NM AnthonyLevin
Carlsen Beats Nakamura In Armageddon To Take Sole Lead, Vaishali Wins 1st Classical Game

Carlsen Beats Nakamura In Armageddon To Take Sole Lead, Vaishali Wins 1st Classical Game

5 Things We Learned — Chess.com Classic 2024

5 Things We Learned — Chess.com Classic 2024