Salud Natural Entrepreneur, Inc. v. Nutricento Internacional, Inc., No. 09 C 4417, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 27, 2011) (Zagel, J.).
Judge Zagel denied defendant Azteca Products’ ("Azteca") Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in this Lanham Act case. Azteca’s officer, a non-lawyer, purported to file an answer on Azteca’s behalf. Azteca then hired counsel who participated in Rule 26 scheduling conferences. Azteca’s officer then filed a Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss without counsel, which the Court struck because it was not filed by counsel, and a corporate entity cannot act pro se. The Court then entered a default judgment and an injunction against Azteca. Azteca hired counsel and asked through counsel that the default be vacated. The Court vacated the judgment and agreed to consider whether Azteca’s personal jurisdiction arguments had been waived. Noting the "bizarre posture of the case, the Court held that Azteca had not preserved its jurisdiction arguments.
The answer did not waive Azteca’s arguments because as a pro se filing it was treated as never having been filed. But counsel did participate in Rule 26(f) conferences, although he filed no notice of appearance, and offered no suggestion that Azteca would challenge jurisdiction during that time. Furthermore, jurisdiction was challenged for the first time more than thirty days after the other defendants settled based upon discussions that Azteca did not participate in. Regardless of the legal impact of Azteca’s filings, by the time Azteca challenge jurisdiction, plaintiff had developed a "reasonable expectation" that Azteca would defend itself in Illinois.
Insubuy, Inc. v. Community Ins. Agency, No. 10 C 3925, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 9, 2010) (St. Eve, J.).
Judge St. Eve granted counter-plaintiff Community Insurance Agency’s ("CIA") motion for expedited jurisdictional discovery regarding individual counter-defendants. CIA established a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction warranting discovery based upon public records and affidavits that established that the individual defendant:
- Was a director, owner and the CEO of plaintiff Insubuy.
- Registers and maintains domains for Insubuy.
- Had prior notice of CIA’s trademarks and that CIA was an Illinois corporation.
Poulsen Roser A/S v. Jackson & Perkins Wholesale, Inc., No. 10 C 1894, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 15, 2010) (St. Eve, J.).
Judge St. Eve denied plaintiff Pousen Rosen’s ("Poulsen") Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) and 60(b) motion for reconsideration of the Court’s decision dismissing the case as to the individual defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction in this Lanham Act case.
First, "new evidence" in the form of the District of South Carolina Bankruptcy Court’s order consolidating the corporate defendants was irrelevant and did not alter the Court’s analysis. The Bankruptcy Court made no finding regarding the relationship between the corporate and individual defendants.
Second, the Court reconsidered and upheld its analysis regarding the corporate defendants’ internet contacts. The Seventh Circuit rejected the Zippo case’s sliding scale for internet-based jurisdiction because of the possibility of creating universal jurisdiction:
We note the legitimate concern that "[p]remising personal jurisdiction on the maintenance of a website, without requiring some level of "interactivity" between the defendant and consumers in the forum state, would create almost universal jurisdiction because of the virtually unlimited accessibility of websites across the country." Jennings, 383 F.3d at 550. Courts should be careful in resolving questions about personal jurisdiction involving on-line contacts to ensure that a defendant is not haled into court simply because the defendant owns or operates a website that is accessible in the forum state, even if that site is "interactive."
Illinois v. Hemi Group LLC,
__ F.3d __, 2010 WL 3547647, at *6 (7th Cir. 2010).