Varitalk, LLC v. Lahoti, No. 07 C 1771, 2007 WL 1576127 (N.D. Ill. May 30, 2007) (Conlon, J.).
Judge Conlon denied defendant Dave Lahoti’s (“Lahoti”) Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion for reconsideration of the Court’s previous opinion denying Lahoti’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue and forum non conveniens (you can read more about the previous decision in the Blog’s archives). Lahoti, a California resident, operated a website from California using the domain name www.veritalk.com. Lahoti’s site was an internet portal which allowed visitors to his site to click through links to buy various products or services. The Court held that Lahoti’s website fell in the gray area between active websites (which create specific jurisdiction) and passive websites (which do not create specific jurisdiction). But the portal’s interactive and commercial nature combined with plaintiff Varitalk’s evidence that some consumers were confused and erroneously visited Lahoti’s website created personal jurisdiction. Lahoti argued for reconsideration because he contends that his website did not link to businesses located in or doing business in Illinois, and that a third party puts the content on his website. The Court denied both of these arguments, explaining that Varitalk had put presented evidence that Lahoti’s website included links to business with substantial Illinois operations and that whether Lahoti or an agent of his placed the content on his website did not change the Court’s analysis. But the Court’s procedural analysis may be the most useful part of this case for litigators. The Court notes that Lahoti styled his motion as a Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion for reconsideration, but that it is actually a Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) motion. Rule 60(b) is for reconsideration of final judgments, where as Rule 54(b) is for interlocutory decisions. A denial of a motion to dismiss is necessarily interlocutory.