Gencor Pacific, Inc. v. Federal Labs., Corp., No. 07 C 168, 2007 WL 2298367 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 3, 2007) (Guzman, J.).
Judge Guzman granted defendants’ Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(3) motion to dismiss for lack of venue. Plaintiff Gencor Pacific (“Gencor”) and defendant Federal Laboratories (“Fedlabs”) both distribute products including caralluma powder. Gencor alleged that Fedlabs infringed Gencor’s copyrights, engaged in unfair competition and other related state law claims by using various Gencor studies and literature to promote Fedlabs’s products. Gencor also alleged that Fedlabs’s Chairman defendant Jeffery Taub left a defamatory voicemail message for an Illinois-based Gencor distributor. Because defendants are all New York residents, venue was only proper in the Northern District if a substantial part of the events at issue occurred in Illinois. Gencor argued that the Illinois voicemail and various Fedlabs mailings to Illinois residents including the copyrighted studies constituted a substantial part of the events at issue. In support of its contentions, Gencor submitted only a transcript of the alleged voicemail. Gencor did not submit any mailings that had been sent to Northern District residents or a declaration stating that the voicemail had been received at a Northern District telephone number. The Court held that Gencor’s unsupported “bare allegations” did not meet Gencor’s burden of proving that venue was proper.
Practice tip: You must support factual allegations with evidence. Local Rule 56.1 forces parties to follow this advice for summary judgment motions (although many fail to follow the rule). But the requirement, although unwritten, is no less important for other motions. If you are ever not sure whether an allegation requires evidentiary support, err on the side of providing the support. I have never seen an argument lost because a party unnecessarily supported its factual allegations.