C.S.B. Commodities, Inc. v. Urban Trend (HK) Ltd., No. 08 C 1548, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 7, 2009) (Dow, J.).
Judge Dow granted corporate defendant Urban Trend’s (“Urban Trend”) and denied the individual defendant’s respective Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motions to dismiss plaintiff’s Lanham Act unfair competition and related state law claims for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff served the individual defendant, who was Urban Trend’s president, while he was representing Urban Trend at a trade show in Illinois. The Court held that personal service created jurisdiction over the individual defendant, even though the Court may not have had jurisdiction but for personal service. And while the individual defendant was in Illinois as part of his job responsibilities representing Urban Trend at the trade show, the Fiduciary Shield Doctrine did not protect him. As Urban Trend’s president, the individual defendant would have gained independent economic benefit from selling Urban Trend’s products at the trade show. And as president, the individual defendant had at least some control over whether to sell or promote products in Illinois.
The Court, however, held that personal service upon Urban Trend’s president was not sufficient to create jurisdiction over Urban Trend. And tradeshow attendance alone was not sufficient to create specific jurisdiction over Urban Trend. There was no evidence that Urban Trend’s tradeshow efforts were particularly focused on Illinois sales, or that Urban Trend completed any sales.