Thus, the requirement of injury within the forum stems from the underlying long-arm provision, not from the independent application of the conspiracy theory. Mandelkorn, 359 F. Supp. at 695.
In contrast, section 13-423(a)(1) poses no such requirement of injury within the forum. Courts which have considered the conspiracy theory in conjunction with section 13-423(a)(1) have not imposed this requirement. In First Chicago, 836 F.2d at 1378-79, the court rejected application of the conspiracy theory under section 13-423(a)(1) because plaintiff failed to make a prima facie showing that nonresident defendant participated in a conspiracy in the District. In Naartex, 722 F.2d at 787 & n.7, the court viewed skeptically the plaintiff's allegation that fraudulent acts occurred in D.C. and held that bald speculation as to a conspiracy was insufficient to establish jurisdiction. Notably, neither court mentioned injury within the forum as a separate requirement for establishing conspiracy theory of jurisdiction.
Because personal jurisdiction over Westland, Inc. stems from section 13-423(a)(1), not section 13-423(a)(3), plaintiff Dooley need not allege an injury occurring within the District of Columbia in asserting the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction. Therefore, the Court finds that Dooley has made a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction as to defendant Westland, Inc. under the conspiracy doctrine. The plaintiff has set forth, with sufficient specificity, allegations of defendant Westland, Inc.'s involvement in a conspiracy and alleged overt acts by co-conspirators committed in Washington, D.C. in furtherance of the conspiracy.
UTC Individual defendants, defendant Olin Smith also have moved to dismiss on the ground that the District of Columbia is an improper forum. But the defendants' arguments challenging venue are unpersuasive. The Court finds that the venue provisions of Title 28, United States Code, section 1391(b)(2) for an action founded on federal question jurisdiction apply. The Court further finds that venue is proper even as to plaintiff Dooley's state law claims under the doctrine of pendent venue.
A. Federal Question Venue
Plaintiff Dooley invokes the general federal question venue statute, Title 28, United States Code, section 1391(b) as a basis for his claim that venue is proper in the District of Columbia.
Subsection (b)(2) of the statute provides that actions founded on federal question jurisdiction may be brought in "a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred." The statute was amended in 1990 substituting the current language for the formulation which made venue proper in the "[district] in which the claim arose." The drafters of the new section stated that new language was directed in part at the problem created by "the frequent cases in which substantial parts of the underlying events have occurred in several districts." H.R.Rep. No.734, 101st Cong., 2nd Sess. (1990), 1990 WL 200439, P.65 (Leg.Hist). In such cases, it appears that the new language is intended to place venue within the District of Columbia, even where the case also might be brought in another forum.
Certainly plaintiff Dooley's allegations present such a case. It is true, as the defendants argue, that a number of the events alleged in the plaintiff's complaint occurred in or were centered around the District of Connecticut. But it is equally true that a substantial part of the conspiracy, which forms the gravamen of Dooley's complaint, was centered in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. is home to the Saudi Arabian Embassy and Ambassador Bandar. According to the complaint, Prince Bandar designated Namlah as Sikorsky's "business contact" in Saudi Arabia. Complaint at PP136, 138. This designation, it is alleged, set the bribery scheme in motion. During the months following Namlah's designation, Dooley alleges that several of the defendants traveled to Washington, D.C., to arrange the details of the bribery scheme at the heart of the conspiracy. According to the plaintiff, defendant Smith had continual contact with Prince Bandar on all aspects of the Black Hawk-Saudi sale during this period. Dooley also asserts that after contemplating various mechanisms to funnel the bribes to Namlah, Khalid and Fahad, UTC defendants chose defendant Basil in Washington to play a key role. More meetings in Washington, D.C. between the various defendants facilitated the eventual joint venture between Thimar and Basil. Finally, plaintiff Dooley points out that the FMS, MSS and PSS contracts were processed and approved in the District of Columbia.
Thus, the Court finds that Washington, D.C. is a hub of the alleged conspiracy, and a substantial part of the events which form the basis for Dooley's complaint occurred here. Consequently, venue in the District of Columbia is proper.
B. Pendent Venue
The Court also finds that venue is proper as to the plaintiff's non-RICO claims under the Court's pendent venue authority. All of the plaintiff's claims arise "out of a common nucleus of operative fact." Beattie v. United States, 244 App. D.C. 70, 756 F.2d 91, 102 (D.C.Cir. 1984). Dooley's claims of retaliatory discharge, tortious interference with contract, fraud, negligent and/or innocent misrepresentation, intentional and unintentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy arise from the same set of factual assertions which the plaintiff sets forth to support his federal RICO and conspiracy to obstruct justice claims. Both the federal and state law claims will require proof of the essence of the conspiracy and the defendants' efforts to prevent Dooley from "blowing the whistle" on their illegal acts.
Count IV through Count IX -- retaliatory discharge, tortious interference with contract, fraud and misrepresentation -- require proof of the plaintiff's employment relationship with defendant Sikorsky. Proof that Dooley's opposition to the defendants' alleged illegal conspiracy caused his demotion is crucial in establishing these claims. These facts are also central to plaintiff Dooley's RICO claim.
The remaining counts -- infliction of emotional distress, defamation, invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy -- focus on the UTC defendants' actions after Dooley was demoted. Proof of these facts certainly will be presented to support the RICO and obstructing justice counts. The plaintiff contends that he was demoted for opposing the illegal bribery scheme. The plaintiff further contends that the defendants' post hoc rationalizations for their retaliatory acts are an attempt to conceal the existence of an illegal international conspiracy. Thus, the defendants' actions after plaintiff Dooley's demotion will be highly relevant to proving the existence of the conspiracy under RICO.
Given the common basis in fact for each of the counts in the plaintiff's complaint, the Court finds venue also is proper as to the state law counts. Consequently, the Court concludes that under Title 28, United States Code, section 1391(b) and the pendent venue doctrine, venue is proper as to the entire complaint.
III. Motion To Transfer
Title 28, United States Code, Section 1404(a) provides:
For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a court bay transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought.
The language of the section indicates that transfer under section 1404(a) is a discretionary matter for the Court. In considering transfer, a court must weigh the factors set forth by section 1404(a) -- convenience of the parties and witnesses and the interest of justice -- against the longstanding principle that the plaintiff's choice of forum rarely should be disturbed. Pain v. United Technologies Corp., 205 App. D.C. 229, 637 F.2d 775 (D.C.Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1128, 71 L. Ed. 2d 116, 102 S. Ct. 980 (1981); accord National Bank of Washington v. Mallery, 669 F. Supp. 22, 29 (D.D.C. 1987).
In this case, the Court recognizes that Connecticut may be a more convenient forum for some of the parties and a number of the witnesses. However, the Court finds that the interests of justice do not support transferring this case to Connecticut. As the Court has indicated previously, Congress has directed courts to place great emphasis on the expeditious treatment of all civil matters. This Court has familiarized itself with the details of this matter. The Court also has kept on its calendar sufficient time for trial, in the event trial is necessary, to proceed with this matter expeditiously. Transfer, now, would result in delay which would fly in the face of the congressional directive.
Compounding this factor is the plaintiff's choice of forum in Washington, D.C.. The defendants point out that courts, including this one, have held that this factor is given less weight when the plaintiff is a foreigner in his chosen forum. See Martin-Trigona v. Meister, 668 F.Supp. 1, 2 (D.D.C. 1987). However, in this case, Washington, D.C., in addition to being the plaintiff's chosen forum, is the district where counsel for all of the parties are located. Consequently, much, if not most, of the work of pursuing this matter in court will be centered in the District of Columbia. The Court finds that it will not cause great hardship to the parties to finish that process by trying the case within the District.
For the aforestated reasons, this Court finds that personal jurisdiction and venue exist as to the UTC Corporate Defendants, UTC Individual Defendants, the Smith Defendants and defendant Westland, Inc. Furthermore, the Court denies motions by these defendants and defendant Frank E. Basil, Inc. to transfer this case to the District of Connecticut. An appropriate order is attached.
JUNE L. GREEN
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 786 F. Supp. 65.
Dated: March 10, 1992
ORDER - March 10, 1992, Filed
Upon consideration of the defendants' motions; the plaintiff's Oppositions to defendants' motions; the papers submitted by the parties in support of the motions and oppositions; the arguments presented by counsel at the February 28, 1992 motions hearing; the entire record; and for the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum, it is by the Court this 10th day of March 1992,
ORDERED that the Motion To Dismiss UTC Corporate Defendants For Lack Of Personal Jurisdiction Or To Transfer To The District Of Connecticut is denied; it is further
ORDERED that the Motion By UTC Individual Defendants To Dismiss For Lack Of Personal Jurisdiction And Improper Venue, Or In The Alternative For Transfer Of Venue To The District Of Connecticut is denied; it is further
ORDERED that The Smith Defendants' Motion To Dismiss Or, Alternatively, For Transfer To Connecticut is denied; it is further
ORDERED that Defendant Westland, Inc.'s Motion To Dismiss The Complaint is denied in part; and it is further
ORDERED that Defendant Frank E. Basil, Inc. Of Delaware's Motion To Transfer Venue To The District Of Connecticut is denied.
JUNE L. GREEN
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE