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NAWA USA, Inc. v. Bottler

February 4, 2008

NAWA USA, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
HANS-GEORG BOTTLER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rosemary M. Collyer United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

While Defendants, citizens of Germany and Switzerland, seek dismissal of this case based on lack of personal jurisdiction, Plaintiff NAWA USA, Inc. contends that Defendants had minimal contacts with the District of Columbia because some of them attended a meeting in the District. Under the facts presented here, this single meeting was simply insufficient to establish sufficient contacts with the District for the purpose of exercising personal jurisdiction. Accordingly, this case will be dismissed.

I. FACTS

NAWA USA, Inc. ("NAWA"), a corporation organized under the laws of Delaware with its principal place of business in the District of Columbia, researches, develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes medical devices, drugs, and cosmetics. Named as Defendants are a German company, NAWA Vertriebs-GMBH, as well as the following five individuals, all foreign residents: Dr. Hans-Georg Bottler, Mr. Ferdy Egli, Mr. Bernd Stern, Mr. Peter Kanzlsperger, and Mr. Alexander Grueter.*fn1 Dr. Bottler and Messrs. Egli, Stern, and Kanzlsperger are former directors of Plaintiff. Mr. Grueter is an attorney who assisted them in the alleged unlawful conduct described in the Complaint. The Complaint, filed June 23, 2006, sets forth seven counts:

Count I -- Breach of Employment Contract;

Count II -- Fraud and Deceit;

Count III -- Theft and Conversion;

Count IV -- Unfair Competition;

Count V -- Breach of Fiduciary Duty;

Count VI -- Injunctive and Declaratory Relief; and Count VII -- Accounting.

Count I alleges that Mr. Kanzlsperger was employed as the vice president and chief operating officer of NAWA under a January 2, 2000 contract*fn2 and that he breached the contract by improperly using and disclosing proprietary information. Compl. ¶¶ 26-30; see Pl.'s Opp'n, Ex. E, employment contract. Counts II through VII allege in essence that Defendants misappropriated NAWA's funds, property, and intellectual property for the use of NAWA Vertriebs-GMBH - that Dr. Bottler and Messrs. Egli, Stern, and Kanzlsperger improperly sold shares of NAWA to Mr. Kanzlsperger at a board meeting on June 21, 2003, when Defendants had been removed as board members on May 23, 2003. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; NAWA opposes.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

On a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing a factual basis for the court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Crane v. N.Y. Zoological Soc'y, 894 F.2d 454, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1990); accord Murphy v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, 357 F. Supp. 2d 230, 242 (D.D.C. 2004). The plaintiff must allege specific facts connecting the defendant with the forum. Second Amendment Found. v. U.S. Conference of Mayors, 274 F.3d 521, 524 (D.C. Cir. 2001). Bare allegations and conclusory statements are insufficient. See id. Such a showing must be made with respect to each defendant individually. Overseas Partners, Inc. v. Progen, 15 F. Supp. 2d 47, 50 (D.D.C. 1988). In determining whether a factual basis for personal jurisdiction exists, the court should resolve factual discrepancies in the record in favor of the plaintiff. Crane, 894 F.2d at 456. The court need not treat all the plaintiff's ...


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