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HARRISON CONFERENCE v. DOLCE CONFERENCE

July 29, 1991

HARRISON CONFERENCE SERVICES, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
DOLCE CONFERENCE SERVICES, INC., MARENZANA GROUP, INC., DOLCE CONFERENCE SERVICES OF CONNECTICUT, INC., AND DOLCE COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nickerson, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff brought this action claiming that defendants have improperly procured and used plaintiff's trade secrets and proprietary business information.

Defendants move to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that 1) plaintiff failed to join an indispensable party; 2) the court lacks personal jurisdiction over defendants; 3) plaintiff improperly served process; and 4) venue is improper.

Plaintiff cross-moves to hold defendants in contempt for failure to comply with a preliminary injunction to which they consented. The preliminary injunction required defendants to return all documents containing trade secrets and enjoining them from using the trade secrets disclosed in the documents or soliciting the customers identified in them.

I

For the purposes of the motion to dismiss, the court accepts the facts alleged in the complaint as true.

Plaintiff operates several corporate conference center facilities nationwide. Until November 1990, it operated a center in Heritage Village, Connecticut. The center is owned by Triangulum Associates, ("Triangulum"). Plaintiff operated it under a management agreement with Triangulum. In September 1990, Triangulum notified plaintiff that it was in default of the management agreement and that Triangulum was entitled to terminate it. In the early morning of December 9th, 1990, Triangulum telecopied a notice of termination to plaintiff and at the same time, accompanied by uniformed security guards, physically ousted plaintiff's personnel from the conference center.

Prior to the takeover, Triangulum had retained Andrew Dolce and John Marenzana. They are principals of companies, here named as defendants, which operate conference centers competing with those operated by plaintiff. Triangulum engaged the defendant companies to operate the Heritage Village Center after it ousted plaintiff.

During the takeover, defendants entered the office occupied by plaintiff's national sales staff and took possession of documents used by plaintiff to market all of its conference centers including pricing and occupancy information, customer files, and customer and employee evaluations. Defendants have used these documents to gain a competitive advantage over plaintiff.

The complaint makes claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and conversion.

II

Defendants say that the court should dismiss the action under Rule 19(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. They say that plaintiff has failed to join plaintiff's Connecticut subsidiary, Harrison Conference Center of Heritage Village, Inc. ("Harrison-Heritage Village"), and that while the subsidiary is indispensable to the action, its joinder would destroy diversity and leave the court without subject matter jurisdiction.

Rule 19(b) provides in pertinent part that if a person whose joinder is sought cannot be made a party;

  the court shall determine whether in equity and
  good conscience the action should proceed among
  the parties before it, or should be dismissed, the
  absent person being thus regarded as
  indispensable. The factors to be considered by the
  court include: first, to what extent a judgment
  rendered in the person's ...

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