The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAM
SHIRLEY WOHL KRAM, U.S.D.J.
In this defamation action, defendant J.P. Morgan & Co. ("J.P. Morgan") moves to dismiss the complaint on forum non conveniens grounds, claiming that the Netherlands, where most of the witnesses are located, much of the activity took place and plaintiff is domiciled, is a more appropriate forum to hear plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff Anthony Beekmans ("Beekmans") opposes the motion and cross-moves that the Court make its decision to dismiss this action, if it decides to do so, a "preliminary" one subject to renewal after the completion of discovery. In the alternative, Beekmans requests immediate discovery on the issues raised by J.P. Morgan's motion, including the scope of J.P. Morgan's actions within the United States and elsewhere. For the reasons set forth below, J.P. Morgan's motion to dismiss on the grounds of forum non conveniens is granted, and Beekmans's cross-motions are denied.
Beekmans is a Dutch resident who lives and works in the Netherlands. Complaint PP 2, 6. The Complaint alleges that this cases arises out of a claim that J.P. Morgan
maliciously and falsely (1) attributed statements to plaintiff, which were intended to reflect badly upon plaintiff, his reputation and business abilities, and (2) calculated to destroy plaintiff's exemplary career, and communicated such defendant created statements to plaintiff's employer, Internationals Nederlanden Bank N.V. [sic], with the result that plaintiff's senior level position and twenty years with said firm were terminated and plaintiff's business reputation and standing in the Netherlands were severely damaged.
The electronic mail memorandum (the "Memorandum") which is the subject of this litigation was composed by Benjamin Meuli ("Meuli") following a dinner attended by Beekmans, Meuli and others at a restaurant in London, England on May 31, 1995. Complaint PP 11-28. The Memorandum asserts, inter alia, that during the course of the dinner Beekmans made statements that were potentially damaging to the reputation of his employer, Internationale Nederlanden Bank, N.V. ("ING Bank"), made racially inflammatory comments, and appeared to be intoxicated. Memorandum, dated Jan. 6, 1996, annexed to the Affidavit of Scott G. Campbell, dated June 24, 1996 ("Campbell Aff."), as Exh. "A." At the time of the dinner, Meuli, an English citizen who lives and works in London, was Managing Director and co-head of Capital Markets for J.P. Morgan Securities Ltd., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of J.P. Morgan in the United Kingdom. Campbell Aff. at P 2. Following the May 31 dinner, Meuli wrote and then sent the Memorandum by electronic mail to six people, one of whom worked in Amsterdam, and five of whom worked in London. Id. at P 3. The message was subsequently forwarded to others elsewhere. Id. Beekmans maintains that at some point, the Memorandum was circulated in New York, and that the ultimate decision to publish took place in New York.
The individual who conveyed the allegedly defamatory statements to ING Bank is John E. Trip ("Trip"), Managing Director of J.P. Morgan Nederland N.V., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of J.P. Morgan. Declaration of John E. Trip, dated June 19, 1996 ("Trip Decl."), at P 1. A printed copy of the Memorandum was presented to Beekmans's Dutch employer on June 7, 1995 in the Netherlands. Trip Decl. at P 3. On that date, Trip met with Jan H. Holsboer, a member of the Executive Board of ING Group N.V. (of which ING Bank is a subsidiary) at ING Bank's offices in Amsterdam, and handed Mr. Holsboer a copy of the Memorandum from which the names of Meuli and Beekmans had been redacted. Id. at P 3.
Following disclosure of the Memorandum, Beekmans was terminated from his job at ING Bank, a banking institution incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands. Affidavit of Jan H.J. Houben, dated June 19, 1996 ("Houben Aff."), at P 2. After Beekmans was suspended from his job in the Netherlands, he and ING Bank litigated his employment status before a Dutch court. Houben Aff. at PP 1, 3. On November 22, 1995, the District Court of Amsterdam granted ING Bank's request for nullification of its employment contract with Beekmans on the grounds that ING Bank had lost trust in Beekmans's ability to continue to perform his duties appropriately. See Internationale Nederlanden Bank v. T.H.M.A. Beekmans, dated July 26, 1995, annexed to the Houben Aff. as Exh. "A." In so doing, the court held that "Meuli's statements suffice to justify that [ING Bank's] Board of Directors is no longer confident that [Beekmans] would function appropriately in his position," and that Beekmans "had contributed to a large extent to the fact that [ING Bank] did not want to maintain him in his position." Id. at PP 12, 13.
On March 12, 1996, Beekmans brought the present action in this Court, and on June 24, 1996, J.P. Morgan moved to dismiss the complaint on forum non conveniens grounds. For the reasons set forth below, J.P. Morgan's motion to dismiss the complaint is granted, and Beekmans's cross-motions are denied.
The decision to grant a motion to dismiss under the doctrine of forum non conveniens lies wholly within the discretion of the district court. Scottish Air Int'l, Inc. v. British Caledonian Group, PLC, 81 F.3d 1224, 1232 (2d Cir. 1996); Overseas Nat'l Airways, Inc. v. Cargolux Airlines Int'l, S.A., 712 F.2d 11, 14 (2d Cir. ...