The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN SPRIZZO, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, World Skating Federation ("WSF" or "plaintiff"),
brings this antitrust action to recover for the allegedly
monopolistic behavior of defendants, International Skating Union
("ISU"), and its president, Ottavio Cinquanta, (collectively
"defendants"), in the field of international figure skating.
Defendants bring this motion to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of personal
jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b) (2), 12 (b) (3), and 12 (b) (6),
respectively, as well as on forum non conveniens grounds. Because
this Court finds that it does not have personal jurisdiction over
the defendants and because it is not satisfied that such
jurisdiction exists in the alternative fora suggested by
plaintiff, the Court grants defendants' motion and dismisses
In the wake of the judging scandal that marred the figure
skating competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake
City, Utah, a number of participants in the sport, including
coaches, and judges, decided to form the WSF, a "not-for-profit
international sports federation incorporated in the state of
Nevada."*fn2 See Compl. ¶¶ 2, 14, 27, 33. Announcing its
existence on March 25, 2003 at a Washington, D.C. press
conference, the WSF promulgated as its goal the restoration of
"merits-based competition to figure skating events," id. ¶ 2,
which it sought to achieve by persuading the International
Olympic Committee ("IOC") "to recognize the WSF as the
international federation for the sport of figure skating," id.
¶ 33. That distinction currently belongs to the ISU, "an
association formed under the laws of Switzerland." Id. ¶¶ 15,
Recognition by the IOC brings with it a number of benefits.
IOC-recognized governing bodies "oversee and administer" their
specific sports, id. ¶ 15, "provide judges and officials for
the Olympic Games," id. ¶ 26, and establish eligibility
requirements for athletes wishing to compete in "World and
Olympic competitions," id.
Plaintiff contends that ISU has exploited this last perquisite
in order to maintain its stranglehold over the sport of figure
skating. Id. ¶¶ 40-45.
According to plaintiff, following the creation of the WSF
defendants engaged in behavior designed to "virtually eliminate?
the ability of potential competing organizations to sponsor
skating competitions." Id. ¶ 41. Defendants issued letters and
press releases which indicated that any ISU member "who would
join the WSF, or support or endorse its activities" would be
acting "against the integrity, the exclusive role and interests
of the ISU" in "breach of the ISU Constitution and Regulations."
Id. ¶ 35.a. Such
a breach constituted a "breach of eligibility rules," id. ¶
35.c., which the ISU warned members could result in punitive
actions, id. ¶ 35.e., loss of eligibility, id. ¶ 35.f., and
withdrawal of honorary lifetime awards, id. ¶ 35.g. Since the
ISU determines the eligibility of athletes and judges to compete
in Olympic events, plaintiff contends that ISU's actions have
meant that "individuals who hope to participate in events on [the
Olympic] level cannot participate" in WSF-sanctioned
competitions, thus relegating the WSF to the use of ineligible
skaters and judges. Id. ¶¶ 41, 43.
Along with this power to coerce skaters and judges into not
participating in WSF events, WSF contends that defendants use
their control over international figure skating to maintain a
monopoly over the marketing and television rights in the sport.
Id. ¶¶ 42-44. ISU sponsors a number of skating events in the
United States, including competitions held in Washington, D.C.,
New York, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. Id. ¶ 24. Defendants
benefit from ticket sales, merchandising, and television coverage
of these events. Id. ¶¶ 38-39. Plaintiff contends that despite
the exorbitant fees charged by ISU for the television rights,
allegedly in order to provide for "kickbacks" for defendant
Cinquanta, television networks will not do business with WSF or
other entities for fear of being blacklisted by ISU. Id. ¶¶
29-31, 42, 44.
Plaintiff commenced this action by Complaint dated December 9,
2003. Seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages, plaintiff
alleges that defendants were unjustly enriched, engaged in,
attempted to engage in, or conspired to engage in monopolization
in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 2, and engaged in restraint of trade
in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1.
Defendants moved to dismiss this action, arguing, among other
things, that this Court does not have personal jurisdiction over
them. After Oral Argument on defendants' Motion, which was held
on August 9, 2004, the Court requested that the parties submit
letter briefs on the issue of long-arm jurisdiction in the
District of Columbia. See Order, dated Aug. 9, 2004. Plaintiff
submitted a letter dated August 30, 2004, Letter of Michael M.
Buchman ("Buchman Letter"), and defendants submitted a response,
Letter of Alan R. Glickman, dated Sept. 20, 2004.
On a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction,
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (2), in which no discovery on the issue has been
taken, "plaintiff bears the burden of making a prima facie
case that jurisdiction exists." Fort Knox Music, Inc. v.
Baptiste, 139 F. Supp. 2d 505, 508 (S.D.N.Y. 2001); see also
Ball v. Metallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt, S.A., 902 F. 2d 194, 197
(2d Cir. 1990). Plaintiff need only make "legally sufficient
allegations of jurisdiction," and the court must "assume? the
truth of the plaintiff's factual allegations," Ball,
902 F.2d at 197, and view its affidavits "in the light most favorable to
[it]," Fort Knox Music, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 2d at 508; see
also Marine Midland Bank, N.A. v. Miller, 664 F.2d 899, 904
(2d Cir. 1981).
Here, plaintiff points to two separate bases for personal
jurisdiction over defendants section 12 of the Clayton Act,
which governs service and confers jurisdiction over corporate
antitrust defendants, and the New York long-arm statute,
N.Y.C.P.L.R. 302. Aware that neither of these bases may be found
to be sufficient to sustain personal jurisdiction, plaintiff
alternatively requests transfer, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406, to
the federal district court ...