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Nardiello v. Allen

November 16, 2007

TIMOTHY NARDIELLO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TERRY ALLEN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary L. Sharpe U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Timothy Nardiello brings this action alleging that Terry Allen made slanderous statements concerning Nardiello which damaged Nardiello in his trade or profession and imputed unchaste behavior in a man. Pending is Allen's motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

II. Procedural History

Nardiello, a New York resident, commenced this action by filing a complaint on December 13, 2006, in the New York Supreme Court for the County of Essex. Allen, an Oregon resident, filed a Notice of Removal to this court on June 1, 2007, alleging diversity of citizenship. Dkt. 1. Subsequently, on June 8, 2007, Allen moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Dkt. 4.*fn1

III. Facts

At this stage of the proceedings, where the court has not held an evidentiary hearing regarding the bases of personal jurisdiction, Nardiello need only make a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction over Allen to survive dismissal. See Cutco Indus., Inc. v. Naughton, 806 F.2d 361, 365 (2d Cir. 1986) ("Although . . . the plaintiff has the ultimate burden of establishing jurisdiction over defendant by a preponderance of the evidence . . . until an evidentiary hearing is held, it need make only a prima facie showing by its pleadings and affidavits that jurisdiction exists.") (citations omitted). Thus, at this stage, the facts alleged in the pleadings and affidavits submitted by the parties are construed in the light most favorable to Nardiello, and all doubts are resolved in his favor. Id.

A. Nardiello's Association with the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation Nardiello served as head coach of the United States Olympic Skeleton Team from October, 2002 through March, 2006. See Aff. of Timothy Nardiello in Supp. of his Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss ("Nardiello Aff."), ¶ 2; Dkt. 7. In his role as head coach of the Skeleton Team, Nardiello was required to make regular reports to the Skeleton Program Committee ("SPC"), the regulating body of the Skeleton Team. Id. at ¶¶ 3, 4. Additionally, prior to implementing any material changes to the Skeleton Team, Nardiello was required to seek SPC approval. Id. at ¶ 4. The SPC, in turn, was run under the auspices of the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation ("USBSF"). Id. at ¶ 3.

B. Allen's Association with the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation

According to the Affidavit of James Shea, the former president of the USBSF, submitted in support of Nardiello's Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss ("Shea Aff."), Allen served as an "athlete elected member at large" of the SPC Board from 2003 through 2005. Shea Aff. ¶ 9; Dkt. 7.*fn2 In addition to his role on the SPC, Allen was employed as a coach by the USBSF on a "part-time, race-by-race basis" from January 25, 2004 through February 7, 2004. Allen Aff. ¶ 6; Dkt. 4.

C. Alleged False Statements made by Allen

Nardiello alleges that on five separate occasions between December 17, 2005 and January 3, 2006, Allen made false statements about Nardiello in correspondence to Robbie Vaughn, Interim Executive Director of the USBSF, and other members of the USBSF Board. See Compl. ¶¶ 7-12; Dkt. 1.*fn3 As a result of these statements, Nardiello contends that he was suspended as head coach of the Skeleton Team, and that he was injured in his good name and reputation.

D. Allen's Contacts with New York

Nardiello alleges that Allen, through "his association and pervasive activities" with the USBSF, was at all relevant times "doing business and/or transacting business in the State of New York." Compl. ΒΆ 2; Dkt. 1. Additionally, Allen "on numerous occasions has personally presented [sic] to Lake Placid, New York between 2002 and November of 2005 for the purpose of engaging in ...


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