United States District Court, S.D. New York
G31000 NORTH AMERICA, INC., ALLEN GLUCK, ALEXIS DALI, Plaintiffs,
CHRISTOPHER M. PARIS, OXEBRIDGE QUALITY RESOURCES, INT'L, INC., Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
VALERIE CAPRONI, District Judge.
Plaintiffs G31000 North America, Inc. ("G31000"), Allen Gluck, and Alexis Dali ("Plaintiffs") allege that Christopher Paris and Oxebridge Quality Resources International, LLC ("Oxebridge") (collectively "Defendants") have embarked on a smear campaign to harm the individual plaintiffs and G31000's business. Defendants move to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), for lack of personal jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2), and for improper venue under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3). Defendants' motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint ("FAC") is GRANTED because the Court lacks personal jurisdiction.
Gluck and Dali are the directors of G31000 and are actively involved in the risk management industry. FAC ¶¶ 2, 12-13. G31000 is a New York not-for-profit corporation dedicated to educating the risk management industry about the "ISO 31000" risk management standard. Id. at ¶¶ 25-27, 29. The ISO 31000 standard is a set of principles and guidelines that was developed by the International Standards Organization ("ISO") to serve as a paradigm for risk management. Id. at ¶¶ 26-27.
Defendants provide consulting services in the quality management industry, which encompasses risk management. Id. at ¶ 2. Defendant Paris, a Florida resident, is the sole member and chief executive officer of Oxebridge. Id. at ¶ 18. Oxebridge, a Florida corporation with its principal place of business in Florida, provides consulting for a different ISO standard - the ISO 9001 standard - which is a quality management standard. Id. at ¶ 28.
Plaintiffs argue that the ISO 31000 standard and the ISO 9001 standard overlap in a number of ways. First, the ISO 31000 standard serves as a risk management reference for all the ISO management systems standards, including the ISO 9001 standard. Id. at ¶ 28. In addition, the ISO 9001 standard will begin to require its own risk management component in the year 2015. Id. ¶ 2. Based on this interrelationship between the ISO 31000 standard and the ISO 9001 standard, Plaintiffs claim that they are in competition with Defendants. Id. at ¶ 77; Pl. Mem. ¶ 39.
The FAC alleges that Defendants have taken a number of actions to interfere with G31000's business, to harm Gluck and Dali in their professions, and ultimately to steal Plaintiffs' clients. Plaintiffs allege that these actions, which amounted to a "smear campaign, " were motivated by Defendants' desire to divert to themselves Plaintiffs' clients and sponsors.
II. Additional Jurisdictional Facts
In support of their argument that a court sitting in New York has personal jurisdiction over Defendants, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants' conduct was targeted at New York and caused injury in New York, FAC ¶ 21, and that Defendants provide consulting services to customers that are headquartered in New York including Jet Blue and L3 Communications, id. ¶ 22. Furthermore, according to the FAC, Defendants are actively soliciting business in New York to expand their New York client base. Id. at ¶ 23. As evidence of Defendants' solicitation efforts, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants recently solicited them to conduct business in New York. Id.
Plaintiffs argue that the Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendants because Defendants allegedly acted out of a motivation to steal Plaintiffs' New York clients. Id. at ¶ 77. Plaintiffs do not present any evidence that Defendants actually succeeded in their efforts to gain New York clients and instead assert that "[i]t is not material if [the Defendants'] efforts failed." Pl. Mem. ¶ 16.
In support of their motion to dismiss, Defendants argue that they have not generated any new business through any of the conduct alleged in the FAC, that they are not in competition with Plaintiffs, and that there is no articulable nexus between Plaintiffs' claims and Defendants' business with Jet Blue and L3 Communications that would justify exercising personal jurisdiction over Defendants. Def. Mem. at 2.
I. Personal ...