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ZENITH RADIO CORP. v. MATSUSHITA ELEC. INDUS. CO.

May 7, 1975

ZENITH RADIO CORPORATION
v.
MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., ET AL. NATIONAL UNION ELECTRIC CORPORATION v. MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., ET AL. IN RE: JAPANESE ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS ANTITRUST LITIGATION



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HIGGINBOTHAM

 I. HISTORY OF THE ZENITH ACTION, CIVIL ACTION NO. 74-2451.

 On September 20, 1974, plaintiff Zenith Radio Corporation filed this antitrust action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, naming twenty-one Japanese and American corporations as defendants. On October 29, 1974, certain of the defendants moved, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, to transfer this action to the District of New Jersey for consolidated pretrial proceedings with the previously filed case of National Union Electric Corporation v. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., et al., Civil No. 1706/70. On November 25, 1974, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the NUE action to this Court. That same day, this Court directed the defendants to file whatever pleadings they intended to file with respect to the complaint on or before January 2, 1975. On that date, eight defendants herein -- Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. ("MEI"), Matsushita Electronics Corporation ("MEC"), Matsushita Electric Trading Co., Ltd. ("MET"), Sharp Corporation ("Sharp"), Hitachi, Ltd. ("Limited"), Hatachi Kaden Hanbai Kabushiki Kaisha ("Kaden"), Mitsubishi Electric Corporation ("MELCO"), and Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. ("DENKI") -- moved this Court pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss the action as to them for lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, and insufficient service of process. These issues were briefed, then argued for four days, from February 3, 1975 to February 6, 1975. In addition, the Court propounded to the moving defendants interrogatories designed to elicit facts that were not yet of record but were relevant to the determination of the issues of venue, jurisdiction and process. The defendants having answered these interrogatories, the issues are now ripe for decision. I have examined these answers, as well as the affidavits and exhibits submitted by the plaintiff and the defendants in support of their respective positions. *fn1" On the basis of my examination of this extensive factual record, I have concluded that this Court may exercise jurisdiction over each of the moving defendants, that venue is proper for each of them in this district, and that each of them has been adequately served with process. Accordingly, their motions to dismiss will be denied.

 II. HISTORY OF THE NUE ACTION, CIVIL ACTION NO. 74-3247.

 Plaintiff National Union Electric Corporation filed this antitrust action in the District of New Jersey on December 21, 1970. The complaint named as defendants seven Japanese manufacturing corporations and seven United States sales subsidiaries or affiliates of those Japanese manufacturing corporations. An amended complaint added three other Japanese corporations as defendants. In their responses to the NUE complaint, six defendants raised defenses related to venue, jurisdiction and service of process. Three of those defendants have since withdrawn those defenses, so that presently only Hitachi Kaden Hanbai Kabushiki Kaisha ("Kaden"), Mitsubishi Electric Corporation ("MELCO"), and Sanyo Electric Company, Ltd. ("DENKI") contest venue, jurisdiction and service of process.

 After extensive discovery related to these issues, NUE moved in June, 1973, pursuant to Rule 12(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for a hearing and final determination prior to trial of the defenses of improper venue, lack of personal jurisdiction and insufficiency of service of process. As of November 25, 1974, however, when the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, transferred the action to this Court for consolidated pretrial proceedings, no determination of the validity of these defenses had been made.

 In February, 1975, during oral argument on other issues in this multidistrict litigation, counsel for both sides waived argument on these defenses and submitted the issues to the Court on briefs, as supported by the affidavits and exhibits filed by the respective parties, and as supplemented by the answers of the contesting defendants to interrogatories propounded by the Court at the oral argument. The issues are now ripe for decision, and for the sake of procedural consistency with the parallel Zenith action, I shall treat them as raised by motions to dismiss made by Kaden, MELCO and DENKI pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. *fn2"

 My examination of the voluminous factual record in this action leads me inexorably to the conclusion that the three moving defendants are amenable to jurisdiction and venue in the District of New Jersey, and have been adequately served with process. Their motions to dismiss will therefore be denied.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 I. PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS.

 In support of their defenses based on lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, and insufficient service of process, the various defendants have filed numerous affidavits, some of them sworn to by defense counsel, others by officers of the defendant corporations. In large part, these affidavits recite a litany of non-contacts with the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in the Zenith action, and with the District of New Jersey in the NUE action and a similar litany of non-control over the day-to-day operations of their subsidiary or affiliated corporations. Each of the affidavits is offered to bolster one or both of the moving defendants' two basic contentions: (1) that their non-transaction of business in the relevant forums immunizes them from jurisdiction, venue and process; and/or (2) that they do not exercise day-to-day control of their subsidiaries who do transact business in the relevant forums, and therefore may not be reached through those subsidiaries for purposes of jurisdiction, venue and process. In both actions, however, plaintiffs introduced evidence sufficient to make me hesitate to render a decision on the basis of defendants' often conclusory affidavits. Accordingly, I propounded interrogatories to the appropriate defendants in both the Zenith and NUE actions, seeking more detailed information about their corporate relationships, their sales and their contacts with the two districts where the plaintiffs attempt to establish jurisdiction and venue. In order to make the factual basis for my decisions on the instant matters clear, I now set forth and find as facts (1) defendants' answers to the Court's interrogatories in the Zenith and NUE actions; (2) those of plaintiff's proposed findings of fact in the NUE action that are reasonably supported by the evidence; *fn3" and (3) other factual submissions of the plaintiffs that are relevant to the issues raised by the moving defendants.

 II. DEFENDANTS' RESPONSES IN THE ZENITH ACTION AS ...


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