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DICESARE-ENGLER PRODUCTIONS v. MAINMAN LTD.

October 19, 1976

DiCESARE-ENGLER PRODUCTIONS, INC., a corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
MAINMAN LTD., a corporation and DAVID BOWIE, an Individual, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: COHILL

 The facts alleged in the complaint of plaintiff, DiCesare-Engler Productions, Inc., will be taken as true for the purposes of the disposition of these motions.

 Plaintiff is a corporation, doing business in Pennsylvania, and is in the business of promoting music concerts. Defendant, Mainman Ltd. ("Mainman"), is a corporation doing business in Pennsylvania. Defendant, David Bowie ("Bowie"), is a singer and a non-resident of Pennsylvania. Mainman acted as a booking agent in the situation under consideration here.

 On May 30, 1974, plaintiff entered into an oral agreement with Mainman whereby Mainman was to furnish the services of Bowie for a concert to be held on June 25, 1974 in the Cincinnati Gardens, Cincinnati, Ohio. Plaintiff had executed a written lease of the Gardens for the day of the concert, and Mainman later cancelled the concert. Plaintiff seeks damages exceeding $10,000 resulting from the cancellation.

 The case is before the court on the motions of both defendants for a preliminary injunction to enjoin plaintiff and plaintiff's counsel from proceeding with a related action against the defendants in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. We are also requested to strike off a default judgment entered against Bowie in this court and to require counsel for plaintiff to pay Bowie counsel fees pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. § 1927.

 Procedural History

 In July, 1974, plaintiff filed suit against Mainman and Bowie in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, for breach of the concert contract and for tortious interference with a contractual relationship, namely the lease of the Gardens. The action in the Common Pleas Court (hereinafter referred to as Suit #1) was begun by a Praecipe for a Writ of Foreign Attachment. On July 5, 1974, the defendants removed the case to this court at Civil Action No. 74-657. In the intervening period, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Jonnet v. Dollar Savings Bank, 530 F.2d 1123 (1976), held the Pennsylvania foreign attachment procedure to be unconstitutional. Since plaintiff had obtained service of process via that procedure, defendants' motion to dismiss Suit #1 on the basis of Jonnet was granted by Hon. Louis Rosenberg of this court on March 11, 1976.

 Prior to the court's disposition of the motion to dismiss, and apparently as a hedge against the possibility of Suit #1 being dismissed because of the Jonnet case, plaintiff filed a second suit (Suit #2) in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, alleging the same cause of action against the defendants as was alleged in Suit #1. Service of process in Suit #2 was attempted to be made on the defendants pursuant to the Pa. R. Civ. P. 2180 (c) (service upon corporation) and 2079 (service upon individual) which provide that service may be effected by delivering a copy of the complaint by registered mail to the Secretary of the Commonwealth and to the defendant at its principal place of business or last known address. A copy of the complaint was delivered by registered mail to the Secretary and to the offices of Mainman in New York. A copy of the complaint also was sent by registered mail to Bowie at 9465 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, California, where it was refused.

 On March 4, 1976, Defendant Mainman, by Petition, caused Suit #2 to be removed to this court at Civil Action No. 76-292. Defendant Bowie was not a party to that petition.

 Plaintiff took a default judgment against Bowie in Suit #2 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, and filed an affidavit of default and caused a default judgment to be entered against Bowie in this court on March 25, 1976. Notice of the default judgment was mailed to Bowie at the 9465 Wilshire Blvd. address, where it was forwarded to Bowie's California attorney at 10850 Wilshire Blvd.

 On April 26, 1976, defendant Bowie filed in this court a motion to strike the entry of the default judgment and submitted an affidavit signed by Bowie's California attorney, to the effect that 9465 Wilshire Blvd. was not the residence or business address of either Bowie or Bowie's attorney. On May 21, 1976, plaintiff filed an answer to the motion to strike entry of the default, alleging that Bowie had failed to join in the removal to federal court and averring that Bowie was in fact served at his last known address as required by Pennsylvania law.

 On June 24, 1976, Bowie filed a consent to the removal from the Court of Common Pleas. On the same day, June 24, defendants Mainman and Bowie filed a motion for preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent the plaintiff from proceeding on the judgment in state court and for assessments of costs pursuant to the 28 U.S.C. § 1927. A hearing on these motions was held on June 24; after oral argument, the disposition of the motions was stayed pending the filing of briefs addressing the jurisdiction issue.

 Jurisdiction

 Before considering the defendants' motions for preliminary and permanent injunctions, two questions must be answered: (1) was this case properly removed from the state court to the federal court? (2) did the state court have jurisdiction over the parties in the first place? If the state court lacked jurisdiction over him in the first place, this court has acquired no jurisdiction over Bowie by removal. Freeman v. Bee Machine Co., 319 U.S. 448, 63 S. Ct. 1146, 87 ...


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