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Pentecostal Temple Church v. Streaming Faith

September 16, 2008

PENTECOSTAL TEMPLE CHURCH PLAINTIFF,
v.
STREAMING FAITH, LLC AND MULTICAST MEDIA NETWORKS, LLC AND MULTICAST MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES, INC. DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan

Chief Judge Donetta W. Ambrose

OPINION AND ORDER

I. SUMMATION

Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue or to Transfer will be granted in the form of transfer of this action to the United States District Court of Georgia, under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).*fn1

II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

This case is largely a contractual action filed in State Court by Plaintiff, Pentecostal Temple Church ("Pentecostal") against Defendants, a Delaware corporation and internet technology service provider, Multicast Media Technologies, Inc. ("MMT"), and its two wholly-owned limited liability corporations. All three Defendants have their principle places of business in Georgia. The action was removed by the Defendants to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.

At issue is a contract, executed by the parties as a November 2, 2005 Purchase Order, for design and implementation of an internet broadcasting system for Pentecostal's Sunday services (a) for purposes of increasing Plaintiff's public exposure and congregation/listeners, and (b) with an expectation on Plaintiff's part, allegedly based on Defendants' representations, that the broadcasting costs would be offset by income from internet viewer donations and advertisers. Plaintiff further asserts that Defendant solicited it by telephone in Pennsylvania, had negotiations and exchanges of information over the course of several months by telephone and e-mail communications into Pennsylvania, shipped equipment to Pennsylvania, and sent a technician to Pennsylvania to set up the internet technology system for broadcast of its services from Pennsylvania.

The Purchase Order signed by the parties, after several months of communication and several revisions, is a two-page document with a General Terms and Conditions section reading:

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: the terms of this Purchase Order will begin on the Effective Date . . . . This Purchase Order is subject to Streaming Faith' [sic] general terms and conditions of service, which are hereby incorporated into this Purchase Order by this reference and can be viewed at 'streamingfaith.com/gtos.pdf'.

In turn, the ten-page statement of General Terms and Conditions of Service available on Defendants' website includes, at page 8, the following paragraph:

LEGAL: Streaming Faith's provisions of services and products to you [plaintiff] and each Purchase Order shall be governed by the laws of the State of Georgia, excluding choice of law principles, and subject to the jurisdiction of courts located only within the state of Georgia.

Pentecostal broadcast its services from November, 2005 through July, 2007 and paid Defendants in excess of $142,000;*fn2 it thereafter ceased broadcast and payments to Defendants.*fn3 Pentecostal filed its State Court action in March, 2008, and complains that there were continuing "extreme technical difficulties" with the service, and that it was misled by Defendants; its claims include fraud in the inducement (owing, e.g., to misrepresentations regarding offsetting income), unconscionable contract/contract of adhesion, and contractual breach. Defendants assert, in the pending Motion, that they are subject only to Georgia jurisdiction under the forum selection clause incorporated by express reference in the Purchase Order, and that such provision is enforceable unless Plaintiff demonstrates that enforcement would be unreasonable or unjust.

As set forth below, this Court concludes that it has jurisdiction over the Defendants and would otherwise be a proper venue for this action, but that the contractual forum selection clause is valid and enforceable and that, under ยง1404(a), the action ...


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