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Olympic Sports Data Services, Ltd. v. Maselli

March 16, 2009

OLYMPIC SPORTS DATA SERVICES, LTD., PLAINTIFF
v.
SANDY MASELLI, JR., ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stengel, J.

MEMORANDUM

This case involves a dispute over the ownership of two domain names: and .*fn1 Olympic Sports Data Services, Ltd. has moved for partial dismissal of SBG Global's complaint. (Olympic's Mot. to Dismiss (Document #20).) SBG was permitted to intervene in this matter to contest Olympic's ownership of the domain names. See Olympic Sports Data Servs., Ltd. v. Maselli, 2008 WL 5377626 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 22, 2008) (memorandum and order granting SBG's motion to intervene). Primarily, SBG wants a declaratory judgment that it is the rightful owner of the domain names. In addition, SBG claims damages for conversion, tortious interference with existing and prospective economic relations, and unjust enrichment. (See Compl. ¶¶ 40--55 (Document #19).) Olympic challenges whether these state law claims are proper. After review of the parties' memoranda, I will deny the motion to dismiss.

I. Background

The domain names were initially registered on or about April 24, 1997, by Total Entertainment Canada, Ltd. and Sandy Maselli (collectively, the sellers). (Mot. to Intervene at 2 (Document #3).) On or about August 30, 2002, Olympic purchased the domain names. (Id.) The Whois registration information,*fn2 which publicly identifies a domain name's registrant, was not updated and continued to list the sellers as the registered owners. (Id.)

In July 2003, SBG began to lease the domain names from the sellers and created websites for them. (Id.) In October 2004, SBG purchased the registrations for the domain names for $75,000.00 from the sellers, and used the Internet company Escrow.com to serve as the escrow agent. (Id. at 3.) SBG claims the sellers never disclosed the prior sale to Olympic and that the Whois information continued to list the sellers as the registrants. (Id. at 2S3.) After the purchase, SBG transferred the domain names to a new registrar and updated the Whois information. (Id. at 3.)

On July 14, 2005, Olympic filed an arbitration claim with the American Arbitration Association against the sellers to establish its ownership of the registrations of the domain names. (Id.) The arbitration was held pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). (Mot. to Vacate at 1 (Document #4).) At least one attempt was made to serve process on SBG's owner and operator, Mr. Eduardo Agami, by regular mail. Whether it was successful is not known. (See Arbitrator's Decision on Liability at 1 (Document #3 Ex. 4).) On May 5, 2006, the arbitrator decided in favor of Olympic and directed that the registration for the domain names should be transferred to Olympic. (Id. at 2.) On February 22, 2007, the arbitrator confirmed the transfer and awarded Olympic a monetary award of $243,283.75. (Mot. to Intervene at 4.) Neither SBG nor Mr. Agami participated in the proceedings.

On July 26, 2007, Olympic filed its Petition to Affirm Arbitrator's Orders (Document #1).*fn3 I granted the petition on August 15, 2007. Seven months later on March 18, 2008, SBG filed its motions to intervene and to vacate. I granted the motion to intervene to allow SBG to contest ownership of the domain names and denied the motion to vacate. See Olympic Sports Data, 2008 WL 5377626 (memorandum and order granting SBG's motion to intervene). SBG was directed to file a complaint setting forth its claim. See id.

Pursuant to a provision of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act,*fn4 SBG seeks declaratory judgment for a transfer of the ownership. (See Compl. ¶ 38.) Claims for conversion, tortious interference with economic relations, and unjust enrichment are also included. Olympic's motion addresses these state law claims.

II. Standard of Review

Olympic did not specify under which rule it moves to dismiss. My review of the memorandum leads me to conclude that Olympic challenges both subject matter and personal jurisdiction.

a) Dismissal for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Rule 12(b)(1) provides that a court may dismiss a complaint for "lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter" of a case. "Without jurisdiction the court cannot proceed at all in any case." Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 94 (1998). The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction. Carpet Group Int'l v. Oriental Rug Imp. Ass'n, 227 F.3d 62, 69 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977)).

A Rule 12(b)(1) motion may present either a facial or a factual challenge to subject matter jurisdiction. "A challenge to a complaint for failure to allege subject matter jurisdiction is known as a 'facial' challenge, and must not be confused with a 'factual' challenge contending that the court in fact lacks subject matter jurisdiction, no matter what the complaint alleges . . . ." N.E. Hub Partners, ...


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