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It's All Wireless, Inc. T/A Pro Mobile Gear v. Woot

September 6, 2012

IT'S ALL WIRELESS, INC. T/A PRO MOBILE GEAR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WOOT, INC. ET AL. , DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Defendants Shai International, Inc., Mike Mohnani (a/k/a Manoj Mohnani), Gemma Mohnani, Sundri Mohnani, and Shalina R. Daswani, have moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint, arguing that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over them. *fn1

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff It's All Wireless, trading as Pro Mobile Gear ("PMG"), initially filed suit in state court against Defendants Woot, Inc. and S&D Cellular. Woot removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), invoking this Court's diversity jurisdiction, and asserted counterclaims against PMG. PMG then filed the First Amended Complaint, asserting claims against the original Defendants, Woot and S&D, and also asserting claims against the moving Defendants, Dilip C. Daswani, and a number of other Defendants who are not relevant to the current motions.

The First Amended Complaint alleges that for several years before the events that gave rise to the litigation, PMG had purchased items for resale from S&D, a company owned by Shalina and Dilip Daswani. *fn2 PMG also alleges that it had in the past purchased merchandise as a buyer's agent or broker for Woot, an online retailer and subsidiary of Amazon.com. *fn3 In the autumn of 2010, S&D offered to sell to PMG Kindle devices manufactured by Amazon.com. *fn4

PMG accepted the offer and contracted to purchase the Kindles from S&D on Woot's behalf, as a buyer's agent. PMG then arranged for shipment directly from S&D to Woot. *fn5 PMG wired funds to S&D to pay for the Kindles, but although Woot received at least one shipment of Kindles, Woot failed to remit payment to PMG, citing allegations that the Kindles had been stolen from Amazon.com. *fn6 Woot refused to provide evidence that the Kindles were stolen goods, and Woot or Amazon.com retained the Kindles without paying PMG. *fn7

PMG does not allege that it had any direct dealings with Shai or the Mohnani Defendants. Instead, PMG alleges that these Defendants are suppliers who sold the allegedly stolen Kindles to S&D and were paid with PMG's funds. *fn8

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

"[C]courts reviewing a motion to dismiss a case for lack of in personam jurisdiction must accept all of the plaintiff's allegations as true and construe disputed facts in favor of the plaintiff." *fn9 The burden of establishing that jurisdiction is proper rests with the plaintiff. *fn10 The plaintiff cannot rely on general averments in the complaint or unsupported statements in his response; instead, he must "establish[] with reasonable particularity sufficient contacts between the defendant and the forum state," *fn11 by providing jurisdictional facts supported by affidavits or competent evidence. *fn12

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow a district court to assert personal jurisdiction over a non-resident to the extent allowed by the law of the state in which the court sits. *fn13

Pennsylvania's long-arm statute permits the exercise of jurisdiction over non-resident defendants to the full extent permitted under the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. *fn14 To establish general jurisdiction-jurisdiction based on contacts with the state that are unrelated to the cause of action-due process requires the plaintiff to demonstrate that the non-resident defendant's contacts with Pennsylvania were "continuous and systematic." *fn15 This standard is demanding. *fn16 Specific jurisdiction may be found where the plaintiff's claim is "related to or arises out of the defendant's contacts with the forum," and the defendant had "the minimum contacts with the forum necessary for the defendant to have reasonably anticipate[d] being haled into court there." *fn17 Upon a finding that the first two criteria are met, specific jurisdiction requires the Court to find that exercising jurisdiction "comport[s] with fair play and substantial justice." *fn18

III. DISCUSSION

A. Personal Jurisdiction as to Shai and the Mohnani Defendants

There is no dispute that Shai and the Mohnani Defendants are citizens ...


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