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Maroun N. Abiaad D/B/A Stars On Tour, Inc v. Ibrahim Karadche D/B/A Petra Entertainment

March 4, 2013

MAROUN N. ABIAAD D/B/A STARS ON TOUR, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
IBRAHIM KARADCHE D/B/A PETRA ENTERTAINMENT, INC., DEFENDANT.



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

OPINION

I.INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Maroun Abiaad promotes entertainment shows with a Middle Eastern theme in cities across the United States. He is a Pennsylvania resident and does business through his Pennsylvania-based company, Stars On Tour, Inc. Defendant Ibrahim Karadche is a resident of California. His company, Petra Entertainment, Inc., is also located in California. Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant in this Court alleging breach of contract and tortious interference with contractual relations based on problems that arose during the promotion of a tour of the United States by an Egyptian entertainer.

Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). (Doc. No. 23.) For reasons that follow, the Court will grant the Motion to Dismiss.*fn1

II.FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Maroun Abiaad resides at 2871 Hickory Hill Drive, Worcester, Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 21 at 4.) His business - Stars on Tour, Inc. - operates at the same location. (Id. at 2.) Defendant Ibrahim Karadche is a resident of California. (Doc. No. 23-2 at 2.) He is the sole shareholder and officer of Petra Entertainment, Inc., which is located at 140 Beach Park Boulevard, Foster City, California. (Doc. No. 21 at 5; Doc. No. 23-2 at 2.)

In September 2006, Plaintiff, through his associate Youssef Harb ("Harb"), successfully arranged for the United States performance of Egyptian entertainer Amr Diab ("Diab"). (Doc. No. 21 at 2, 4.) Defendant Karadche was also involved in the promotion of this show. (Id. at 2, 5.)

In 2007, Plaintiff and Harb negotiated with Tamer Elzoaiby ("Elzoaiby"), Diab's manager, for Diab to do an eight city tour of the United States. Defendant was also involved in the negotiation of Diab's American tour. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that these "negotiations and the ones discussed below, took place in part via telephone and/or email to Plaintiff at his home located at 2871 Hickory Hill Drive, Worcester, PA 19490." (Id.)

After all the arrangements had been made, Diab cancelled the 2007 tour. (Id.) One show that Plaintiff had arranged for this tour had been sold to Defendant. (Id.) To compensate Defendant for the lost show, Plaintiff gave him a financial share in four shows being done by a different Middle Eastern entertainer. (Id.) In addition, to make up for the abrupt cancellation, Diab initially agreed to perform one Las Vegas show and a full 2008 tour at a reduced fee with two free shows. (Id.) The 2008 tour did not occur, however, because Defendant allegedly interfered with it in some unspecified way. (Id. at 2-3.)

In October 2010, Diab finally performed the Las Vegas show, and, in early 2011, he contacted Harb, Plaintiff's agent, to schedule a fall 2011 U.S. tour. (Id. at 3.) No tour arose from these conversations. (Id.) Instead, Defendant participated, without the assistance of Plaintiff or Harb, in the promotion of Diab's September 2011 tour of the United States. (Id. at 4.)*fn2

On September 21, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Diab, Elzoaiby, Harb, and Karadche, alleging claims of breach of contract, detrimental reliance, and tortious interference with contractual relations. (Doc. No. 1.)

On March 9, 2012, a default was entered against all four individuals for failure to appear or respond to the Complaint. On June 5, 2012, prior to an entry of a default judgment, the case against Diab, Elzoaiby, and Harb was dismissed after the Court received notice from Plaintiff that the claims made against them had been settled. (Doc. No. 12.)

Defendant Karadche, the only remaining defendant, then filed a Motion to Set Aside Entry of Default. (Doc. No. 11.) In the Motion, Defendant, who lives and works in California, argued not only that the default should be set aside, but also that the Court should dismiss the Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. (Doc. No. 11-2 at 4-8.)

Plaintiff filed a timely response. (Doc. No. 14.) In the response, Plaintiff makes the following arguments:

The Court possesses personal jurisdiction over defendant Karadche even though he is a non-forum resident under the ...


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