United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK
OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION
RICHARD L. YOUNG, JUDGE
3D Systems Corp., brought this suit against its former
employee, Paul Miller, and Miller's then-current
employer, Union Tech, Inc. Four months later, 3D Systems
amended its complaint to join RP Sales America, Inc. as a
defendant. RP Sales now moves to dismiss Plaintiff's
Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for
lack of personal jurisdiction. For the reasons set forth
below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal
Jurisdiction is DENIED.
Motion to Dismiss Standard
action may be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(2) due to lack of personal jurisdiction. A
plaintiff's complaint need not contain facts alleging
personal jurisdiction. Steel Warehouse of Wisconsin, Inc.
v. Leach, 154 F.3d 712, 715 (7th. Cir. 1998). However,
if a defendant moves to dismiss the complaint due to lack of
personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of
demonstrating that jurisdiction is proper. Id. The
precise nature of this burden will vary depending upon
whether the court relies on an evidentiary hearing or the
submission of written materials. Purdue Research
Foundation v. Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d 773, 782
(7th Cir. 2003).
instant case, the court relies entirely on the submission of
written materials. Accordingly, Plaintiff “need[s] to
only make out a prima facie case of personal
jurisdiction.” Hyatt Int'l. Corp. v. Coco,
302 F.3d 707, 713 (7th Cir. 2002). In evaluating whether the
prima facie standard has been satisfied, “all disputes
concerning relevant facts presented in the record” are
resolved in favor of Plaintiff. Nelson by Carson v. Park
Industries, Inc., 717 F.2d 1120, 1123 (7th Cir. 1983).
court accepts the following facts as true for purposes of the
Sales is an Iowa corporation that was formed in July 2016 for
the express purpose of serving as a distributor for Union
Tech, a 3D printing company that competes with 3D Systems.
(Filing No. 87, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 14, 15). Paul
Miller is a former employee of 3D Systems who was hired by
Union Tech as the Director of Sales for North America.
(Id. ¶ 71).
his employment with 3D Systems, Miller had access to a
variety of confidential, proprietary, and trade secret
information, including the identities of actual and potential
customers. (Id. ¶¶ 23-24). Miller executed
an Employment Confidentiality and Non-Solitication and
Arbitration Agreement in which he agreed not to disclose this
confidential information to third parties. (Id.
¶¶ 29-30). Plaintiff alleges Miller violated this
agreement by sharing important confidential information with
RP Sales and Union Tech. (Id. ¶¶ 83-84).
Sales sells its products in states across the country,
including Indiana. (Filing No. 113-1, Declaration of Daniel
Terpstra (“Terpstra Decl.”) ¶ 6). Although
RP Sales has never sold a Union Tech product in Indiana, the
company has attempted to do so. (Filing No. 120-1,
Declaration of Paul Miller (“Miller Decl.”)
¶¶ 4-6). For example, an RP Sales representative
sent Miller a “pipeline” of the company's
sales efforts with a variety of prospective Union Tech
customers. (Id. ¶ 5). This pipeline indicated
the desire of RP Sales to work with one of Miller's
former Indiana-based contacts for Valeo-Group
(“Valeo”) regarding the potential purchase of
Union Tech printers. (Id.). In addition, RP Sales
hired Aaron Pullen, who had previously worked for Miller and
listed Miller as a reference on his resume, as an independent
contractor to promote the sales of its products in Indiana,
Illinois, and Kentucky. (Filing No. 121-5, Independent
Contractor Agreement; Filing No. 121-3 Email re: Summary
8/25/17). Pullen then requested Miller's assistance
regarding a sales opportunity with Delta Faucet Company, an
Indiana-based company with which Miller had previously
worked. (Miller Decl. ¶ 6).
court has personal jurisdiction over a defendant when two
criteria are met. Purdue, 338 F.3d at 779. First,
personal jurisdiction over the defendant must be authorized
under the law of Indiana. Id. Second, the exercise
of personal jurisdiction over a defendant must be consistent
with the requirements of federal due process. Id.
Because Indiana Rule of Trial Procedure 4.4(a) extends
personal jurisdiction to the full extent permitted by federal
due process, this court need only address whether the
exercise of personal jurisdiction over Defendant would be
inconsistent with federal due process.
Process Clause of the Federal Constitution limits when a
court may exercise personal jurisdiction based upon a
defendant's connections to the forum state. For example,
a defendant must “have certain minimum contacts”
with the state “such that the maintenance of the suit
does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.'” Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting
Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)).
“minimum contacts” analysis differs based upon
whether a court is exercising general or specific personal
jurisdiction. General jurisdiction requires a defendant to
have continuous and systematic contacts with the forum state.
Purdue, 338 F.3d at 787. This more stringent test
“allows a defendant to be sued in the forum regardless
of the subject matter of the litigation.” Id.
In contrast, specific jurisdiction only “exists for
controversies that arise out of or are related to the