United States District Court, N.D. Ohio
OPINION & ORDER [RESOLVING DOCS. 24, 29]
S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
trademark infringement case, Defendants 81 January, Inc.
(“81 January”) and William L. “Bill”
Shaine file a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2) for lack of personal
jurisdiction. Plaintiff International Watchman, Inc.
(“International Watchman”) opposes the
reasons below, the Court GRANTS
Defendants' motion to dismiss.
brings this trademark infringement case against Defendants in
connection with Defendants' sale of watches on
eBay. Plaintiff also brings claims for unfair
competition under Ohio law, civil conspiracy, and
unauthorized practice of law.
81 January is a Massachusetts corporation. Defendant Shaine
is the sole officer of 81 January and is a Massachusetts
resident. Plaintiff is an Ohio corporation, with its
principal place of business in Ohio.
move to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction. Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not
shown that Defendants had any relevant contacts in Ohio.
Defendant Shaine states that (1) Defendant 81 January is not
registered in Ohio; and (2) neither Defendant has a place of
business, real or personal property, or any employee or agent
opposes Defendants' motion. Plaintiff argues that
personal jurisdiction exists over Defendants because
Defendants sent a cease and desist letter to Plaintiff in
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing personal
jurisdiction. When the Court does not hold an
evidentiary hearing, the Court “must consider the
pleadings and affidavits in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Plaintiff “need only make a prima
facie showing of jurisdiction, ” and the court
“does not weigh the [defendant's] controverting
Plaintiff must still establish with “reasonable
particularity” the specific facts that support
jurisdiction. When a defendant contests personal
jurisdiction, “the plaintiff may not stand on [its]
pleadings but must, by affidavit or otherwise, set forth
specific facts showing that the court has
order to subject a defendant to the personal jurisdiction of
this Court, the Court must first consider whether the Ohio
long-arm statute, O.R.C. § 2307.382, permits the
exercise of jurisdiction. The Court must then consider
whether the Court's exercise of jurisdiction comports
with the limits of constitutional due process.
fails to establish personal jurisdiction over Defendants. The
Defendants' sending of a single cease and desist letter
to Plaintiff in Ohio does not support personal jurisdiction
Ohio's Long-Arm Statute
Court first determines whether Ohio's long-arm statute
permits the exercise of personal jurisdiction over
Defendants. Plaintiff's sole argument is that Defendants
are subject to personal jurisdiction under the long-arm
statute because Defendants transacted business in Ohio.
§ 2307.382(A)(1) of the Ohio long-arm statute,
“[a] court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a
person who acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of
action arising from the persons . . . [t]ransacting any
business in the state.” In the context of the Ohio
Revised Code, “transact” means “‘to
prosecute negotiations; to carry on business; to have
dealings.” Furthermore, the business transaction
must create a “substantial connection” with
to Plaintiffs, Defendants transacted business in Ohio by
sending a cease and desist letter to Plaintiff in
Ohio. The letter allegedly concerns
it is unclear how Defendant's single cease and desist
letter constitutes “transacting any business” in
Ohio. In the letter, Defendant Shaine does not make any
monetary demands on Plaintiff,  and thus does not seem to
prosecute negotiations, carry on a business, or have dealings
with Plaintiff. Rather, Defendants' cease and desist
letter appears mainly to be a one-sided business solicitation
that does not constitute “transacting any
business.” Furthermore, the fact that Defendants
sent only one such letter fails to establish a
“substantial connection” to Ohio.
Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that Ohio's long-arm
statute permits personal jurisdiction over Defendants.
assuming that Defendants' single cease and desist letter
is enough to fall within Ohio's long-arm statute, the
Court finds that Plaintiff has not demonstrated that
exercising personal jurisdiction comports with due process.
Sixth Circuit has developed a three-part test for determining
whether a case's particular circumstances provide
sufficient contacts between a non-resident defendant and the
forum state to support exercising personal
the defendant must purposefully avail himself of the
privilege of acting in the forum state or causing a
consequence in the forum state. Second, the cause of action
must arise from the defendant's activities there.
Finally, the acts of the defendant or consequences caused by
the defendant must have a substantial enough connection ...