Tapgerine LLC et al v. 50Mango Inc.

Filing 36

MEMORANDUM OPINION REGARDING FORUM NON CONVENIENS. Signed by Judge William Alsup on 3/21/2017. (whasec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/21/2017)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 TAPGERINE, LLC, a Nevada limited liability company, and TAPMEDIA, LLC, a Ukraine limited liability company, 12 13 14 15 16 No. C 16-06504 WHA Plaintiffs, v. 50MANGO, INC., a Delaware corporation, and DOES 1–10, MEMORANDUM OPINION REGARDING FORUM NON CONVENIENS Defendants. / 17 18 For the benefit of any future judge in some other jurisdiction in the United States who 19 may acquire this case on the rebound or some successor version of it, this memorandum opinion 20 sets forth the procedural history and the circumstances concerning whether these two Ukrainian 21 enterprises deserve to litigate in the United States. Although in form the corporations are 22 Nevada and Delaware entities, the real interests involved seem to reside in Ukraine. 23 Plaintiffs filed this complaint on November 8, 2016, here in the federal district court 24 in San Francisco alleging the misappropriation of trade secrets (Dkt. No. 1). Defendant moved 25 to dismiss for failure to state a claim and based on forum non conveniens (Dkt. No. 17). 26 In preparation for the hearing, scheduled March 23, 2017, and to illuminate the actual extent of 27 which the Ukrainian parties had a presence here in the United States, the Court sent out an order 28 re supplemental evidence to be submitted by March, 16, 2017 (Dkt. No. 29). The order asked 1 both parties to submit additional material via sworn declarations including “a list of all full-time 2 employees stationed in the United States at the time the complaint was filed, their titles, their 3 locations, and work responsibilities,” “a list of all United States based clients of any party to 4 this litigation,” and “photographs/videos of the Tapgerine, LLC, facility in Las Vegas and the 5 50Mango, Inc., facility in Redwood City including signage at the front of the building and in the 6 hallway, as well as the interior reception desks/work spaces/anything connected to the internet 7 and employees at work.” The purpose of this request, to repeat, was to corroborate the actual 8 extent of any real presence in the United States of the parties, as claimed by counsel. If there 9 really was a working office in Las Vegas, it would have been easy, for example, to photograph it. Instead, 21 days after this request, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the action. 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 In anticipation of the requested supplemental information, the Court studied the pending 12 motion to dismiss in favor of an alternative forum in Ukraine, examining whether the alternative 13 forum was adequate, and whether the balance of private and public interest factors favored 14 dismissal. Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 254 n.22 (1981). If the parties were to 15 litigate this matter, the Court was inclined to remit the parties to litigate in Ukraine. 16 The Court is concerned that plaintiffs may surface in some other jurisdiction in the 17 United States, claiming to have a presence in Las Vegas or some other city, seeking to take 18 advantage of our court systems rather than their own; if so, this memorandum opinion may 19 update that future judge about the past course of events here. 20 21 22 Dated: March 21, 2017. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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