Star Child II, LLC v. Lanmar Aviation, Inc. et al
ORDER: Defendant Lanmar Aviation, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss Third, Fourth and Fifth Counts of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 28 ) is hereby DENIED, and Defendant Richard A. Polidori's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 30 ) is hereby DENIED. It is so ordered. Signed by Judge Alvin W. Thompson on 3/16/2013. (Sykes, J.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
STAR CHILD II, LLC,
LANMAR AVIATION, INC., and
RICHARD A. POLIDORI,
Civ. No. 3:11-CV-01842 (AWT)
RULING ON MOTIONS TO DISMISS
Plaintiff Star Child II, LLC has brought this action
against Lanmar Aviation, Inc. and Richard A. Polidori, setting
forth claims for negligence (First Count), negligent oversight
(Second Count), fraud (Third Count), negligent misrepresentation
(Fourth Count), and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade
Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110a et seq. (“CUTPA”)
Defendant Richard A. Polidori has moved to
dismiss the plaintiff’s Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed. R.
Civ. P. 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction, 12(b)(5) for
insufficient service of process, and 12(b)(6) for failure to
state a claim as to him.
Defendant Lanmar Aviation, Inc. has
moved to dismiss the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Counts of the
Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
reasons set forth below, the motions are being denied.
- 1 -
I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND BACKGROUND
Star Child II, LLC (“Star Child”) is a Delaware LLC with
its principal place of business in Brooklyn, New York. Star
Child is the owner of a 2006 Socata TBM Aircraft, Bureau Number
850JT, serial number 362 (the “Aircraft”).
Inc. (“Lanmar”) is a Delaware corporation with a principal place
of business in Groton, Connecticut and thus a citizen of
Delaware and Connecticut.
Lanmar is a fixed-based operator
(“FBO”) and a flight charter, airplane maintenance and avionics
An FBO is a commercial aeronautical business engaged
in the sale of products, services, and facilities to aircraft
operators, which include: aviation fuels and lubricants; ground
services and support; tie-down, hangar, and parking services;
aircraft maintenance; and aircraft rental and flight training.
Richard A. Polidori (“Polidori”) is the president and director
He claims to be a citizen of Florida.
businesses and properties throughout the State of Connecticut
and his principal place of employment is in Groton, Connecticut.
On August 9, 2011, Star Child flew the Aircraft to the
Groton-New London Airport, which is located in Groton, for
performance of avionics and maintenance repairs by Lanmar.
After the completion of repairs, Lanmar employees moved the
Aircraft in front of Lanmar’s maintenance hangar and placed
chocks against the Aircraft’s tires to prevent movement.
- 2 -
that day, a fuel truck owned and operated by Lanmar backed
towards and struck the Aircraft.
The impact damaged the
Aircraft and knocked it off the chocks.
After the accident,
Lanmar transported the Aircraft by truck to the Daher-Socata
factory in Florida, where it is being repaired and prepared for
The Groton Airport, where the Aircraft was located at the
time of the accident, is governed by applicable regulations
found at 14 C.F.R. § 139 (the “Regulations”).
apply to Lanmar because it is an FBO operating out of Groton
The Regulations govern a wide range of activities,
including “procedures for protecting persons and property during
storing, dispensing, and handling of fuel and other hazardous
substances and materials.”
Am. Compl. ¶ 18.
pursuant to Connecticut Department of Transportation policy,
FBOs operating out of Groton Airport are held to a set of
minimum standards for commercial aeronautical business (the
Id. ¶ 15.
The Minimum Standards require
Lanmar to develop and maintain standard operating procedures.
Lanmar has the following statement on its website: “Lanmar
Aviation has implemented the most stringent safety standards.
Your Aircraft is in safe hands while based at Lanmar Aviations
Id. ¶ 16.
Star Child alleges it relied on this statement
when entrusting Lanmar with the Aircraft.
- 3 -
Star Child alleges
that contrary to 14 C.F.R. § 139 and the Minimum Standards,
Lanmar had no procedures in place to prevent its fuel trucks
from colliding with parked aircraft.
Star Child alleges that Polidori dominates Lanmar to such
an extent that there is a total unity of interest and a lack of
Star Child alleges that Lanmar is
treated by Polidori as his personal property and run for his
private benefit and contends that Lanmar’s planes include
Polidori’s initials in the bureau name and Polidori permits
friends and family to use them.
Star Child alleges that all of
Lanmar’s “important decisions are personally determined by
Polidori, as part of a web of companies run by Polidori for his
personal benefit.” Id. ¶ 27.
Star Child also alleges that past
non-arms-length transactions have been engaged in by Polidori
for his own enrichment.
Star Child claims that Polidori knew Lanmar was not
complying with 14 C.F.R. § 139 or the Minimum Standards and thus
Polidori misled consumers by claiming on the Lanmar website that
“as an aircraft owner, he has established a high set of
standards for every division within Lanmar Aviation.”
Id. ¶ 17.
On December 8, 2011, a notice of appearance was filed in
this action by Polidori’s attorney, Steven Arnold.
5, 2012, Attorney Arnold emailed counsel for Star Child to
inform them that “[he had] obtained Mr. Polidori’s authorization
- 4 -
to accept any service of process on him personally in this
Pl.’s Mem. in Opp. Mot. to Dismiss, Attach. 1, Doc.
Thereafter, when Star Child filed the Amended
Complaint, Attorney Arnold was served.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
On a Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of showing that the
court has jurisdiction over the defendant. Metropolitan Life
Insurance Co. v. Robertson-Ceco Corp., 84 F.3d 560, 566 (2d Cir.
1996), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 1006 (1997). Where a defendant
challenges “only the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s factual
allegation, in effect demurring by filing a Rule 12(b)(2)
motion, the plaintiff need persuade the court only that its
factual allegations constitute a prima facie showing of
jurisdiction.” Ball v. Metallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt, S.A., 902
F.2d 194, 196 (2d Cir. 1990). “When a motion to dismiss for lack
of jurisdiction is decided on the basis of affidavits and other
written materials . . . the allegations in the complaint must be
taken as true to the extent they are uncontroverted by the
defendant’s affidavits.” Seetransport, Wiking, Trader,
Schiffanhtsgesellschaft, MBH & Co., Kommanditgesellschaft v.
Navimpex Centrala Navala, 989 F.2d 572, 580 (2d Cir. 1993)
(quoting Taylor v. Phelan, 912 F.2d 429, 431 (10th Cir. 1990)
(per curiam) (citations omitted), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 1068
- 5 -
(1991)). However, “[i]f the parties present conflicting
affidavits, all factual disputes are resolved in the plaintiff’s
favor, and the plaintiff’s prima facie showing is sufficient
notwithstanding the contrary presentation by the moving party.”
When deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
court must accept as true all factual allegations in the
complaint and must draw inferences in a light most favorable to
Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).
Although a complaint “does not need detailed factual
allegations, a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’
of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 550, 555 (2007) (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S.
265, 286 (1986) (on a motion to dismiss, courts “are not bound
to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557 (internal quotation marks omitted)).
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level, on the assumption that all allegations in the
complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).”
- 6 -
U.S. at 555 (citations omitted).
However, the plaintiff must
plead “only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.”
Id. at 570.
“The function of a motion
to dismiss is ‘merely to assess the legal feasibility of the
complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which might
be offered in support thereof.’”
Mytych v. May Dept. Store Co.,
34 F. Supp. 2d 130, 131 (D. Conn. 1999) (quoting Ryder Energy
Distrib. v. Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc., 748 F.2d 774, 779
(2d Cir. 1984)).
“The issue on a motion to dismiss is not
whether the plaintiff will prevail, but whether the plaintiff is
entitled to offer evidence to support his claims.”
States v. Yale New Haven Hosp., 727 F. Supp. 784, 786 (D. Conn.
1990) (citing Scheuer, 416 U.S. at 232).
In its review of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim, the court may consider “only the facts alleged in the
pleadings, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by
reference in the pleadings and matters of which judicial notice
may be taken.”
Samuels v. Air Transport Local 504, 992 F.2d 12,
15 (2d Cir. 1993).
Lanmar’s Motion to Dismiss
Lanmar moves to dismiss the Third, Fourth and Fifth Counts
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
- 7 -
The court concludes
that the factual allegations as to each count suffice to state
the claim in question.
1. Third Count: Fraud
Lanmar argues that the plaintiff’s fraud claim should be
dismissed because the plaintiff’s allegations fail to satisfy
the requirements of Rule 9(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and also because, even if Lanmar’s statements on its
website were not true, the statements were at most mere
“puffery” and thus not actionable under Connecticut law.
To state a claim for fraud under Connecticut law, a
plaintiff must allege the following four elements:
(1) a false representation was made as a statement of fact;
(2) it was untrue and known to be untrue by the party
making it; (3) it was made to induce the other party to act
upon it; and (4) the other party did so act upon that false
representation to his injury.
Sturm v. Harb Dev., LLC, 298 Conn. 124, 142 (2010) (citation
Additionally, Rule 9(b) requires that the complaint
“(1) specify the statements that the plaintiff contends were
fraudulent, (2) identify the speaker, (3) state where and when
the statements were made, and (4) explain why the statements
Rombach v. Chang, 355 F.3d 164, 174 (2d Cir.
1994) (quoting Mills v. Polar Molecular Corp., 12 F.3d 1170,
1175 (2d Cir. 1993)).
As to the first element, the plaintiff identifies a
specific statement on Lanmar’s website that it contends is
- 8 -
The plaintiff alleges that even though it was not true,
“Lanmar’s website claimed that it had ‘implemented the most
stringent safety standards,’ and that Polidori had ‘established
a high set of standards for every division within Lanmar
Am. Compl. ¶ 50.
Lanmar argues that even if the statements were not true,
they are “puffery” and “statements will not form the basis of a
fraud claim when they are mere ‘puffery.’”
F.3d 1168, 1172 (2d Cir. 1994).
Cohen v. Koenig, 25
“Whether an alleged
misrepresentation is an actionable statement of fact or mere
puffery is a matter of law.”
Rexall Sundown, Inc. v. Perrigo
Co., 651 F. Supp. 2d. 9, 21 (E.D.N.Y. 2009) (quoting Fl.
Breckenridge, Inc. v. Solvay Pharm., Inc., No. 97-CV-8417, 1998
WL 468753, at *8 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 18, 1998).
Statements that are
“puffery” are unlikely to induce consumer reliance.
Newcal Indus., Inc., 513 F.3d 1038, 1053 (9th Cir. 2008)
(statements not considered puffery unless they are “extremely
unlikely to induce consumer reliance”); Time Warner Cable, Inc.
v. DIRECTV, Inc., 497 F.3d 144, 148 (2d Cir. 2007) (“[T]he
category of non-actionable ‘puffery’ encompasses visual
depictions that, while factually inaccurate, are so grossly
exaggerated that no reasonable consumer would rely on them in
navigating the marketplace.”); Novak v. Kasaks, 216 F.3d 300,
315 (2d Cir. 2000) (statements that inventory situation was “in
- 9 -
good shape” or “under control” when defendants knew the contrary
was true were false and misleading) (citation omitted)).
Lanmar’s statement that it had implemented the most stringent
safety standards is outside the ken of mere puffery because
“misstatements regarding risk management...are not ‘puffery’
where...they were ‘misrepresentations of existing facts.’”
Freudenberg v. E*Trade Fin. Corp., 712 F. Supp. 2d 171, 189
(S.D.N.Y. 2010) (quoting Novak, 216 F.3d at 315)).
Lanmar’s statement that it had implemented the most stringent
safety standards is a statement of fact, it satisfies the first
element of a fraud claim under Connecticut law.
As to the second element, the plaintiff alleges that
Lanmar’s statements were untrue and known to be untrue by
Lanmar, as evidenced by the fact that there were no heightened
standards for the operation of a fuel truck and the
misrepresentations were made for the purpose of attracting
As to the third element, the plaintiff alleges that it
“relied upon this when in entrusting Lanmar with [the
Am. Compl. ¶ 57.
As to the fourth element, the
plaintiff alleges that Lanmar’s fraudulent conduct “proximately
caused the [p]laintiff’s injuries.”
instance the allegation suffices.
- 10 -
Id. at ¶ 53.
The plaintiff’s allegations also satisfy the requirements
of Rule 9(b) because specific statements by Lanmar on its
website are identified, and the plaintiff explains that the
statements were untrue and known to be untrue and made for the
purpose obtaining business so as to provide financial benefit to
Thus, the factual allegations in the Amended Complaint are
sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss the fraud claim.
2. Fourth Count: Negligent Misrepresentation
In Sovereign Bank v. Licata, 116 Conn. App. 483 (2009), the
court stated, with respect to a claim for negligent
misrepresentation under Connecticut law:
Traditionally, an action for negligent misrepresentation
requires the plaintiff to establish (1) that the defendant
made a misrepresentation of fact (2) that the defendant
knew or should have known was false, and (3) that the
plaintiff reasonably relied on the misrepresentation, and
evidence supports a claim of...negligent misrepresentation
is a question of fact.
Id. at 502-03 (quoting Centimark Corp. v. Village Manor Assocs.
Ltd. P’ship, 113 Conn. App. 509, 519 (2009)) (alterations in
Lanmar argues that the negligent misrepresentation claim
should be dismissed for three reasons: first, because “the
damage[s] that [p]laintiff seeks to recover do not involve or
relate to any representation made or guidance provided by Lanmar
- 11 -
that Plaintiff relied on with respect to the airplane avionics
and maintenance repair transaction,” Def.’s Mem. in Supp. Mot.
to Dismiss, Doc. No. 28, 8-9; second, because the Aircraft “was
not ‘based’ at Lanmar, which is the context of Lanmar’s alleged
misrepresentation,” id. 9; and third, because even if Lanmar’s
statements on its website were not true, the statements were at
worst mere “puffery” and thus not actionable under Connecticut
As to Lanmar’s first argument, Lanmar points to the fact
that the plaintiff alleges that the repairs were completed at
the time the Aircraft was damaged.
See id. 9.
However, that is
immaterial if in fact the plaintiff has otherwise alleged facts
that could establish the elements of negligent
misrepresentation, which it has.
Lanmar also argues that the plaintiff fails to state a
claim of negligent misrepresentation because the Aircraft was
not “based” at “Lanmar Aviations FBO.”
However, the alleged
misrepresentations relied on by the plaintiff for this claim are
that “Lanmar held itself as complying with ‘stringent safety
standards’ while Polidori allegedly ‘established a high set of
standards for every division within Lanmar Aviation.”
Compl. ¶ 56.
Lanmar appears to argue that the statements relied
on by the plaintiff should be understood to mean that stringent
safety standards and a high set of standards for every division
- 12 -
only exist if one’s aircraft is based at Lanmar Aviations FBO.
Such a conclusion at this stage of the case, however, can be
reached only if one draws all inferences in favor of Lanmar, as
opposed to in favor of the plaintiff.
As to Lanmar’s argument with respect to mere puffery, the
court finds this argument unpersuasive, as discussed in
connection with the Third Count.
Thus, the plaintiff has alleged facts sufficient to state a
claim for negligent misrepresentation, and the motion to dismiss
the Fourth Count is being denied.
3. Fifth Count: CUTPA
“A claim under CUTPA requires that [the] plaintiff allege
that [the] defendant engaged in ‘unfair methods of competition
and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any
trade or commerce,’” where trade or commerce is defined as “the
advertising, the sale or rent or lease, the offering for sale or
rent or lease, or the distribution of any services and any
PTI Assocs., LLC v. Carolina Int’l Sales Co.,
3:09-CV-849, 2010 WL 363330, at *5 (D. Conn. Jan. 26, 2010)
(quoting Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110b).
The Connecticut Supreme
Court has adopted the following factors, known as the “cigarette
rule,” to determine whether a trade practice is unfair or
- 13 -
(1) Whether the practice, without necessarily having been
previously considered unlawful, offends public policy as it
has been established by statutes, the common law, or
otherwise – whether, in other words, it is within at least
a penumbra of some common law, statutory, or other
established concept of unfairness; (2) whether it is
immoral, unethical, oppressive, or unscrupulous; and (3)
competitors, or other businessmen.
Harris v. Bradley Memorial Hosp. and Health Center, Inc., 296
Conn. 315, 350 (2010).
With respect to the third factor, “[t]o
justify a finding of unfairness the injury...must be
substantial; it must not be outweighed by any countervailing
benefits to consumers or competition that the practice produces;
and it must be an injury that consumers themselves could not
reasonably have avoided.”
A-G Foods, Inc. v. Pepperidge Farm,
Inc., 216 Conn. 200, 216 (1990).
“A CUTPA plaintiff need not establish all three criteria to
demonstrate unfairness. Instead, a practice may be shown to be
unfair either ‘because of the degree to which it meets one of
the criteria or because to a lesser extent it meets all three.’”
Fabri v. United Technologies Intern., Inc., 387 F.3d 109, 120
(2d. Cir. 2004) (quoting Chershire Mortg. erv. Inc. v. Montes,
223 Conn. 80, 104 (1992)).
Lanmar argues, relying on A-G Foods, Inc., 216 Conn. at
217, that the plaintiff has not stated a CUTPA claim because the
underlying claim is grounded solely in negligence, and negligent
acts are insufficient to establish the first prong of the
- 14 -
cigarette rule because negligent acts do not offend public
policy, and insufficient to satisfy the second prong because
negligent acts in general are not immoral, unethical, oppressive
In addition, Lanmar argues that negligent acts
cannot establish the requisite “substantial injury” to consumers
or competitors as to the third prong.
However, here the plaintiff does not allege merely
In connection with the CUTPA claim, the plaintiff
alleges that Lanmar and Polidori engaged in a “systematic
practice of shirking basic safety standards,” Am. Compl. ¶ 60.,
and that is sufficient to allege a practice that offends public
policy as well as one that is immoral, unethical, oppressive or
With respect to the third prong, the plaintiff
has alleged an injury that is substantial, and it has also
alleged a practice as to which there are no countervailing
benefits to consumers provided by the practice.
drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff, the
plaintiff was unaware of the existence of the systematic
practice or shirking of basic safety standards and thus could
not have reasonably avoided the injury it suffered.
Lanmar also argues that the plaintiff has not stated a
claim for a CUTPA violation because it has not alleged facts
that could establish that it “suffered an ‘ascertainable loss’
due to a CUTPA violation.”
Collins v. Anthem Health Plans, Inc.
- 15 -
275 Conn. 309, 334-35 (2005).
The defendant points to the fact
that the damage to the Aircraft occurred after the alleged
avionic and maintenance repairs were completed and the Aircraft
was parked on the outside ramp for its return flight.
argues that, consequently, the damage to the Aircraft “was
unrelated to Lanmar’s alleged avionics and maintenance repair
Def.’s Mem. 13.
Thus, Lanmar contends that the
damage to the Aircraft does not arise out of trade or commerce
conducted by Lanmar and, for that reason, the plaintiff did not
sustain an ascertainable loss due to a CUTPA violation.
However, drawing all inferences in favor of the plaintiff, a
business or consumer relationship existed between the plaintiff
and Lanmar at the time of the damage to the Aircraft.
plaintiff alleges in substance that it turned over the Aircraft
to the possession and control of Lanmar for the avionics and
maintenance repairs and that the Aircraft was on Lanmar’s ramp
in front of Lanmar’s maintenance hangar when it was damaged,
still in the possession and under the control of Lanmar.
Thus, the plaintiff has alleged facts sufficient to state a
claim for a CUTPA violation and the motion to dismiss the Fifth
Count is being denied.
- 16 -
Polidori’s Motion to Dismiss
1. Service of Process
Polidori argues that he was improperly served.
his counsel advised counsel for Star Child that Polidori had
authorized him to accept service of process on his behalf, and
Polidori’s counsel accepted service of the Amended Complaint.
Thus, Polidori has waived his ability to raise this ground for
2. Piercing the Corporate Veil; Personal Jurisdiction
Polidori argues the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon
relief can be granted with respect to its veil piercing
allegations and, in addition, that the court lacks jurisdiction
over him under Connecticut’s long arm statute.
court concludes that the plaintiff has alleged facts that could
establish a basis for piercing Lanmar’s corporate veil, and that
because the plaintiff has properly alleged that Lanmar committed
tortious acts against the plaintiff in Connecticut, the court
has jurisdiction over Polidori under Connecticut’s long arm
a. Piercing the Corporate Veil
Under Connecticut law, when “the corporation is so
manipulated by an individual or another corporate entity as to
become a mere puppet or tool for the manipulator, justice may
require the courts to disregard the corporate fiction and impose
- 17 -
liability on the real actor.
Wenban Estate, Inc. v. Hewlett,
193 Cal. 675, 697, 227 P. 723; Minifie v. Rowley, 187 Cal. 481,
488, 202 P. 673; United Transit Co. v. Nunes, 209 A.2d 215, 219
(R.I.), and cases cited; see Starr Burying Ground Ass'n v. North
Lane Cemetery Assn., 77 Conn. 83, 92, 58 A. 467.”
Olson, 154 Conn. 563, 575 (1967).
“It is because of this that
there have arisen what are called the ‘instrumentality’ or
Id. (citations omitted).
The instrumentality rule requires . . . proof of
three elements: (1) Control, not mere majority or
complete stock control, but complete domination, not
only of finances but of policy and business practice
in respect to the transaction attacked so that the
corporate entity as to this transaction had at the
time no separate mind, will or existence of its own;
(2) that such control must have been used by the
defendant to commit fraud or wrong, perpetrate the
violation of a statutory or other positive legal duty,
or a dishonest or unjust act in contravention of [the]
plaintiff’s legal rights; and (3) that the aforesaid
control and breach of duty must proximately cause the
injury or unjust loss complained of.
The identity rule has been stated as follows: If
[the] plaintiff can show that there was such a unity
of interest and ownership that the independence of the
corporations had in effect ceased or had never begun,
an adherence to the fiction of separate identity would
serve only to defeat justice and equity by permitting
the economic entity to escape liability arising out of
an operation conducted by one corporation for the
benefit of the whole enterprise.
Angelo Tomasso, Inc. v. Armor Const. & Paving, Inc., 187 Conn.
544, 552-54 (1982) (citations and internal quotation marks
“Whether the circumstances of a particular case
justify the piercing of the corporate veil presents a question
- 18 -
Naples v. Keystone Bldg. & Dev. Corp., 295 Conn. 214,
234 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Here, the plaintiff has pled sufficient facts, in
paragraphs 28 through 30 of the Amended Complaint, to state a
claim for piercing Lanmar’s veil and imposing liability on
With respect to the instrumentality rule, the
plaintiff has alleged that Polidori totally dominates Lanmar and
during the time of the transaction that gives rise to the
plaintiff’s claim Lanmar had no separate mind or existence of
The plaintiff has also alleged that Polidori used his
control over Lanmar to commit fraud, which it alleges
proximately caused the damages suffered by the plaintiff.
respect to the identity rule, the plaintiff has alleged that
Polidori used Lanmar as his personal property, running it for
his private benefit.
It further alleges that Lanmar and
Polidori operated with a total unity of interest such that
Lanmar’s independence, in effect, ceased.
b. Long-arm Jurisdiction
The exercise of long-arm jurisdiction under Connecticut law
requires a two-part inquiry.
“First, we must determine whether
the defendant is amenable to service of process under
Connecticut’s long-arm statute.
Second, we must assess whether
the statutory authority comports with due process.”
Neogen Corp., 17 F. Supp. 2d 104, 110 (D. Conn. 1998).
- 19 -
Connecticut long-arm statute applicable to nonresident
individuals provides, in relevant part that:
a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over any
nonresident individual,... who in person or through an
agent: (1) Transacts any business within the state; (2)
commits a tortious act within the state...; (3) commits a
tortious act outside the state causing injury to person or
property within the state; (4) owns, uses, or possesses any
real property situated within the state... (A) regularly
does or solicits business, or engages in any other
persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial
revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered,
in the state, or (B) expects or should reasonably expect
the act to have consequences in the state and derives
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-59b.
Only one of the provisions of § 52-
59b needs to be satisfied.
The plaintiff has alleged that Lanmar committed a tortious
act in Connecticut that caused injury to the plaintiff by
committing fraud against the plaintiff (Third Count), by making
negligent misrepresentations to the plaintiff (Fourth Count) and
by injuring the plaintiff in violation of CUTPA (Fifth Count).
“[W]here an individual defendant has so dominated and
disregarded the corporate form that the corporation has
primarily transacted the individual’s personal business rather
than its own corporate business, a court may pierce the
corporate veil to assert personal jurisdiction over the
Hale Propeller, L.L.C. v. Ryan Marine Prod. Pty.,
Ltd., 98 F. Supp. 2d 260, 264 (D. Conn. 2000). “Establishing the
- 20 -
exercise of personal jurisdiction over an alleged alter ego
requires application of a less stringent standard than that
necessary to pierce the corporate veil for purposes of
Marine Midland Bank, N.A. v. Miller, 664 F.2d 899,
904 (2d Cir. 1981).
Unlike piercing the corporate veil for
liability purposes, it is not necessary to show “that the shell
was used to commit a fraud.”
Thus, the plaintiff has
established that the court has personal jurisdiction over
In light of the foregoing, the court need not consider the
additional arguments advanced by the plaintiff as to why the
court has jurisdiction over Polidori.
In addition, although
Polidori makes reference in his memorandum in support of the
motion to dismiss to the requirement that the statutory
authority comport with due process, he does not argue that the
exercise of long-arm jurisdiction over him in this case would
not comport with due process.
In any event, the allegations in
the Amended Complaint establish that the requirements of due
process are satisfied here.
The plaintiff alleges that Polidori
owns businesses and properties throughout the state of
Connecticut and that his principal place of employment is in
In such circumstances it is apparent that
the defendant has minimum contacts with Connecticut and the
assertion of jurisdiction would comport with traditional notions
- 21 -
of fair play and substantial justice.
See In Re Perrier Bottled
Water Litig., 754 F. Supp. 264, 267-68 (D. Conn. 1990) (citing
World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 286 (1980)
(“A two-step analysis is used when determining whether the
exercise of personal jurisdiction would offend Due Process: (1)
does the defendant have minimum contacts with the forum; and, if
so, (2) does the assertion of jurisdiction comport with
traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.”)).
For the reasons set forth above, Defendant Lanmar Aviation,
Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss Third, Fourth, and Fifth Counts of
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 28) is hereby DENIED,
and Defendant Richard A. Polidori’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No.
30) is hereby DENIED.
It is so ordered.
Dated this 16th day of March, 2013, at Hartford,
Alvin W. Thompson
United States District Judge
- 22 -
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?