Telos Holdings, Inc. v. S.A.A.R. SrL et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: For the foregoing reasons, the plaintiff's Motion to Compel (Docket No. 106) is hereby DENIED. In keeping with the court's October 19, 2016 Order, the parties shall file supplemental briefing on personal jurisdi ction by January 30, 2017 so that the court may resolve the defendants' pending Motion to Grant Relief From Default Judgment Under Rule 60(b)(4) and Dismiss Under rule 12(b)(2) (Docket No. 89). Signed by District Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 1/11/2017. (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(jw)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
ONE MEDIA IP LIMITED,
HENRY HADAWAY ORGANISATION,
LTD.; HHO Licensing Ltd.; and Henry
Case No. 3:14-cv-0957
Judge Aleta A. Trauger
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Pending before the court is a Motion to Compel (Docket No. 106) filed by the plaintiff,
One Media IP Limited, to which the defendants – Henry Hadaway Organisation, Ltd.; HHO
Licensing Ltd.; and Henry Hadaway – have filed a Response in Opposition (Docket No. 110).
For the reasons discussed herein, the motion will be denied.
BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On June 28, 2016, this court issued a Memorandum and Order addressing the defendants’
Motion to Grant Relief from Default Judgment Under Rule 60(b)(4) and Dismiss under Rule
12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction. (Docket No. 99 (the “Prior Opinion”).) The Prior
Opinion, which recounted in greater detail the background and procedural history of this
copyright infringement action (familiarity with which is presumed and will not be repeated
herein), indicated that setting aside the default judgment would be appropriate if personal
jurisdiction is lacking, but it reserved final decision pending limited jurisdictional discovery.
(Id.) In particular, the Prior Opinion ordered that the parties should conduct relevant discovery
through September 28, 2016, and file supplemental briefs with regard to personal jurisdiction on
October 28, 2016. (Id. at p. 9.)
On October 19, 2016, the court held a discovery dispute telephone conference with
counsel for the parties and issued an Order allowing the plaintiff to file a Motion to Compel with
reference to the plaintiff’s September 14, 2016 Supplemental Requests for Production of
Documents (the “Discovery Requests”). (Docket No. 103.) The court further ordered that the
Discovery Requests were timely and that the defendants could not raise untimeliness as a defense
to the Motion to Compel. Finally, the court ordered that the Motion to Compel had to be filed by
October 27, 2016, the defendants’ Response, by November 3, 2016, and supplemental briefing
on the jurisdictional question, 14 days after the discovery issue was resolved. (Id.)
On October 24, 2016, the plaintiff filed the September 12, 2016 deposition of Henry
Hadaway and the October 17, 2016 Declaration of Philip Miles. (Docket No. 104.)
On October 27, 2016, the plaintiff filed the currently pending Motion to Compel, along
with an accompanying Memorandum, seeking an order compelling the defendants to produce the
documents sought in the Discovery Requests. (Docket Nos. 106, 107.) Attached to the
plaintiff’s Memorandum are the Discovery Requests and the defendants’ Responses thereto.
The “Discovery Requests” seek documents related to sales in the United States, by thirdparty licensors or distributors, of recordings licensed by the defendants. (Docket No. 107-1.)
The Defendants’ Responses raise objections on multiple grounds, including that the Discovery
Requests are overly broad and burdensome and implicate documents in the possession of third
parties rather than the defendants. (Docket No. 107-2.)
On November 3, 2016, the Hadaway Defendants filed a Response in Opposition.
(Docket No. 110.)
The parties appear to agree that the Discovery Requests are not related to the specific
recordings at issue in this infringement action and, indeed, they do not on their face appear to so
relate. Rather, they are aimed at gathering information about the sales of other recordings
licensed by the defendants and distributed by third parties, seemingly for the purpose of
uncovering whether there has been a significant volume of such sales in Tennessee. The parties
dispute, as an initial matter, whether the Discovery Requests are enforceable, in light of
objections by the defendants that they are overly broad and burdensome and relate to documents
outside of the defendants’ control. The court need not reach these questions because, as
discussed below, the Discovery Requests are, in any event, irrelevant to establishing personal
jurisdiction in this action.
The plaintiff argues that the Discovery Requests are geared toward establishing general,
rather than specific, personal jurisdiction over the defendants, an apparent concession that the
Discovery Requests do not relate to the particular recordings at issue in this action. The
defendants object to the Discovery Requests, in part, on the grounds that the court ordered
limited discovery with respect to specific personal jurisdiction only. It is correct that the Prior
Opinion ordered discovery as to “specific” jurisdiction. (Docket No. 99, p. 9.) This is because
there had been no indication in any prior briefing before the court that the plaintiff was intending
to assert a general personal jurisdiction argument with regard to the defendants. Indeed, the
plaintiff specifically requested the type of jurisdictional discovery that the court previously
ordered with respect to former defendants, who are no longer parties to this action (Docket No.
97, p. 16), and that discovery was expressly limited to specific jurisdiction only (Docket No. 65).
The plaintiff is correct, however, that it has not expressly waived the argument that general
personal jurisdiction is appropriate as to the remaining defendants, and the court will not
disallow discovery that is tailored toward establishing general personal jurisdiction, nor will the
court be unwilling to entertain arguments pertaining to general personal jurisdiction in
subsequent jurisdictional briefing. Nevertheless, as the defendants correctly argue in their
briefing, the Discovery Requests are not tailored to uncover facts that would establish either
specific or general personal jurisdiction in this action.
“For an individual, the paradigm forum for the exercise of general jurisdiction is the
individual’s domicile; for a corporation it is an equivalent place, one in which the corporation is
fairly regarded as at home.” Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915,
924 (2011). General personal jurisdiction over a corporate defendant is appropriate only where
“the corporation’s affiliations with the State in which suit is brought are so constant and
pervasive as to render it essentially at home in the forum state.” Daimler AG v, Bauman, 134
S.Ct. 746, 751 (2014).
None of the items sought in the Discovery Requests pertains to factors that could
establish that the defendants are at home in Tennessee (such as whether they have offices,
employees, representatives, or real property here, or even enter into direct sales within the state).
At most, the Discovery Requests would reveal whether the defendants placed recordings into the
stream of commerce that ended up in the state of Tennessee. This is not sufficient for a general
jurisdiction analysis. See Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 927 (“Flow of a manufacturer’s products into
the forum, we have explained, may bolster an affiliation germane to specific jurisdiction. . . .
But ties serving to bolster the exercise of specific jurisdiction do not warrant a determination
that, based on those ties, the forum has general jurisdiction over a defendant. . . . A corporation’s
continuous activity of some sorts within a state . . . is not enough to support the demand that the
corporation be amenable to suits unrelated to that activity.” (internal citations omitted)).
Moreover, because this evidence would not concern the specific recordings at issue in this action,
any such stream of commerce evidence would also not be relevant to a specific jurisdictional
analysis. Accordingly, the Discovery Requests are not relevant to developing the record as to the
jurisdictional question at issue in this case, and the defendants’ responses will not be compelled.
For the foregoing reasons, the plaintiff’s Motion to Compel (Docket No. 106) is hereby
DENIED. In keeping with the court’s October 19, 2016 Order, the parties shall file
supplemental briefing on personal jurisdiction by January 30, 2017 so that the court may resolve
the defendants’ pending Motion to Grant Relief From Default Judgment Under Rule 60(b)(4)
and Dismiss Under rule 12(b)(2) (Docket No. 89).
It is so ORDERED.
Enter this 11th day of January 2017.
ALETA A. TRAUGER
United States District Judge
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