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Roser v. Jackson & Perkins Wholesale

August 26, 2010

CASE POULSEN ROSER A/S
v.
JACKSON & PERKINS WHOLESALE, INC ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge Amy J. St. Eve Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Defendant Donald Hachenberger's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction [32] is granted without prejudice, and Defendant Glenda Hachenberger's Motions to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction [34] is granted with prejudice.

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

Before the Court are Defendant Donald Hachenberger and Defendant Glenda Hachenberger's Motions to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction. For the following reasons, the Court grants both motions.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Poulsen Roser A/S ("Poulsen") filed its complaint alleging trademark infringement against Defendants Jackson and Perkins Wholesale, Inc. ("J&P Wholesale"), Jackson and Perkins Company ("J&P Company") (J&P Wholesale and J&P Company are referred to collectively as "J&P"), Park Seed Wholesale, Inc. ("Park Seed Wholesale"), Geo W. Park Seed Co., Inc. ("Park Seed Company") (Park Seed Wholesale and Park Seed Company are referred to collectively as "Park Seed"), J&P Acquisition, Inc. ("J&P Acquisition"), and Donald and Glenda Hachenberger (collectively the "Hachenbergers," and collectively with the corporate defendants "Defendants") on March 25, 2010. In its complaint, Poulsen seeks to hold the Hachenbergers jointly and severally liable for its claims of statutory and common law trademark infringement and unfair competition against the corporate defendants. Poulsen alleges that because J&P and Park Seed have operated as a single, integrated business enterprise and the Hachenbergers utilize J&P and J&P Acquisition as mere alter egos or instrumentalities, the corporate veils of J&P, Park Seed, and J&P Acquisition should be pierced and the Hachenbergers should be held jointly and severally liable for all liability of J&P and J&P Acquisition.

Courtroom Deputy KF

Initials:

Donald Hachenberger is a 5% shareholder and Corporate Secretary of J&P Acquisition, a Delaware corporation that maintains its principal place of business in South Carolina. (R. 40-1, Donald Hachenberger Aff., ¶ 15.) Glenda Hachenberger is a 5% shareholder and director of J&P Acquisition, though she is not responsible for or involved with the management or day-to-day operations of the corporation. (R. 35-2, Glenda Hachenberger Aff., ¶ 15.) J&P Wholesale and J&P Company, Delaware corporations with their principal places of business in South Carolina, are wholly-owned subsidiaries of J&P Acquisition. (R. 40-1, D. Hachenberger Aff., ¶ 16.) Donald Hachenberger also holds 100% of the shares of Park Seed Company. Id. at ¶ 17. Park Seed Wholesale is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Park Seed Company. Id. at ¶ 18. Park Seed Company and Park Seed Wholesale are South Carolina corporations with their principal places of business in South Carolina. (R. 1-1, Complaint, ¶¶ 4-5.) Corporate officers and staff located in South Carolina manage the business activities of J&P Wholesale, J&P Company, Park Seed Company and Park Seed Wholesale. (R. 40-1, Donald Hachenberger Aff., ¶¶ 16, 18.)

Each of the corporate Defendants in this action has filed a petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina. Poulsen acknowledges that its claims against J&P Company, Park Seed Wholesale, Park Seed Company and J&P Acquisition are stayed. The Hachenbergers are the only Defendants in this action who are not debtors in the bankruptcy proceedings.

LEGAL STANDARD

I. 12(b)(2) Motion to Dismiss

A Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction tests whether a federal court has personal jurisdiction over a defendant. See Central States v. Phencorp Reinsurance Co., 440 F.3d 870, 875 (7th Cir. 2006);Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). In ruling on a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2), the Court may consider matters outside of the pleadings. See Purdue Research Found. v. Sanofi-Synthlabo, S.A., 338 F.3d 773, 782 (7th Cir. 2003). When the Court determines a Rule 12(b)(2) motion based on the submission of written materials without holding an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff must make a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction. See GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund v. Goldfarb Corp., 565 F.3d 1018, 1023 (7th Cir. 2009); Central States, 440 F.3d at 876-77. As such, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that personal jurisdiction exists. See GCIU-Employer Retirement, 565 F.3d at 1023; Central States, 440 F.3d at 876. In determining ...


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