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Superkite Pty Limited v. Glickman

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

November 12, 2014

SUPERKITE PTY LIMITED, Plaintiff,
v.
ROSS B. GLICKMAN, Defendant. ROSS B. GLICKMAN, Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
SUPERKITE PTY LIMITED, HAYMAN PRIVATE EQUITY, LLC, HAYMAN PRIVATE EQUITY AUSTRALIA (PTY), LTD, ROLAND HUNER a/k/a ROLAND FRANK BLEYER, ANDREW BACIK, JAMES NAPOLI, CHRISTOPHER DIETERICH, ROBERT MASUD, and JOHN STAMMERS, Counter-Defendant and Third-Party Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN, District Judge.

This complex case concerns a business deal gone wrong between Ross Glickman and a group of other business entities and individuals. In 2012, Superkite PTY Limited, an Australian private-equity company, sued Glickman in federal court, alleging that he failed to repay a $900, 000 loan. Glickman, a real-estate executive, counterclaimed against Superkite and eight other parties, alleging that they conspired to defraud him by making a sham loan as part of a real-estate deal. Superkite and seven of the other parties moved to dismiss Glickman's counterclaims. The court denied the motion to dismiss by Christopher Dieterich, a lawyer and businessman allegedly affiliated with Superkite. Dieterich now moves [150] the court to reconsider its denial of his motion.

BACKGROUND

The court previously outlined the complicated facts of this case in its prior opinion and, thus, need not repeat them here. See Superkite PTY Ltd. v. Glickman, No. 12-cv-7754, 2014 WL 1202577, at *1-2 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 21, 2014). Dieterich previously moved the court to dismiss Glickman's counts against him for lack of personal jurisdiction. Dkt. # 94. Glickman presented two primary arguments: that any contacts he had with Illinois were in a purely representative capacity for Hayman Private Equity, LLC and that, aside from this, his actual contacts with Illinois were limited and insufficient to establish jurisdiction. Dkt. # 95 at 10. Dieterich stated in his prior motion that he served merely as outside legal counsel and as an unpaid officer for Hayman. Id. at 12.

The court denied Dieterich's motion, writing:

Dieterich is alleged to have conspired with the third-party defendants to defraud Glickman while representing that [Hayman] was capable of meeting its financing obligations under the joint venture. Glickman seeks to hold Dieterich personally liable under a veil piercing theory and has sufficiently alleged such a claim. Accordingly, Dieterich's business relationship with Glickman as an HPE officer is sufficient to establish minimum contacts for purposes of personal jurisdiction.

Superkite, 2014 WL 1202577, at *8.

Dieterich, who has answered Glickman's complaint, moves for reconsideration of his prior motion. Dkt. # 150. Dieterich argues that he is not subject to jurisdiction because any contacts with Illinois occurred while he was acting as a fiduciary for Hayman and that Glickman has not alleged that Hayman was a sham entity. He also argues that his actual contacts with Illinois, independent of the fiduciary-shield doctrine, are insufficient for jurisdiction. Id. at 8-10.

DISCUSSION

1. Reconsideration

Courts may revise interlocutory orders at any time before the entry of final judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(a). Reconsideration may be proper, in part, when: 1) the court has patently misunderstood a party; 2) the court has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented by the parties; 3) the court has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension; or 4) there has been a controlling or significant change in the law or facts. Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990). "To be within a mile of being granted, a motion for reconsideration has to give the tribunal to which it is addressed a reason for changing its mind." Ahmed v. Ashcroft, 388 F.3d 247, 249 (7th Cir. 2004).

2. Personal Jurisdiction

"Federal courts ordinarily follow state law in determining the bounds of their jurisdiction over persons." Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1121 (2014). Illinois authorizes its courts to exercise jurisdiction over persons on any basis permitted by the federal Constitution. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-209(c); accord Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601 F.3d 693, 700-01 (7th Cir. 2010). In order for a state to bind a nonresident defendant to a judgment of its courts, "the nonresident must have certain minimum contacts such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." Walden, 134 S.Ct. 1121 (internal quotation and alteration marks omitted). A federal court's minimal-contacts analysis must examine the "contacts that the defendant himself creates with the forum State" and not "contacts between the plaintiff (or third parties) and the forum State." Id. at 1122 (internal quotation marks omitted). Additionally, a court's "analysis looks to the defendant's contacts with the forum State itself, not the defendant's contacts with the persons who reside there." Id. The "plaintiff cannot be the only link between the defendant and the forum." Id.

This case concerns a contractual relationship between Dieterich and Glickman, an Illinois resident. In Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 478 (1985), the Supreme Court held that a Florida court possessed jurisdiction over an out-of-state franchisee for an alleged breach of a franchise agreement. The Court emphasized that an "individual's contract with an out-of-state party alone [cannot] automatically establish sufficient minimum contacts in the other party's home forum." Id. (emphasis in original). In Burger King, the franchisee did not conduct business in or visit Florida, but the Court nonetheless found that the controversy "grew directly out of a contract with a substantial connection" with Florida. Id. at 479 (internal quotation marks omitted). The ...


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