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Hitz Entertainment Corp. v. Mosley

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

February 1, 2017

HITZ ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION, an Illinois corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
SHANE MOSLEY, an individual, and GOBOX PROMOTIONS, INC., a Nevada corporation, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          SARA L.ELLIS United States District Judge

         The bout before the Court stems from a bout in a boxing ring. In the Plaintiff's corner is Hitz Entertainment Corporation (“HEC”), an Illinois-based boxing promotion company owned by Bobby Hitz, which is seeking to challenge a former three-weight world champion and former best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Mosley is joined in his corner by his promotion company GoBox Promotions, Inc. (“GoBox”), an independent boxing promotion outfit that Mosley uses as a vehicle for staging and promoting boxing matches. HEC brings two claims under Illinois state law against Mosley and GoBox (collectively, “Defendants”), one for tortious interference with a contract and one for tortious interference with prospective economic relations. Defendants move to dismiss [14] HEC's complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2).

         HEC also brings a separate motion for a declaration and order regarding the agreed confidentiality order [35], seeking an order from the Court declaring certain documents improperly designated as confidential and for attorneys' eyes only (“AEO”).

         Because HEC has failed to present facts establishing sufficient contacts between the Defendants and Illinois to support the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the Defendants in Illinois, the Court grants the motion to dismiss. And because Defendants have not presented a basis for designating the deposition transcripts as confidential and one of the documents the Defendants designated AEO is currently publicly available, the Court grants HEC's motion for a declaration with respect to those documents. However, because the remaining documents contain confidential information and Defendants have demonstrated that good cause exists to designate them AEO, the Court denies the motion with respect to those documents.

         BACKGROUND[1]

I. The Fight

         HEC is an Illinois-based boxing promotion company, solely owned by Bobby Hitz, a former heavyweight boxing contender. In December 2012, HEC entered into a promotional agreement (the “Agreement”) with a professional boxer named Dimar Ortuz. Under the Agreement, HEC had exclusive rights to secure and promote all boxing matches for Ortuz during the term of the contract, which would extend for a minimum of three years.

         At some point in 2015, Mosley offered Ortuz a bout (the “Bout”) against Victor Barragan during an event Mosley and GoBox were promoting in California on August 29, 2015 (the “Event”). At the time Mosley made this offer to Ortuz, Ortuz was living and training in California. Neither Mosley nor GoBox contacted Ortuz while he was in Illinois.

         Prior to the Bout, on August 11, 2015, Bobby Hitz contacted Trista Pisani, GoBox's Vice President of Operations, and informed her of HEC's agreement with Ortuz. Pisani told Hitz that she would get back to him, but she never did. On August 19, Hitz texted Pisani regarding the Bout and stated that if Defendants went forward with it he would sue them in Illinois. Again, Pisani did not respond. On August 25, Hitz sent a text message to Mosley asking that Mosley call him regarding Ortuz and noting that he has an exclusive promotion contract with Ortuz. Mosley did not respond to this message. The Bout took place, as scheduled, on August 29, 2015.

         GoBox entered into several distribution agreements with Pay-per-view (“PPV”) distributors to distribute and market the Event nationwide, including in Illinois. Each of the PPV distributors made sales in Illinois and at least one sent nationwide marketing emails that were received by individuals in Illinois. Additionally, GoBox distributed the Event through a closed circuit television (“CCTV”) distributor who provided the Bout to venues nationwide, including eight venues in Illinois.

         II. Confidentiality Designation

         As a result of Ortuz participating in the Bout, HEC filed the present suit in January 2016. During discovery, Defendants produced the agreements with the PPV distributors as well as a report on the CCTV distribution. Pursuant to the agreed protective order in this case, Defendants designated those documents as AEO. Subsequently, during the depositions of Mosley and Pisani, HEC's counsel asked Mosley and Pisani about those documents. Defendants did not designate the depositions as confidential, as required by the protective order, during the depositions.

         On September 6, 2016, GoBox filed an unrelated complaint in the Central District of California against one of the PPV distributors and attached to that complaint the agreement with that distributor as well as the CCTV report, both of which Defendants previously designated as AEO. In early November 2016, GoBox filed a motion to seal the distributor agreement filed in that case but did not move to seal the CCTV report. The court in the California case granted the motion, and resealed the agreement, but the CCTV report remains on the publicly available docket in that case.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         I. Personal Jurisdiction

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2) challenges whether the Court has jurisdiction over a party. The party asserting jurisdiction has the burden of proof. See Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601 F.3d 693, 701 (7th Cir. 2010). The Court may consider affidavits and other competent evidence submitted by the parties. Purdue Research Found. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d 773, 782 (7th Cir. 2003). If the Court rules on the motion without a hearing, the plaintiff need only establish a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction. GCIU-Emp'r Ret. Fund v. Goldfarb Corp., 565 F.3d 1018, 1023 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court will “read the complaint liberally, in its entirety, and with every inference drawn in favor of” the plaintiff. Cent. States, Se. & Sw. Areas Pension Fund v. Phencorp Reinsurance Co., 440 F.3d 870, 878 (7th Cir. 2006) (quoting Textor v. Bd. of Regents of N. Ill. Univ., 711 F.2d 1387, 1393 (7th Cir. 1993)). “[O]nce the defendant has submitted affidavits or other evidence in opposition to the exercise of jurisdiction, ” however, “the plaintiff must go beyond the pleadings and ...


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