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Sheriff's Office of St. Tammany Parish v. Nathan

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 11, 2015

SHERIFF'S OFFICE OF ST. TAMMANY PARISH, AND JACK STRAIN, in his capacity as Sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, State of Louisiana
v.
BEN AND KAREN NATHAN, d/b/a UNIFORMS4WOMEN, ET AL. SECTION

ORDER AND REASONS

IVAN L.R. LEMELLE, District Judge.

I. NATURE OF THE MOTIONS AND RELIEF SOUGHT

Before the Court is Defendant, Bassim Nathan's, Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction.[1] Plaintiffs, the Sheriff's Office of St. Tammany Parish and Jack Strain in his capacity as Sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, State of Louisiana, have filed a late response in opposition.[2] Accordingly and for the reasons enumerated below,

IT IS ORDERED that the Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction is GRANTED.

II. STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This action arises out of a breach of contract for the sale of goods. On or about November 3, 2010, following a public bid process, the Sheriff's Office awarded a bid for new uniforms to Ben and Karen Nathan, d/b/a Uniforms4Women.[3] As a result of that bid, the Sheriff's Office paid nearly $145, 000.00 for uniforms.

Furthermore, the Sheriff's Office was forced to pay for alterations even though the accepted bid requested Defendant to pay for the same.[4] Plaintiffs contend that Defendants were notified of the deficiencies, yet failed to replace the defective uniforms; failed to meet bid specifications; and, failed to provide uniforms fit for the intended purpose. Plaintiff claims that as a result of the breach of contract as described, Defendant is liable for the sum of $145, 000.00.

On February 26, 2014, Plaintiffs filed this diversity action against Ben and Karen Nathan, d/b/a Uniforms4Women.[5] Defendant, Bassim Nathan was incorrectly sued as Ben' Nathan, who was terminated as a defendant in this matter. Defendant, Bassim Nathan's filed a first Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction[6] which was continued from October 15, 2014 on Plaintiff's motion and reset for submission on December 3, 2014.[7] Plaintiff failed to timely file an opposition in accordance with Local Rule 7.5. Accordingly, on December 4, 2014, the Court granted the Motion to Dismiss as unopposed, [8] explicitly directing Plaintiffs to file any motion for reconsideration within thirty (30) days. Instead, on January 5, 2015, Plaintiff filed a response to the Motion to Dismiss.[9] Defendant filed the instant successive motion and additionally, moved to strike Plaintiff's late opposition.[10] On May 21, 2015, the Court dismissed the Motion to Strike and set the Second Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction for submission on June 10, 2015, allowing Plaintiffs a second opportunity to timely and properly oppose the Motion to Dismiss.[11] PlaintiffS failed to do so.[12] The Court, though not required, considers the merits of the Second Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, in light of the arguments raised in Plaintiffs' late opposition response.

III. CONTENTIONS OF THE MOVANT

Defendant, Bassim Nathan, contends that he has never done business as Uniforms4Women'. Defendant acknowledges that Uniforms4Women' is a trade name of Telisman Sales, Inc., a Texas corporation by which Defendant is employed.[13] Defendant argues that he lacks the requisite minimum contacts with the State of Louisiana to support the exercise of general or specific jurisdiction in this matter.[14]

Defendant maintains that the fiduciary shield doctrine protects him from being haled to this jurisdiction. Defendant claims that, solely in his capacity as Vice President and employee of Telisman, he met with representatives of Plaintiffs in Louisiana and communicated with Plaintiffs regarding the alleged contract underlying Plaintiffs' claims.[15] Defendant argues that he did not meet or communicate with Plaintiffs in his individual capacity.[16] Defendant, a resident of Dallas, Texas, contends that he has not conducted business in Louisiana in his individual capacity, or had other contacts with Louisiana in his individual capacity, that would be sufficient to subject him to this Court's jurisdiction.[17]

IV. CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENT

Plaintiffs maintain that specific personal jurisdiction can be exercised over Defendant in this case. Plaintiffs do not dispute Nathan is a nonresident defendant. However, Plaintiffs maintain that the fiduciary shield doctrine has not been expressly adopted or applied by the Louisiana Supreme Court.[18] Further, Plaintiffs urge that the doctrine does not preclude the ...


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