United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND/CORRECT COMPLAINT
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Thomas Hamann, purchases and sells high-end motor vehicles in
the State of Connecticut. Compl., ECF No. 1-1, ¶ 1.
Defendants are Stuart Carpenter, owner of Copley Motorcars
Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts (“Mr.
Carpenter”), and Leslie Wexner (“Mr.
Wexner”), for whom Mr. Carpenter acted as an agent.
Id. at ¶ 3. Mr. Hamann claims that Mr.
Carpenter tortiously interfered with a contract expectancy,
and that he did so while acting as Mr. Wexner's agent,
making Mr. Wexner liable for Mr. Carpenter's actions
under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Defendants have
moved to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds that this Court
lacks jurisdiction over them. See ECF No. 10. Mr.
Hamann has also moved to amend his complaint to add Mr.
Carpenter's company, Copley Motorcars
(“Copley”), as a Defendant. See Mot. to
Amend, ECF No. 28. Defendants opposed his motion, arguing
that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Copley as well.
See Def.'s Opp. Mem., ECF No. 31. The Court
agrees with the Defendants.
Hamann has not sufficiently alleged that jurisdiction over
either Defendant or Copley is appropriate under
Connecticut's long-arm statute. Furthermore, Mr. Hamann
has not alleged that Defendants had the “minimum
contacts” with Connecticut that are required for this
Court to establish jurisdiction under the Due Process Clause.
Defendants' motion to dismiss the Complaint is GRANTED
and Mr. Hamann's motion to amend the Complaint is DENIED.
Hamann purchases and sells high-end motor vehicles in
Connecticut. Compl. ¶ 1. He alleges that he was the
exclusive agent for the sale of a 1953 Ferrari 375MM
Pininfarina Spyder, Chassis No. 0360AM (“the
Ferrari”) on behalf of a Milanese seller named Vincenzo
Scandurra. Id. at ¶ 2; see also
Exclusive Agency Agreement (undated), Pls.'s Surreply
Brief., Ex. C, ECF No. 24-1. The Ferarri was originally part
of the collection of Emilio Gnutti in Brescia, Italy. Compl.
¶ 9. At some point, Vincenzo Scandurra had agreed to
purchase the Ferarri from Gnutti and paid a deposit.
Id. at ¶ 10. Scandurra allegedly communicated
with the Plaintiff about selling the car and told Mr. Hamann
that he intended to sell the Ferarri and wanted to sell it
very quickly. Id. at ¶ 12.
21, 2013, Mr. Hamann allegedly offered to sell the Ferarri to
Mr. Carpenter for a purchase price of $15 million.
Id. at ¶ 5. Mr. Carpenter declined the offer on
behalf of himself and Mr. Wexner. Id. at ¶ 8.
Mr. Hamann allegedly informed Mr. Carpenter, “via
e-mails and via conversations, ” that he was the
exclusive sales agent for the Ferarri. Id. at ¶
point, Mr. Hamann “secured an offer” of $10.5
million for the vehicle and Vincenzo Scandura instructed him
to complete the sale. Id. at ¶ 13. Mr. Hamann
arranged for his client to send a deposit of two million Euro
on August, 29, 2013. Id. at ¶14. On or about
August 30, 2013, Mr. Hamann learned from Mr. Scandurra that a
third party, the owner of a Ferarri dealership in Milan,
Italy, had offered to purchase the car from Gnutti for $12.5
million. Id. at ¶ 16. A U.S. based car dealer
was allegedly involved in this transaction. Id. at
¶ 17. Plaintiff alleges that this dealer was Defendant
Carpenter, acting on behalf of Defendant Wexler. Id.
at ¶ 18.
after learning about the new purchaser from Mr. Scandurra,
Mr. Hamann sent several e-mails to Mr. Carpenter
“advising him that [Mr. Hamann] had the car under
contract with a deposit on the way.” Id. at
¶¶ 19-20. He also contacted Mr. Carpenter's
assistant at his dealership, Copley Motors. Id. at
¶ 21. The assistant promised to notify Mr. Carpenter
about the problem. Id. at ¶ 22. Eventually, Mr.
Carpenter responded to say that he did not think that Mr.
Hamann had exclusive sales rights to the vehicle because
“seven other dealers would have offered him the car
after plaintiff for the same price.” Id. at
¶ 25. Mr. Hamann alleges that Mr. Carpenter acted
“with a reckless indifference to [Mr. Hamann's]
contractual rights.” Id. at ¶ 30. He
claims that he lost a commission of €55, 000 as a result
of Mr. Carpenter's allegedly tortious actions.
Id. at ¶ 29.
Hamann alleges that “at all times relevant to the
complaint and for many years before and since, [Mr.]
Carpenter has engaged in business in Connecticut.”
Compl. ¶ 5. He adds in his response that:
1. Carpenter has purchased vehicles in Connecticut for many
years, doing business with multiple businesses in Connecticut
including but not limited to Wayne Carini, owner of F40
Motorsports, Portland, Connecticut, Ted Johnson, Joseph
Amodio, owner of International Motorcars, Southington,
2. On the website of his company, Carpenter advertises that
he can ‘arrange for a lease for any of the classics or
Defenders in our inventory. We collaborate exclusively with
Putnam Leasing Company of Greenwich, Connecticut. …As
the owner and operator of Copley Motorcars, … you are
dealing with a small company whose principal - me - is
involved day-to-day, … I am the sales department, the
leasing department, and the complaint department.'
Pl.'s Reponse, ECF No. 16, at 5, citing Website,
Pl.'s Response, Ex. B. On May 20, 2016, Mr. Hamann sought
to amend his complaint to add Copley Motorcars
(“Copley”) as a Defendant. See Mot. to
Amend, ECF No. 27. Defendants have moved to dismiss Mr.
Hamann's case, arguing that the Court lacks jurisdiction
over the original Defendants. Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 10.
They have also opposed Mr. Hamann's motion to amend,
arguing that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Copley as
well. Def.'s Opp. Mem., ECF No. 31.
Standard of Review
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of showing that
the court has jurisdiction over the defendant. DiStefano
v. Carozzi N. Am., Inc., 286 F.3d 81, 84 (2d Cir. 2001).
Prior to discovery, a plaintiff challenged by a jurisdiction
testing motion may defeat the motion by pleading in good
faith legally sufficient allegations of jurisdiction. At that
preliminary stage, the plaintiff's prima facie showing
may be established solely by allegations. Ball v.
Metallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt, 902 F.2d 194, 197 (2d Cir.
Court must accept all undisputed factual allegations for the
purpose of determining personal jurisdiction. Pitruzello
v. Muro, 70 Conn.App. 309, 314-15 (2002). However, if a
plaintiff's factual allegations are disputed the Court
cannot “avoid scrutiny of the plaintiff's affidavit
to determine whether it [can] provide a sufficient basis for
the court to assume … jurisdiction.”
Id. (approving of a trial court's decision not
to exercise jurisdiction over a defendant because even though
plaintiff's allegations, “standing alone, might
have provided a basis for assuming personal jurisdiction,
” they “were not supported by [the
plaintiff's] affidavit and [had] been contradicted by
[the defendant's] affidavit”); see also Chirag
v. MT Marida Marguerite Schiffahrts, 604 F. App'x
16, 19 (2d Cir. 2015) (“A prima facie case requires
non-conclusory fact-specific allegations or evidence showing
that activity that constitutes the basis of jurisdiction has
taken place.”); Daventree Ltd. v. Republic of
Azer.,349 F.Supp.2d 736, 757 (S.D.N.Y. 2004)
(“The court accepts plaintiffs' allegations of
jurisdictional facts and will construe all factual inferences