United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING
IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [DKT. NO. 14] AND
TRANSFERRING CASE TO DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge.
Paul Joseph Izzo (“Plaintiff” or
“Izzo”) brings this action for age discrimination
pursuant to Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967,
codified at, 29 U.S.C §§ 621 - 634
(“ADEA”), and the Connecticut Fair Employment
Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60, et seq.,
(“CFEPA”). He alleges that Defendant Sandy
Alexander Inc., (“SA” or “Defendant”)
deprived him of commissions because he is over 40 years of
age and that SA retaliated against him by terminating him
after he complained of discrimination. Defendant has moved to
dismiss this action for lack of personal jurisdiction,
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). (Dkt.
No. 14). The Plaintiff opposes this motion. (Dkt. No. 15).
For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction is GRANTED IN PART AND
DENIED IN PART, and the Court transfers this case to the
District of New Jersey.
Paul Joseph Izzo, is a 66-year-old male and a resident of
Newtown, Connecticut. (Compl. ¶ 2). From September 18,
2014 until August 19, 2015, Plaintiff worked for SA as a
“Sales and Marketing Executive.” (Compl.
¶¶ 2, 14). SA is a corporation that is incorporated
in Delaware and has its principle place of business in
Clifton, New Jersey. (Dkt. 14-1 at 2). SA is a large printing
company, which Plaintiff claims employs over 400 employees
across the United States. (Compl. ¶ 13). Plaintiff
contends that an unspecified number of these employees work
out of home offices in Connecticut. (Compl. ¶ 13).
Graff (“Graff”) is the Chief Executive Officer
(“CEO”) at SA. (Compl. ¶ 11). Plaintiff
alleges that Graff was originally interested in hiring
Plaintiff because of Plaintiff's established clientele
and accounts. (Compl. ¶ 15). During Plaintiff's term
of employment at SA, Plaintiff claims that he worked
primarily out of his home office in Newtown, Connecticut and
that he sold specialty printing services and products for SA
to corporate clients in Connecticut and other states. (Compl.
¶ 17; Dkt. 15 at 2). The Connecticut based companies
that Plaintiff worked with during his employment at SA
include but are not limited to: Ann Taylor, World Wrestling
Entertainment (“WWE”), Mitchell's, Phillips
Consumer in Stamford, Conair in Greenwich, Subway in Milford,
MBI in Norwalk, Epsilon Agency in Wilton, Metlife in North
Haven, Marlin Company in Wallingford, Swiss Army in Monroe,
Breiltling Watch USA in Wilton, Raveis, Logic Source Inc., in
Norwalk, Nestle Waters in Stamford, and Adare Inc., in
Ridgefield (Dkt. 15-2 at 4, 12, 15-17, 19, 22).
has attached evidence including invoices and travel
reimbursements, which suggest that SA had some business ties
to Connecticut. These invoices include eight purchase orders
from WWE. (Dkt. 15-2 at 27-34). Additionally, the submitted
reimbursement requests and approvals for travel indicate
Plaintiff was on “sales calls” and had meals with
clients in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Florida.
(Dkt. 15-2 at 15-22).
Plaintiff claims that he worked from home in Connecticut, he
required a partner to help manage duties at the New Jersey
facility. (Compl. ¶¶ 21, 22). Nicholas Stillo
(“Stillo”), who is approximately ten years
younger than Plaintiff, served as Plaintiff's partner.
(Compl. ¶¶ 21, 22, 25). Plaintiff and Stillo agreed
to split commissions evenly, and Graff approved of the joint
account agreement. (Compl. ¶¶ 22-23).
Defendant moves to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2), arguing
that its contacts with Connecticut are too tenuous to subject
it to this Court's jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 14).
action should be dismissed if the Court lacks personal
jurisdiction over a party. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(2). “When responding to a Rule 12(b)(2) motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff
bears the burden of establishing that the Court has
jurisdiction over the defendant.” Am. Wholesalers
Underwriting. Ltd. V. AM. Wholesale Ins. Gro., Inc., 312
F.Supp.2d 247, 251 (D. Conn. 2004) (citing Robinson v.
Overseas Military Sales Corp., 21 F.3d 502, 507 (2d Cir.
1994)). “Prior to discovery, a plaintiff may defeat a
motion to dismiss based on legally sufficient allegations of
jurisdiction and by making a prima facie case of
jurisdiction.” Id. (citing, Ball v.
Metallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt, S.A., 902 F.2d 194, 197
(2d Cir. 1990)). To establish a prima facie case of personal
jurisdiction, a plaintiff must: (1) allege facts sufficient
to show that the forum state's long-arm statute reaches a
defendant; and (2) establish that the court's exercise of
jurisdiction will not violate due process. Id.;
Chirag v. MT Marida Marguerite
Schiffarhrts, 933 F.Supp.2d 349, 352 (D. Conn. 2013),
aff'd, 604 Fed.App'x. 16 (2d Cir 2015).
“When considering a Rule 12(b)(2) motion, the court
construes any factual averments and resolves all doubts in
the plaintiff's favor” Am. Wholesalers
Underwriting, 312 F.Supp.2d at 251 (citing CutCo
Indus., Inc., v. Naughton, 806 F.2d 361, 365 (2d Cir.
1986)). All undisputed facts in the complaint are accepted as
true and where facts are contested, the court is to draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Madara
v. Hall, 916 F.2d 1510, 1514 (11th Cir. 1990).
Court first addresses whether Connecticut's long-arm
statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 33-929(f) reaches SA. The
long-arm statute provides:
Every foreign corporation shall be subject to suit in this
state, by a resident of this state or by a person having a
usual place of business in this state, whether or not such
foreign corporation is transacting or has transacted business
in this state and whether or not it is engaged exclusively in