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Delorme Publishing Co. Inc. v. Briartek, Inc.

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

July 28, 2014

DELORME PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC., and DELORME INREACH, LLC, Plaintiffs
v.
BRIARTEK, INC., and LEWIS CRENSHAW, III, Defendants

ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

Hon. Roland A. Cole, Superior Court Justice.

Before the court is the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiffs' Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Maine Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). This court held a non-testimonial hearing on the Defendants' Motion. The Plaintiffs have opposed the Defendants' Motion, and have asked that the Motion either be denied or that the Plaintiffs be permitted to conduct jurisdictional discovery prior to the resolution of the Motion.

The Plaintiffs' Complaint claims that the Defendants have misappropriated one or more of the Plaintiffs' trade secrets in violation of (1) the Maine Uniform Trade Secrets Act, 10 M.R.S.A. § 1541, et seq., and (2) the Virginia Uniform Trade Secrets Act, V.C.A. § 59.1-336.

Factual and Procedural Background:

DeLorme Publishing Company, Inc. and DeLorme InReach, LLC (collectively " DeLorme") are both Maine companies with their principal places of business in Yarmouth, Maine.

Defendant BriarTek, Inc. (" BriarTek") is a Virginia company with its principal place of business in Alexandria, Virginia. Defendant Lewis Crenshaw, III was BriarTek's director of engineering during the periods pertinent to the Plaintiffs' Complaint, and he is a resident of Norfolk, Virginia.

DeLorme and BriarTek are competitors in the same industry. Both DeLorme and BriarTek sell satellite emergency notification devises, and both companies use Iridium Satellite, Inc.'s (" Iridium") satellite network.[1] DeLorme-is alleging that Crenshaw and BriarTek obtained trade secrets concerning DeLorme from Iridium (a Virginia corporation) through improper means that resulted in a breach of duty on the part of Iridium.[2] More specifically, DeLorme has alleged that BriarTek disclosed in a filing in federal court that Crenshaw wrote to Iridium seeking informing regarding sales of DeLorme's inReach device.[3] The trade secrets at issue appear to concern the Iridium satellite modem, sales information, and the business relationship between DeLorme and Iridium.

DeLorme and BriarTek and BriarTek, IP Inc. (a non-party to this action) have been involved in litigation with one another in federal court. In its declaratory judgment action before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Plaintiff originally attempted to amend its Complaint against BriarTek and BriarTek IP, Inc. to include a claim that BriarTek and Crenshaw violated Virginia's Uniform Trade Secrets Act, but the court denied such amendment.

Standard:

Maine law allows the court " to assert jurisdiction over nonresident defendants to the fullest extent permitted by the due process clause of the United States Constitution, 14th amendment." 14 M.R.S. § 704-A. The Statute also provides that:

Any person, whether or not a citizen or resident of this State, who in person or through an agent does any of the acts hereinafter enumerated in this section, thereby submits such person, and, if an individual, his personal representative, to the jurisdiction of the courts of this State as to any cause of action arising from the doing of any of such acts: ...
Doing or causing a tortious act to be done, or causing the consequences of a tortious act to occur within this State;

14 M.R.S.A. § 704-A(2)(B).

In order to exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant the ...


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