United States District Court, D. Maine
DECISION AND ORDER ON PENDING MOTIONS
BROCK HORNBY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff Gary Auritt filed this federal lawsuit against his
divorced spouse, Shannon Auritt, her mother, Kathleen
Hamilton, and a Florida limited liability company, Take A
Shower LLC. The original complaint contained two federal
counts and two state counts. The federal counts asserted that
the defendants violated federal unfair competition law under
15 U.S.C. § 1125(A)&(D), and requested federal
declaratory relief that the plaintiff is the owner of a
particular trademark. The state counts asserted violations of
Maine unfair competition law under 10 M.R.S. § 1212 and
Maine trademark or trade name dilution law under 10 M.R.S.
§ 1530. Compl. ¶¶ 41-56 (ECF No. 1). The three
defendants moved to dismiss on a variety of grounds.
Hamilton and Take A Shower LLC moved to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction; they provided affidavits asserting
their lack of contacts with Maine. (See ECF Nos. 29
& 30.) The plaintiff did not respond to the motions or
the affidavits. Instead, the plaintiff moved to amend his
complaint. (ECF No. 37).
proposed amended complaint (ECF No. 36) does contain more
allegations about Maine contacts by those two defendants. But
such allegations are insufficient. First Circuit law is clear
that under the prima facie standard of determining
personal jurisdiction, “the inquiry is whether the
plaintiff has proffered evidence which, if credited,
is sufficient to support findings of all facts essential to
personal jurisdiction.” Bluetarp Financial, Inc. v.
Matrix Const. Co., Inc., 709 F.3d 72, 79 (1st Cir. 2013)
(quoting Phillips v. Prairie Eye Ctr., 530 F.3d 22,
26 (1st Cir. 2008)) (emphasis added). A plaintiff “must
go beyond the pleadings and make affirmative
proof.” United Elec. Radio and Mach. Workers
of America (UE) v. 163 Pleasant Street Corp., 987 F.2d
39, 44 (1st Cir. 1993) (emphasis added) (internal citations
and quotations omitted). In making the prima facie
determination, the district court “accepts properly
supported proffers of evidence by a plaintiff as true
and makes its ruling as a matter of law.” Id.
(emphasis added) (internal citations omitted). Moreover,
“[t]o the extent that they are uncontradicted, we add
into the mix the facts put forward by the defendant.”
Bluetarp Financial, 709 F.3d at 79 (internal
the plaintiff has given me no evidentiary proffer whatsoever
in response to the defendants' motions to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction. Moreover, the defendants'
affidavits denying sufficient personal contacts with Maine
are uncontradicted. Under these circumstances, I have no
alternative but to Grant the motions to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
to Amend Complaint
the plaintiff's motion to amend complaint as against the
remaining defendant Shannon Auritt, the divorced spouse.
There is no undue delay or prejudice. The defendant argues
that I should nevertheless deny the amendment as futile.
Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. at 6 (ECF No. 38). I
reject that argument, but I proceed to consider the
defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings and for
dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction insofar as
the motion applies to the Amended Complaint.
for Judgment on the Pleadings
gist of the defendant Shannon Auritt's motion for
judgment on the pleadings is that the plaintiff is really
complaining about actions Take A Shower LLC, the corporate
defendant, took, and that anything Shannon Auritt did was
“done by way of her involvement with the LLC” and
nothing individually. Def.'s Mot. for J. on the Pleadings
(Def.'s Mot.) at 7 (ECF No. 23).
Amended Complaint alleges that “Shannon Auritt in her
individual capacity used Defendant Take a Shower LLC as a way
to fraudulently make money in the shower head business. . .
., ” Am. Compl. ¶ 43, and that
“[e]ssentially, Defendant Take A Shower LLC is a sham
limited liability company set up to allow Defendant Shannon
Auritt to run the shower head business through her mother . .
. .” Id. ¶ 51; see also
¶¶ 54, 57 (containing similar accusations with
regard to “Shannon Auritt in her individual
capacity”). The plaintiff may or may not be able to
prove these assertions, but they are sufficient to withstand
the defendant Shannon Auritt's motion for judgment on the
to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter
defendant Shannon Auritt's argument for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction is based on the
which prohibits federal district courts from reviewing the
decisions of state courts, ” Def.'s Mot. at 8, and
on a District of Maine case that states that federal courts
are likewise prohibited from “exercising jurisdiction
over claims that are ‘inextricably intertwined'
with claims adjudicated in state court.” Id.
at 8-9 (quoting Chadwick v. Chadwick, 2003 WL
21369252, *3-5 (D. Me. June 12, 2003)). The defendant argues
that the Maine District Court's decisions in her divorce
proceedings are implicated in this lawsuit and therefore
deprive this court of jurisdiction. I disagree. The Maine
District Court certainly did make decisions about ...