United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division
R. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
August 8, 2019, the Court conducted a telephonic hearing to
address Flexsteel's Motion to Compel Jurisdictional
Discovery, ECF No. 108, and Defendant Golsun's Response
in Opposition. ECF No. 111. For the reasons discussed on the
record at the hearing, which are fully incorporated into this
order, and as summarized below, Flexsteel's Motion to
Compel Jurisdictional Discovery is due to be granted to the
extent detailed in this order.
motion relates to the Court's previous ruling authorizing
Flexsteel to conduct jurisdictional discovery from Golsun
before Golsun may renew its motion to dismiss for lack of
March 31, 2019, the Court denied Golsun's motion to
dismiss without prejudice so that Flexsteel could conduct
jurisdictional discovery before Golsun renewed its motion to
dismiss. ECF No. 98. Flexsteel submitted to the Court a plan
for the proposed jurisdictional discovery, which the Court
adopted and approved on April 9, 2019. ECF No. 100. The plan
envisioned by the Court at that time required Flexsteel to
serve the written discovery requests within 5 days and then
Golsun would respond to the written discovery requests within
30 days. Flexsteel was then required to complete the
depositions of the Golsun witnesses within 60 days after
Flexsteel received Golsun's document production. The
deadline to complete jurisdictional discovery under this plan
was August 1, 2019. That has not happened, however, because a
dispute arose concerning Golsun's objections to some of
Flexsteel's written discovery requests. The parties
attempted to resolve their difference through meet and
confers but were unsuccessful, thus prompting the filing of
the motion to compel jurisdictional discovery.
main disagreements between the parties concern the following:
(1) whether Golsun must produce documents concerning its
United States and Florida activities after August 19, 2016,
the date the complaint was filed in this case; (2) whether
Golsun must produce passport information concerning travel in
the United States by Golsun employees and representatives;
(3) whether Golsun must respond to Flexsteel's
interrogatory no. 7; (4) whether Golsun must produce drafts
of contracts, distributorship agreements, or sales agreements
that were not executed and concern sales territories outside
the United States; and (5) the location of the depositions
Flexsteel will conduct after written discovery is completed.
first to the issue of whether Golsun must produce documents
post-dating the filing of the complaint in this case,
Flexsteel asserts that information about Golsun's
activities in the United States during the last three years
is important for determining personal jurisdiction. Flexsteel
says that its claims in this case concern not only the
misappropriation of its technology but Golsun's ongoing
and continuing use of the misappropriated technology. Thus,
according to Flexsteel, because the claims in this case
involve continuing tortious behavior post-complaint
activities are relevant to personal jurisdiction.
looks at Flexsteel's claims much more narrowly. Golsun
argues that the misappropriation claims in this case concern
the single onetime misappropriation of Flexsteel's
technology when a Chinese patent was obtained in 2008 and
then when a U.S. patent was obtained in 2015.
Court explained at the hearing, the Court concludes that
Golsun's post-complaint activities are relevant to the
issues the Court must consider in resolving the motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. For example, in
assessing the due process prong of the personal
jurisdictional analysis the Court must assess, among other
considerations, whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction
comports with “traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.” Burger King Corp. v.
Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474-75 (1985). Certainly,
purposeful contacts with Florida and the nature of
Golsun's activities in the United States, if any, during
the last three years would be instructive as to whether
forcing Golsun to defend this suit in the United States would
offend these types of considerations.
claims in this case are not as narrow as Golsun suggests.
There is little dispute that Flexsteel's complaint in
this case is not just that its technology was misappropriated
but that Golsun continues to use the technology in
competition with Flexsteel. For that reason, in addition to
other relief, Flexsteel requests injunctive relief to stop
Golsun from using the technology. Where, as here, the claims
concern alleged ongoing harm, other courts have considered
post-complaint activity as relevant to the issue of personal
jurisdiction. See, e.g. Beverly Hills Fan Co. v. Royal
Sovereign Corp., 21 F.3d 1558, 1562 (Fed. Cir. 1994);
OnAsset Intelligence, Inc. v. 7PSolutions, LLC., No.
3:12-cv-3709-N, 2013 WL 12125993, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 21,
these reasons, Flexsteel's motion to compel Golsun to
produce documents post-dating the filing of the complaint is
due to be granted. Golsun must produce documents concerning
its activities after August 19, 2016.
the dispute about travel in the United States by Golsun
employees, Flexsteel says that Golsun only produced documents
evidencing some trips to the United States and Florida by
Golsun's CEO, Mr. Li but did not produce any documents
concerning other trips by Mr. Li or any documents evidencing
trips by other Golsun officers, employees or agents.
Flexsteel requests that to remedy this deficiency the Court
should require Golsun to produce the passport stamp pages
from these officers and employees.
says that it cannot force employees to produce their
passports, and in any event, stamps on a passport would not
identify whether a trip is for business or personal reasons.
Personal trips by Golsun employees, unrelated to any business
purpose, would of course not be relevant to the determination
of whether Golsun is subject to personal jurisdiction.
the Court agrees that Golsun is not required to produce to
Flexsteel the passport stamp pages from its employees'
passports, the passport stamp pages would provide the best
check on the dates and locations of any trips to the United
States. Accordingly, counsel for Golsun is directed to obtain
(but not produce) the passport stamp pages for Golsun
employees, who have traveled to the United States. Counsel
must then obtain and produce all documents from Golsun
evidencing the expenses for the trips for any travel
identified on the passport stamp pages. To the extent travel
is identified on the passport stamp pages, and the travel is
for Golsun business purpose but Golsun does not have
documents evidencing the expenses for the trips, Golsun must
advise Flexsteel of the date(s) and location(s) of the
business trip(s) and that Golsun does not have any