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SKG International, Inc. v. SKG Italia, S.P.A.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 29, 2017

SKG International, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
SKG Italia, S.p.A., et al., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT BERNINI'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          Sean F. Cox United States District Court Judge

         Plaintiff SKG International, Inc. (“International”) filed this action against Defendants SKG Italia, S.p.A. (“Italia”) and Michele Bernini (“Bernini”) on December 30, 2016. International asserts several claims against Italia and asserts one claim against Bernini. In the pending Motion to Dismiss, Bernini asks the Court to dismiss the claim against him for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court finds that the issues have been adequately presented in the parties' briefs and that oral argument would not significantly aid the decisional process. See Local Rule 7.1(f)(2), U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. The Court therefore orders that the motion will be decided upon the briefs. For the reasons set forth below, the Court shall DENY the motion because Bernini's Counsel filed a general appearance in this action and, under binding Sixth Circuit precedent, that constitutes a waiver of personal jurisdiction.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff International filed this action against Defendants Italia and Bernini on December 30, 2016. International asserts several claims against Italia and asserts just one claim against Bernini, “Count IV - Breach of Fiduciary Duty.” On December 30, 2016, International also filed: 1) a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction; and 2) an Ex Parte Motion for Order Granting Expedited Hearing on that motion.

         On January 3, 2017, acting through counsel, Defendants Italia and Bernini filed a Brief in Opposition to International's Motion for Expedited Hearing, without raising a personal jurisdiction defense. (D.E. No. 7).

         On January 4, 2017, this Court issued a Notice to Appear for a Status Conference on January 9, 2017, and ordered that “Michele Bernini must attend this conference.” On January 5, 2017, attorney Robert Hertzberg entered a general appearance on behalf of both Italia and Bernini:

TO: CLERK OF THE COURT COUNSEL OF RECORD
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that Robert S. Hertzberg of Pepper Hamilton LLP hereby enters his appearance on behalf of the defendants SKG Italia, S.p.A. and Michele Bernini in the above captioned case.

(D.E. No. 12).

         After Counsel for Defendants contacted the Court and made the request, this Court issued a text-only order on January 5, 2017, indicating that Bernini could appear for the January 9thStatus Conference via telephone, which he did on January 9, 2017.

         The Court ultimately denied International's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction in an Opinion & Order issued on January 31, 2017.

         On March 2, 2017, Bernini filed the instant Motion to Dismiss, which is based on personal jurisdiction.

         ANALYSIS

         In his Motion to Dismiss, Bernini asks the Court to dismiss the sole count asserted against him in this action for ...


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