United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Steven Whalen, Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING FLORIDA DEFENDANTS'
MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION [34, 35,
J. MICHELSON, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Prime Group sells beauty products on Amazon. This includes
LOMA hair-care essentials. But ABG is not an authorized
retailer of LOMA products. So once LOMA discovered its
products on ABG's Amazon.com store, LOMA filed a series
of complaints with Amazon. Twice the complaints led Amazon to
partially or totally suspend ABG's selling privileges. In
turn, ABG sued LOMA, seeking a declaratory judgment that it
did not infringe LOMA's trademark rights. Soon after,
LOMA counter-sued, alleging trademark infringement and false
designation of origin.
this case was entirely focused on LOMA's and ABG's
trademark dispute. But after LOMA counter-sued, ABG amended
its complaint to add new claims and new parties. The new
parties, Demosthenes Prodromitis, All Alliance, and Total
Image International, all reside in Florida (Florida
Defendants). ABG says the Florida Defendants and LOMA are
enmeshed in a vast, antitrust conspiracy designed to kick ABG
response, the Florida Defendants move to dismiss the amended
complaint for-among other things-a lack of personal
jurisdiction. As will be explained, the Court agrees.
and Adam Greenberg along with Bryan Acrich incorporated ABG
Prime, a Michigan LLC, to sell products on Amazon.
(PageID.148.) Amazon's platform permits
third-parties-like ABG Prime -to open the digital equivalent
of a brick-and-mortar shop. (PageID.149.) ABG's
third-party store at Amazon.com relies on Amazon's market
share and fulfilment capabilities to generate an average of
$10, 000 in daily revenue. (PageID.149-150.) Among the
products on its virtual shelves, ABG stocks LOMA hair-care
essentials. (PageID.153.) ABG lawfully purchases LOMA
shampoos, conditioners, and other hair-care products from a
distributor only to turn around and resell the identical,
unopened, and authentic product through its Amazon store.
March 2017, LOMA complained to Amazon about ABG's store.
According to LOMA's complaint, ABG's sale of LOMA
products infringed on LOMA's trademark rights.
(PageID.153.) Upon receiving the complaint, Amazon
temporarily shuttered ABG's store, just as LOMA intended.
(PageID.153, 156.) But Amazon policy requires a complainant
complete a “test buy”- a controlled purchase of
the allegedly infringing product to determine its
authenticity-prior to claiming trademark infringement.
(PageID.154.) LOMA had not completed a test buy prior to
filing its complaint, so LOMA withdrew the complaint and
Amazon permitted ABG to reopen. (PageID.154.)
reopened, ABG continued to sell LOMA products. And in the
months after LOMA withdrew its first complaint, LOMA
completed one test buy and then another. (PageID.154-155.)
And after both test buys, LOMA confirmed the products'
authenticity to ABG's lawyer. Id. LOMA again
complained to Amazon, but this time making a more general
claim that ABG was stealing LOMA's intellectual property.
(PageID.155.) Again Amazon closed ABG's store, but also
permanently barred ABG from selling LOMA products.
after its second suspension, ABG came to learn that All
Alliance Products was the only other third-party storefront
selling authentic LOMA goods on Amazon. (PageID.151.) ABG
came to suspect that this competitor conspired with LOMA to
stop it from selling LOMA goods. (Page.ID.151.) All Alliance
is owned by a Florida LLC registered to a Florida citizen
named Theo Prodromitis, the associate of yet a third
Floridian, Demosthenes Prodromitis. (PageID.151- 152.) ABG
found out about the Floridians after Amazon forwarded
LOMA's first complaint to ABG. The complaint appeared to
be written by Cimos Angelis, LOMA's lawyer. (PageID.153.)
But somehow ABG discovered that Demosthenes Prodromitis
actually wrote it. (PageID.153.) ABG also learned that
Angelis and Prodromitis have a friendship stretching back to
high school. (PageID.152.)
on all of the above, ABG thinks LOMA and Demosthenes
Prodromitis have conspired to expel ABG from Amazon.
(PageID.152, 165.) According to ABG, LOMA gives All Alliance
the exclusive right to sell LOMA products on Amazon.
(PageID.152, 164.) In return, All Alliance polices the
digital marketplace for unauthorized third-party retailers
like ABG. (PageID.164.) All Alliance reports offenders to
Angelis, and either Angelis or Prodromitis-as-Angelis
complain to Amazon. (PageID.165.) Complaining to Amazon
results in the third-party store temporarily losing its
selling privileges. (PageID.166.) And the suspension of
selling privileges eliminates competitors, specifically ABG.
ABG alleges LOMA's complaints were fraudulent. ABG points
to the early 2017 complaint Prodromitis-as-Angelis sent to
Amazon. (PageID.165.) That first complaint said ABG's
sales infringed on LOMA's trademark rights. (PageID.166.)
But LOMA's test buys confirmed ABG sold authentic LOMA
products. (PageID.156.) So in ABG's view LOMA had no
factual basis to accuse it of infringing, knew that the
accusation would or could result in ABG's suspension, and
yet made the accusation anyway. (PageID.156-57, 165.)
ABG's amended complaint added as defendants Demosthenes
Prodromitis, All Alliance, and Total Image International LLC,
all Florida residents. And the complaint alleges the Florida
Defendants participated in a fraud and a conspiracy to
violate antitrust laws.
response, the Florida defendants move to dismiss the amended
complaint for-among other things-want of personal