United States District Court, E.D. California
case arises from a contract that the parties allegedly formed
in Switzerland concerning the creation of a commission tasked
with organizing and planning the skateboarding events for the
2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Defendants International
Skateboarding Federation (“ISF”) and Gary Ream
move to dismiss the complaint brought by plaintiff World
Skateboarding Federation, Inc. (“WSF”) for lack
of jurisdiction. ECF No. 4. Plaintiff opposes. ECF No. 22.
The court held a motion hearing on November 4, 2016, at which
Karra Porter and Phillip Lowry appeared for plaintiff, and
John Poulos and Richard Wickersham appeared for defendants.
ECF No. 27. For the following reasons, the court GRANTS
prior to 2006, the International Olympic Committee
(“IOC”) began exploring the possibility of
bringing skateboarding to the Olympics. Compl. ¶ 13.
Years later, as the IOC actually considered including
skateboarding in the 2020 Olympic Games, it invited
“key stakeholders” into discussions, including
plaintiff WSF and defendant ISF. Id. ¶ 17.
WSF's principal and founder, Tim McFerran, is a luminary
in the skateboarding industry, and has led efforts to expand
competitive skateboarding across the world. Id.
¶¶ 25-47. By May 2015, of the key stakeholders WSF
was the largest and most active federation for skateboarding.
Id. ¶ 36. ISF, on the other hand, was formed by
Ream in 2003, and the organization was largely inactive
through the end of 2014. Id. ¶ 49. In 2009,
Ream called McFerran and introduced himself as the President
of ISF, id. ¶ 50; he told McFerran that his
personal friend, Christophe Dubi was now the IOC Olympic
Games Executive Director and was going to help Ream get
skateboarding recognized in the 2012 Olympic Games,
id. ¶¶ 50, 87. In the same conversation,
Ream requested that McFerran pay Ream $200, 000 for ISF to
sanction an international skateboarding event organized by
McFerran. Id. ¶ 50. When McFerran refused to
pay, Ream told McFerran he would ensure McFerran was not a
part of the Olympic Games unless he agreed to pay the $200,
000 fee. Id.
and 2015, McFerran and Ream engaged in discussions separately
with the IOC to bring skateboarding to the 2020 Olympic
Games. See Id . ¶¶ 74-75. During this
time, Ream and ISF held multiple meetings in California. In
January 2015, in southern California, ISF held an
invitation-only meeting with members of the skateboarding
industry. Id. ¶ 53. At that meeting Ream
bragged about his special relationship with IOC Executive
Director Dubi, and suggested that Dubi was helping him make
ISF the official organizer for skateboarding at the 2020
Olympic Games. Id. ¶ 93. In February 2015, in
Los Angeles, the IOC attended a meeting with ISF board
members that ISF described as an “emergency”
meeting to discuss bringing skateboarding to the 2020 Olympic
Games. Id. ¶ 75. In March 2015, again in Los
Angeles, ISF held an additional invitation-only meeting, this
time with associates of Ream. Id. ¶ 55.
March 11, 2015, in Switzerland, the IOC's Sports Director
told ISF and WSF they would have to work together for
skateboarding to be included on the 2020 Olympic Games
program. Id. ¶¶ 17, 24, 76. The same
month, in Turkey, an IOC representative reported that
“were it not for McFerran, skateboarding would not be
considered for the 2020 Olympic Games.” Id.
¶ 80. Around that time, Ream began falsely claiming to
third parties that the IOC had selected ISF as the
International Federation, meaning the sole organizer, for
skateboarding in order to gain favor within the skateboarding
industry. Id. ¶¶ 84, 89.
March 15, 2016, the IOC invited McFerran and Ream to a
meeting in Switzerland, where WSF and ISF entered into an
agreement to create a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Skateboarding
Commission (“Commission”) for the purpose of
organizing and planning the skateboarding events for the 2020
Olympic Games. Id. ¶ 106. The IOC appointed
Ream as Chairman of the Commission, id. ¶ 107,
told McFerran he was to be an active participant in the
leadership, id. ¶ 116, and told Ream he would
have to put the interests of the Commission above those of
ISF, id. ¶ 107. One of McFerran's duties as
a member of the Commission, a duty he was assigned by the
IOC, was to develop a list of contests and qualifying events.
Id. ¶ 116. The IOC also told McFerran it was a
“good idea” for WSF to be the point organization
for the Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games.
Id. Relying on the agreement to create the
Commission as well as the IOC's promises, McFerran
continued to incur expenses, id. ¶ 113, and
began negotiating and signing contracts with foreign
governments regarding events that would be qualifiers for the
2020 Olympic Games, id. ¶ 117.
9, 2016, Ream and the IOC circulated a draft memorandum of
understanding meant to memorialize the agreement WSF and ISF
entered into on March 15, 2016. Id. ¶ 120. The
draft did not identify WSF as a member of the Commission.
12, 2016, the IOC told McFerran to meet the next day with
Ream in Anaheim, California, where Ream was attending a
skateboarding conference. Id. ¶ 121. It is
unclear from the complaint whether McFerran attended this
conference or met with Ream. What is clear from the
complaint, however, is WSF's contention that Ream
leveraged his personal relationship with IOC Executive
Director Dubi to position ISF as the sole organizer of
skateboarding events for the Olympic Games, to the detriment
of WSF and McFerran. See ¶¶ 88-95. As a
result, on May 30, 2016, the IOC held a meeting with ISF
without inviting WSF, where the IOC and ISF agreed to a
memorandum of understanding that excluded WSF from the
Commission. Id. ¶¶ 126-28.
28, 2016, WSF filed a complaint against ISF and Gary Ream in
the Superior Court of California, Placer County, in which it
pleads the following: (1) Breach of Contract (defendant ISF),
id. ¶¶ 140-46; (2) Breach of the Implied
Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing (defendant ISF),
id. ¶¶ 147-55; (3) Unfair Competition and
Unfair Business Practices (all defendants), id.
¶¶ 156-64; (4) for declaratory relief, id.
¶¶ 165-68; (5) for an injunction, id.
¶¶ 169-75; and (6) breach of fiduciary duty (all
defendants), id. ¶¶ 176-83.
August 29, 2016, WSF removed the case to this court. ECF No.
1. The next day, on August 30, defendants filed a motion to
dismiss, alleging the court lacks jurisdiction. Defs.'
Mot. to Dismiss (“Defs.' MTD”) at 5-8, ECF
No. 4-1. WSF opposes, Pl.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 22, and
defendants replied, ECF No. 24. For the following reasons,
the court grants defendants' motion to dismiss for lack
argue they are not subject to the jurisdiction of this court
because defendants and the alleged contract formed in
Switzerland do not have the requisite contacts with
California. Defs.' MTD at 5-8. Alternatively, defendants
seek to join necessary parties, id. at 8-11; request
that plaintiff file an amended complaint with a more definite
statement, id. at 11-13; and/or provide an amended
complaint that strikes immaterial, impertinent, and
scandalous allegations, id. at 13-14. The court
reaches only the threshold jurisdictional question at this
argue WSF's claims must be dismissed because this court
lacks general and specific personal jurisdiction. Defs.'
MTD at 5-8. Plaintiff responds that the complaint,
supplemented by McFerran's supporting declaration in
opposition, sets forth sufficient contacts ...