United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
WESTGATE PRODUCTS, LLC, WESTGATE CUPS, LTD, and WESTGATE PRINTING, LLC, Plaintiffs,
CAREY EDWARDS, Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS PLAINTIFFS' AMENDED COMPLAINT
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE
Westgate Products, LLC, Westgate Cups, Ltd., and Westgate
Printing, LLC filed this action alleging a variety of state
law claims against Defendant Carey Edwards. The court has
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Presently before
the court is Defendant's motion to dismiss
Plaintiffs' amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(3), asserting that he
is not subject to personal jurisdiction in Wisconsin and that
the Eastern District of Wisconsin is not a proper venue for
this action. For the following reasons, Defendant's
motion will be denied.
OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
Cups, Ltd., which operates its business as Westgate Products,
LLC, is a company that sells packaging, such as cups and food
buckets, to various food service customers. Am. Compl.
¶¶ 14-15, Dkt. No. 3. Westgate Printing is a
Wisconsin Limited Liability Company owned by Westgate Cups.
Id. ¶ 16.
2013, Defendant, who is domiciled in Missouri, began working
for Plaintiffs as an independent contractor in a sales
capacity. Id. ¶ 19. At that time, Plaintiffs
had operations in Wisconsin and Missouri, with four of its
six upper management employees located in Wisconsin. Patrick
Carroll Decl. ¶ 3, Dkt. No. 14. Although Defendant was
hired in a sales capacity, he also managed a Westgate
facility in Grandview, Missouri. Id. ¶ 5. All
plant staff at that facility reported to Defendant, and
Defendant reported to Patrick Carroll, who is Westgate
Cup's Chief Executive Officer and works out of
Plaintiffs' Oshkosh, Wisconsin facility. Id.
¶¶ 1, 5. Defendant was to provide services
exclusively on behalf of and for Plaintiffs' benefit.
Plaintiffs provided Defendant with a car as well as a credit
card to be used to further the services he was to provide
Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs terminated their agreement with
Defendant in May 2018. Am. Compl. ¶ 35.
termination of the agreement, Plaintiffs learned that
Defendant had used the Westgate credit card to pay for a
significant amount of personal or other use that was
unrelated to the work he provided for Plaintiffs and had not
been approved by Plaintiffs. Id. ¶ 36. For
instance, Defendant used the Westgate credit card to purchase
concert tickets to see Britney Spears, Florida Georgia Line,
Journey, Jason Aldean, Def Leppard, Nickelback, and Boston
and to attend sporting events such as Dallas Cowboys games,
St. Louis Cardinal games, and Kansas City Royals games.
Id. ¶¶ 48, 50. Defendant also charged $10,
765.57 to the Westgate credit card for expenses incurred at
gentlemen's clubs and casinos. Id. ¶¶
54, 56. Defendant used the Westgate credit card for luxury
party limousines; to repair his wife's BMW car; for
personal travel expenses related to vacations to Las Vegas,
the Dominican Republic, Florida, Colorado, California,
Cancun, and Canada; for first-class travel upgrades; for
personal dining; for personal moving expenses; for personal
gasoline expenses; and for personal computer software and
telephones. In all, Defendant charged $224, 925.01 for
personal expenses that were not authorized by Plaintiffs.
Id. ¶ 79.
also discovered that Defendant had engaged in self-dealing,
even though he was required to exclusively perform work for
Plaintiffs. Id. ¶ 37. In particular, Defendant
used non-Westgate email addresses to conduct business with
Plaintiffs' customers and vendors and only used his
Westgate email address to communicate internally with other
employees. Id. ¶¶ 38-39. Defendant also
executed contractual agreements between Plaintiffs and third
parties without Plaintiffs' knowledge or authorization.
Id. ¶ 42. Plaintiffs sustained damages as a
result of Defendant's conduct.
Defendant lived in Missouri while he provided services for
Plaintiffs, Defendant was in daily email and telephone
contact with those executives and employees that worked in
Wisconsin. Carroll Decl. ¶ 10. Defendant spoke with
Wisconsin-based executives and employees approximately five
to ten times in a normal business week. Id. ¶
11. He also emailed Wisconsin-based executives and employees
approximately 20 to 25 times each week. Id. ¶
asserts that the amended complaint should be dismissed for
lack of personal jurisdiction. Rule 12(b)(2) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions to dismiss for lack
of personal jurisdiction. Although the plaintiff has the
burden of proving personal jurisdiction, “the burden is
not a heavy one.” Burton v. Am. Cyanamid, 128
F.Supp.3d 1095, 1098 (E.D. Wis. 2015). In deciding whether
personal jurisdiction exists, the court must accept all
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and may
rely on affidavits, deposition testimony, exhibits, or other
evidence in the record. See Felland v. Clifton, 682
F.3d 665, 672 (7th Cir. 2012). The court must draw all
inferences from the record in favor of the plaintiff.
PKWare, Inc. v. Meade, 79 F.Supp.2d 1007, 1011 (E.D.
federal district court sitting in diversity must apply the
personal jurisdiction rules of the state in which it
sits.” Kipp v. Ski Enter. Corp. of Wis., Inc.,
783 F.3d 695, 697 (7th Cir. 2015). Under Wisconsin law, a
court must engage in a two-step inquiry to determine whether
it may exercise personal jurisdiction. First, the court must
determine whether the defendant is subject to jurisdiction
under Wisconsin's long-arm statute, Wis.Stat. §
801.05. See Kopke v. A. Hartrodt, S.R.L., 2001 WI
99, ¶ 8, 245 Wis.2d 396, 629 N.W.2d 662. If the
statutory requirements are satisfied, the court must then
decide whether the exercise of jurisdiction comports with the
requirements of due process. Id.
Wisconsin Long-Arm Statute
assert that the court has jurisdiction in this matter
pursuant to ...