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Herman v. BRP, Inc.

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

April 13, 2015

CHARLES HERMAN. Plaintiff,
v.
BRP, INC., BRP US, INC., TELEFLEX CANADA LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, TELEFLEX CANADA, INC., KONGSBERG, INC. (F/K/A TELEFLEX MEGATECH, INC.), and KONGSBERG AUTOMOTIVE HOLDING ASA. Defendants.

On Defendant Kongsberg Automotive Holding ASA's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction.

Kevin J. Connors, Esquire, Attorney for Defendant Kongsberg Automotive Holding ASA.

Timothy E. Lengkeek, Esquire, Attorney for Plaintiff.

OPINION

SCOTT, J.

Defendant Kongsberg Automotive Holding ASA ("Kongsberg Holding") has moved to dismiss Plaintiff Charles Herman's ("Plaintiff") First Amended Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Del. Super. Ct. R. 12(b)(2) and based on Delaware's long-arm statute, 10 Del. C. § 3104(c). For the following reasons, Defendant Kongsberg Holding's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

Background

I. The Present Action

Plaintiff has alleged claims of strict products liability[1] and negligence against Defendants BRP, Inc. ("BRP"), BRP US, Inc. ("BRP US"), Teleflex Canada Limited Partnership ("Teleflex Canada"), Teleflex Canada, Inc. ("Teleflex"), Kongsberg, Inc. (f/k/a Teleflex Megatech, Inc.) ("Kongsberg"), and Kongsberg Holding. Plaintiff's Complaint is based upon personal injuries Plaintiff allegedly sustained as a result of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on August 8, 2012 in Sturgis, South Dakota. Plaintiff alleges that while participating in a test drive of a 2012 Can-Am Spyder Roadster, which was then owned by Defendant BRP US, the vehicle and/or its steering mechanism malfunctioned or failed to turn, causing it to run off the road and crash. Defendants Kongsberg Holding and Kongsberg each filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction on April 10, 2014.

On July 10, 2014, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint, which brings the same causes of action as the original Complaint. To address the jurisdiction issue, Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint alleges that Kongsberg Holding and Kongsberg have consented to jurisdiction or waived any jurisdictional challenge, or alternatively, have sufficient minimum contacts with Delaware to comport with 10 Del. C. § 3104 and Constitutional Due Process. On September 12, 2014, Defendants Kongsberg Holding and Kongsberg each filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint pursuant to Superior Court Rule 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction.[2]

Plaintiff is a resident of North Carolina. Defendant Kongsberg Holding is a non-operational Norwegian holding company, and the parent corporation of Defendant Kongsberg. Plaintiff and Defendant Kongsberg Holding are the relevant parties to this motion to dismiss. Defendant Kongsberg, a Canadian corporation and subsidiary of Defendant Kongsberg Holding, is a relevant nonparty to this motion to dismiss. Defendant Teleflex, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Limerick, Pennsylvania, is also a relevant nonparty to this motion to dismiss.

II. The Earlier Delaware Action[3]

On June 5, 2009, Kongsberg Holding filed its Complaint against Teleflex in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware ("the Earlier Delaware Action").[4] The Complaint alleged three counts of breach of contract by Teleflex. The bases for these breaches were the Purchase Agreement, entered into by Kongsberg Holding and Teleflex on October 14, 2007, and a Supply Agreement for Marine and Power Products ("Supply Agreement"), which was entered into by Kongsberg Holding and Teleflex on December 7, 2007.[5] The Supply Agreement was one of a series of subsequent agreements entered into pursuant to, and as exhibits to, the Purchase Agreement.[6] In its Complaint, Kongsberg Holding generally alleged that, in the Purchase Agreement, Teleflex agreed to indemnify Kongsberg Holding for losses arising or resulting from any breach of any covenant or obligation set forth in the agreement, which consisted of the Purchase Agreement and its appendices, exhibits, and disclosure letters.[7]

More specifically, Count I of the Complaint alleged that, pursuant to the Supply Agreement, Teleflex agreed to be Kongsberg Holding's exclusive distributor of specified products for sale in Australia and New Zealand.[8] The Supply Agreement also contained a provision setting forth when and how Teleflex was permitted to cancel any orders.[9] Kongsberg Holding alleged that Teleflex violated the Supply Agreement in 2008 by the way in which it cancelled a particular order.[10]

Count II of the Complaint alleged that, when entering into the Supply Agreement, Teleflex knowingly provided Kongsberg Holding with inaccurate financial information, including product prices, which Kongsberg Holding later discovered and demanded Teleflex remedy.[11] Kongsberg Holding alleged that Teleflex's refusal to ...


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