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Representative Matters

LRC Obtains Denial of Motion to Dismiss on International Comity and Related Grounds

Wilmington, DE (July 14, 2016): Landis Rath & Cobb LLP attorneys Daniel B. Rath and James S. Green Jr., along with co-counsel Stephen A. Silverman and Polina Polonsky of Silverman & Milligan LLP, obtained a strong result for client Plaintiff PATS Aircraft LLC on a motion to dismiss in a matter involving complex issues of international comity and transnational service of process.

The action, for breach of contract and related causes of action, is pending before the Honorable Richard G. Andrews of U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. There is a related action filed by the Defendant pending in Germany.  Defendant, Vedder Munich, a German business entity headquartered in Germany, moved to dismiss on four grounds: personal jurisdiction, improper service, international comity, and forum non conveniens. While the Court temporarily stayed the action pending proof of imminent formal service in Germany, Judge Andrews effectively denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss.  The Court agreed with PATS that the Delaware District Court may exercise specific personal jurisdiction over Vedder under the Delaware long-arm statute and that such exercise comports with due process because Vedder purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting business in Delaware by, inter alia, pursuing and entering into a contract with a Delaware company, shipping product to Delaware, and sending its employees to perform installation, remedial, and other work at PATS’s facility in Delaware.  The Court further agreed that principles of international comity do not occasion dismissal or stay of the Delaware action given the incipiency of the German action, the difference in the relief requested, and the default presumption that domestic and international proceedings are ordinarily allowed to proceed simultaneously.  Finally, the Court agreed with PATS that the action should not be dismissed for forum non conveniens as the plaintiff’s choice of forum should be afforded great deference, the State of Delaware has a strong interest in the subject matter of the litigation, and Vedder had failed to establish that trial in the chosen form would result in vexation or oppressiveness to the defendant out of all proportion to the plaintiff’s convenience.

The decision received in-depth coverage in Delaware Law Weekly  and has been featured on the blog LettersBlogatory.com.

Read the District Court’s opinion, PATS Aircraft, LLC v. Vedder Munich GmbH, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91436 (D. Del. July 14, 2016).