United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
WILLIAM H.G. HUNT, SR., Plaintiff,
CALHOUN COUNTY BANK, INC., and JAMES L. BENNETT, Defendants
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
For William H. G. Hunt, Sr., Plaintiff: Stephanie Swanson Ryan, LEAD ATTORNEY, Ryan Law PLLC, Cross Junction, VA.
For Calhoun County Bank, Inc., James L. Bennett, Defendants: Kevin Bryan Bedell, Greenberg Traurig LLP, McLean, VA.
James C. Cacheris, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
This matter is before the Court on Defendants Calhoun County Bank, Inc. (" Calhoun County Bank" ) and James L. Bennett's (" Bennett" ; together " Defendants" ) Joint Motion to Dismiss (" Motion" ). [Dkt. 7.] For the following reasons the Court will grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
This case arises out of an alleged breach of the contractual relationship between Plaintiff William H.G. Hunt, Sr. (" Hunt" ) and Defendants and the alleged fraudulent misrepresentation by Defendant Bennett.
A. Factual Background
Calhoun County Bank is a West Virginia Corporation, which Plaintiff alleges conducts business and has depositors in Virginia. (Compl. [Dkt. 1] ¶ 2.) Defendant Bennett
is the President of Calhoun County Bank and a member of its Board of Directors. (Compl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff is a citizen and a resident of Virginia. (Compl. ¶ 1.)
According to the Complaint, on or about June 1, 2007, Hunt entered into a contract with Calhoun County Bank through its agent Bennett. Pursuant to this contract, Calhoun County Bank agreed to sell to Hunt certain royalty interests that were in the custody of Calhoun County Bank for the sum of $40,000.00. (Compl. ¶ 8.) Hunt alleges that in June 2007, he transferred $40,000.00 to an agent of Calhoun County Bank. (Compl. ¶ 9.) Calhoun County Bank, however, refused to transfer ownership of the royalty interests, in contravention of the contract. (Compl. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff avers that he has suffered damages in excess of $180,000.00 and seeks specific performance of the contract, or in the alternative, compensatory damages. (Compl. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff further alleges that Bennett fraudulently misrepresented his intention to transfer the royalty interests to Hunt. (Compl. ¶ 13.)
On October 11, 2007, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Loudoun County alleging breach of contract and constructive fraud with the same factual basis as this action. (Def. Mem. [Dkt. 8-3] Ex. C.) On February 11, 2013, the Circuit Court of Loudoun County granted Plaintiff's Motion for Nonsuit pursuant to § 8.01-380 of the Code of Virginia. (Def. Mem. [Dkt. 8-4] Ex. D.)
B. Procedural Background
On August 6, 2013, Plaintiff filed his Complaint against Defendants Calhoun County Bank and Bennett seeking damages based on theories of breach of contract and fraud. [Dkt. 1.] On December 23, 2013, Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss and accompanying memorandum of law. [Dkts. 7-8.] Plaintiff filed his opposition on December 27, 2013. [Dkt. 10.] On January 2, 2014, Defendants filed their reply. [Dkt. 11.] The Court held a hearing on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss on February 25, 2014. [Dkt. 16.] During the hearing, Plaintiff submitted an exhibit regarding the electronic services offered on Calhoun County Bank's website. This exhibit consists of a screenshot of Calhoun County Bank's website dated February 20, 2014. [Dkt. 17-1.] The Court ordered Defendant to file a response regarding Plaintiff's exhibit within one week. On March 5, 2014, Defendants filed their Supplemental Memorandum in Support of Their Joint Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. [Dkt. 17.] On March 10, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Supplemental Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. [Dkt. 18.]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is before the Court.
II. Standard of Review
A. Personal Jurisdiction
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) permits dismissal of an action where the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over the parties. The plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating personal jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence once its existence is questioned by the defendant. Combs v. Bakker, 886 F.2d 673, 676 (4th Cir. 1989). When a district court decides a pretrial personal jurisdiction dismissal motion without an evidentiary hearing, however, the plaintiff need only prove a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction. Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Akzo, N.V., 2 F.3d 56, 60 (4th Cir. 1993); Combs, 886 F.2d at 676. In deciding whether the plaintiff has proved a prima facie case, the district court must draw all reasonable inferences arising from the proof, and resolve all factual disputes in the plaintiff's favor. Combs, 886 F.2d at 676; Wolf v. Richmond Cnty. Hosp. Auth., 745 F.2d 904, 908 (4th Cir. 1984),
474 U.S. 826, 106 S.Ct. 83, 88 ...