Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Goodwin v. Bruggeman Hatch

United States District Court, D. Colorado

May 14, 2018

JON A. GOODWIN, Plaintiff,
v.
MARCIA ANN BRUGGEMAN HATCH, SEAMUS JOHN PAUL HATCH, MICHAEL DOUGLAS BOCK, GUNDERSON DETTMER STOUGH VILLENEUVE FRANKLIN & HACHIGIAN, LLP, ROBERT V. GUNDERSON, JR., SCOTT CHARLES DETTMER, THOMAS F. VILLENEUVE, DANIEL JURG NIEHANS, DANIEL E. O'CONNOR, KENNETH ROBERT McVAY, IVAN ALEXANDER GAVIRIA, JOHNSON & JOHNSON LLP, NEVILLE LAWRENCE JOHNSON, DOUGLAS LOWELL JOHNSON, JONATHAN MARTIN TURCO, LAN PHONG VU, DIANA BIAFORA SPARAGNA, TINA LOUISE SCATUORCHIO-GOODWIN, BARRY STEVEN LEVIN, MATHEW LLOYD LARRABEE, ROBERT A. EPSEN, DAVID MARK JARGIELLO, RAMSEY & EHRLICH LLP, MILES FREDRICK EHRLICH, ISMAIL JOMO RAMSE, FOLGER LEVIN KAHN, LLP, MICHAEL ALEXANDER KAHN, JOHN DANIEL SHARP, DENELLE MARIE DIXON-THAYER, LEWIS ROCA ROTHGERBER CHRISTIE, LLP, FREDRICK JAMES BAUMANN, ALEX C. MYERS, HELLER EHRMAN CALIFORNIA, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION, VLG INVESTMENTS LLC, VLG INVESTMENTS 2006 LLC, VLG INVESTMENTS 2007 LLC, VLG INVESTMENTS 2008, LLC, HEWM INVESTORS, LLC, HEWM INVESTORS II, LLC, HEWM/VLG INVESTMENTS, LLC, ARAN STRATEGIC FINANCE, LLC, AND DOES 1 - 100, Defendants.

          ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          KRISTEN L. MIX UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Set Aside Default (FRCP 55(c)) or Quash Service; Motion to Dismiss Under Rules 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(5); Memorandum in Support [#115][1] (the “Motion”) filed by Defendants VLG Investments LLC, VLG Investments 2006 LLC, VLG Investments 2007 LLC, VLG Investments 2008 LLC, HEWM Investors LLC, and HEWM Investors II LLC (collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiff filed a Response [#119] and Defendants filed a Reply [#120]. The Court has reviewed the briefing on the Motion [#115], the entire case file, and the applicable law, and is sufficiently advised in the premises. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' request to set aside the Clerk's entry of default is GRANTED, and the Court respectfully RECOMMENDS that the Motion [#115] be GRANTED with respect to Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff proceeds as a pro se litigant.[2] As noted in the November 4, 2016 Order to Show Cause [#90], this is the second lawsuit that Plaintiff has filed in this Court relating to the break up of his business, Barra Partners LLP (“Barra Partners”) in 2003. In short, Plaintiff contends that Defendants conspired to break up Barra Partners, as well as to steal money and business opportunities from him and Barra Partners. The previous lawsuit that Plaintiff filed in 2013, Goodwin v. Bruggeman-Hatch, 13-cv-02973-REB-MEH (the “2013 Case”), contained twenty-two claims against sixty-five named defendants and one thousand Doe defendants. Eventually, all of the claims in the 2013 Case were dismissed against all defendants. See 2013 Case Final Judgment [#388]. Plaintiff appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which dismissed the case for failure to prosecute on May 21, 2015. 2013 Case USCA Order [#404]. Thirty of the defendants named in the 2013 Case are also named in the current lawsuit. See 2013 Case Compl. [#1]. This lawsuit also adds eleven new Defendants and one hundred Doe Defendants. See Second Am. Compl. [#83] at 1. Like the 2013 Case, Plaintiff's pleadings in this lawsuit allege a criminal enterprise and conspiracy against Plaintiff that gives rise to claims of racketeering, breaches of fiduciary duties, breaches of contract, and fraud, among other claims. See Second Am. Compl. [#83].

         At the request of various Defendants, the Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause as to: (1) why his claims are not barred by claim preclusion, issue preclusion, and/or the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, and (2) why the United States District Court for the District of Colorado should not enjoin him from filing any future pro se actions in this Court in the event that this case is deemed to be legally frivolous. Order to Show Cause [#90] at 5-6. Plaintiff filed a Response [#92]. The Court thereafter issued a Recommendation to dismiss various claims, which was adopted by the District Judge. See Recommendation [#93]; Order [#97]. The Court also issued another Order to Show Cause [#95], noting that several Defendants had not been served, and directing Plaintiff to file proofs of timely service. Plaintiff responded by filing several executed Summonses, see [#98-#103], along with a Response [#112] seeking permission to serve the last remaining unserved Defendant, HEWM/VLG Investments LLC.[3] The Defendants who were served then filed the Motion [#115].

         III. Analysis

         A. Motion to Set Aside Default

         On February 5, 2018, the day after Plaintiff filed the executed Summonses [#98-#103], Plaintiff filed Motions for Entry of Default as to those Defendants [#104-109]. The Clerk of the Court entered default on the same date. See Clerk's Entry of Default [#110]. Defendants ask the Court to set aside the entry of default. Motion [#115] at 4.

         Fed. Rule Civ. P. 55(c) permits a court to aside an entry of default “for good cause.” The good cause requirement is a “lesser standard for the defaulting party than the excusable negligence which must be shown for relief from judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b).” Pinson v. Equifax Credit Info. Servs., Inc., 316 Fed.Appx. 744, 750 (10th Cir. 2009) (quoting Dennis Garberg & Assocs., Inc. v. Pack-Tech Int'l Corp., 115 F.3d 767, 775 n.6 (10th Cir. 1997)). In determining whether a defendant has met the good cause standard, the Court may consider, among other things, whether the default was the result of culpable conduct of the defendant, whether the plaintiff would be prejudiced if the default should be set aside, and whether the defendant presents a meritorious defense. Pinson, 316 Fed.Appx. at 750; Guttman v. Silverberg, 167 Fed.Appx. 1, 4 (10th Cir. 2005).

         As stated in the Order to Show Cause [#95], the pleading that named these Defendants for the first time was filed on July 14, 2016. See First Am. Compl. [#41]. Thus, the service deadline was October 12, 2016. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m) (“If a defendant is not served within 90 days after the complaint is filed, the court - on motion or on its own after notice to the plaintiff - must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant . . . .”); Bolden v. City of Topeka, Kan., 441 F.3d 1129, 1148 (10th Cir. 2006) (stating that the period for service “is not restarted by the filing of an amended complaint except as to those defendants newly added in the amended complaint”). The executed Summonses indicate that the Defendants were served on November 2, 2016, which was untimely. See [#98-#103]. Therefore, the Court finds that there is good cause to set aside the entry of default, as Defendants did not cause the untimely service. See Pinson, 316 Fed.Appx. at 750. Furthermore, it would not prejudice Plaintiff to set aside the default, as this case is procedurally in its beginning stages. See id.

         Accordingly, the Motion [#115] is granted with respect to Defendants' request to set aside the entry of default against them. See Ashby v. McKenna, 331 F.3d 1148, 1152 (10th Cir. 2003) (indicating appropriateness of a Magistrate Judge entering an order under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) on a motion to set aside clerk's entry of default). Thus, the Court turns to the analysis of Defendants' motions to dismiss.

         B. Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

         Defendants argue that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over them pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). Plaintiff contends that Defendants are subject to personal jurisdiction because he alleges that Defendants have “direct[ed] tortious acts at Barra Partners and Plaintiff” that caused Plaintiff injury in Colorado. Response [#119] at 12-13. Plaintiff further argues that the Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1965(b), because some of his claims arise pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). Id. at 13-15. The Court first addresses personal jurisdiction under Colorado's long-arm statute, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-1-124.

         1. Personal Jurisdiction ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.