Back9 Network Inc. v. Altounian
Connecticut has an interest in furnishing a convenient forum for residents injured by out-of-state actors, especially when a Connecticut agency invests in a Hartford company that the out-of-state company allegedly injured. Allegedly, Tom Meloth of Back9 Network, a golf and entertainment lifestyle network, agreed to convey 388,195 shares of stock to Brian Altounian, chief executive officer of Alliance Acquisitions, after Altounian promised to invest $250,000 in seed money and $10 million in financing. Altounian did not provide the money as promised, and Back9's board of directors voted to cancel the shares, most of which Altounian had conveyed to Alliance Acquisitions. Back9, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Hartford, requested a declaratory judgment that the stock certificates were canceled properly. Defendants Altounian, a citizen of California, and Alliance Acquisitions, a Nevada corporation with a principal place of business in Los Angeles, moved to dismiss, for lack of personal jurisdiction. Back9 made a prima facie showing that Altounian allegedly committed a tort in Connecticut and falsely misrepresented that he would provide seed money and financing, in exchange for Back9's shares of stock. Altounian, individually and on behalf of Alliance, allegedly made numerous telephone calls and sent e-mails and text messages to Back9 principals located in Connecticut. The court has personal jurisdiction over Altounian pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §52-59b(a)(2). Altounian's alleged promise was made on behalf of Alliance. Alliance allegedly committed a tort in Connecticut. A court has personal jurisdiction under the long-arm statute over a foreign corporation in a suit alleging tortious conduct in Connecticut. Maintenance of the suit does not offend notions of fair play and substantial justice. The defendants obtain funds for privately held companies and interact with investors nationwide. Litigation in Connecticut should not be overly burdensome for the defendants. The defendants failed to establish personal jurisdiction in Connecticut is not reasonable. The state has an interest in furnishing a convenient forum for residents injured by out-of-state actors, especially when a Connecticut agency, the Department of Economic and Community Development, invested in Back9. The court denied the defense motion to dismiss.