United States District Court, D. Minnesota
V. Steffenson, Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., Maple Grove,
Minnesota, for Plaintiff.
Randall E. Kahnke, Martin S. Chester, Marjan A. Batchelor,
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for
Defendant Gregory Hyde.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RICHARD H. KYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Gregory Hyde previously worked as a sales representative for
Plaintiff Custom Conveyor Corporation (“CCC”), a
Minnesota company that manufactures water and wastewater
treatment systems. In 2016, Hyde, who resides in Georgia,
accepted a position with Defendant Jim Myers & Sons, Inc.
(“JMS”), one of CCC's direct competitors. CCC
then commenced this action, alleging inter alia
claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, conversion, and
tortious interference with contract. Presently before the
Court is Hyde's Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction. For the reasons that follow, the Court will
deny the Motion.
has resided in Georgia since 1956. In 2011, he interviewed
with CCC in Minnesota after learning of a job opening through
a colleague. The company later hired him as a sales manager,
marketing and selling its products in various parts of the
United States, although not in Minnesota.
spent five years working as a CCC sales manager; during that
time, he performed his duties from a home office and other
locations in Georgia. His job involved only occasional travel
to Minnesota (albeit sometimes for several days at a time)
yet required near constant communication with CCC's
Minnesota-based employees. According to records reviewed by
Roger Hansen, CCC's Chief Financial Officer, Hyde
exchanged more than 24, 500 emails with CCC's Minnesota
personnel during his employment, an average of nearly 14 per
day. Similarly, CCC's records reflect 851 phone calls
between Hyde and Minnesota-based CCC employees during just
his final year of employment, averaging three calls per day
and 22 minutes per call.
April 2016, Hyde resigned from CCC and accepted a position
with one of its competitors, North Carolina-based JMS.
Several months later, CCC commenced this action in the
Hennepin County District Court, which Defendants removed to
this Court. The Complaint alleges that by virtue of his
employment with CCC, Hyde became privy to the company's
proprietary information, including its unique,
“customized pricing scheme” that purportedly
gives it a competitive advantage over others (such as JMS) in
the marketplace. It further alleges that Hyde used external
hard drives and cloud-based storage to copy this proprietary
information from CCC's computer systems. And, it alleges
that Hyde has disclosed this information to JMS, which has
used it to obtain projects on which CCC also was bidding.
Among other things, CCC seeks an injunction prohibiting
dissemination of its (alleged) trade secrets, the return of
any proprietary information held by Hyde or JMS, and an award
now moves to dismiss the claims against him for lack of
personal jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2). His Motion has been fully briefed and is
ripe for disposition.
order to survive Hyde's Motion, CCC must make only a
prima facie showing of jurisdiction. E.g., Epps
v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 327 F.3d 642, 647 (8th
Cir. 2003). This requires it to proffer “sufficient
facts . . . to support a reasonable inference that [Hyde] can
be subjected to jurisdiction within [Minnesota].”
Creative Calling Solutions, Inc. v. LF Beauty, Ltd.,
799 F.3d 975, 979 (8th Cir. 2015) (citation omitted);
accord, e.g., Dairy Farmers of Am., Inc. v.
Bassett & Walker Int'l, Inc., 702 F.3d 472, 475
(8th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). CCC's showing
“must be tested not by the pleadings alone, but by
the affidavits and exhibits presented with the motion and
in opposition thereto.” Dairy Farmers, 702
F.3d at 475 (citations omitted). Where, as here, the Court
has not held an evidentiary hearing, it must “look at
the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party,
and resolve all factual conflicts in favor of that
party.” Pangaea, Inc. v. Flying Burrito LLC,
647 F.3d 741, 745 (8th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted).
“The evidentiary showing required at the prima facie
stage is minimal.” Johnson v. Arden, 614 F.3d
785, 794 (8th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).
establish a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction, CCC
must show that Minnesota's long-arm statute has been
satisfied and that exercising jurisdiction would comport with
the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
E.g., Creative Calling Solutions, 799 F.3d
at 979. These two inquiries collapse into one, however,
because Minnesota's long-arm statute extends jurisdiction
to the outer limits of the Due Process Clause. E.g.,
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