United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
AMDOCS, INC. a corporation, Plaintiff,
MICHAL BAR, Defendant.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Michal Bar's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Amdocs, Inc.'s Complaint for
Lack of Personal Jurisdiction. Having reviewed and considered
the pleadings, affidavits, declarations, briefs, and the
record as a whole, the Court grants Defendant's Motion
for the reasons set forth below.
Amdocs, Inc. (“Plaintiff” or
“Amdocs”) is a corporation headquartered in Saint
Louis County, Missouri, and conducts business on a nationwide
basis. (Affidavit of Tricia Reisinger (“Reisinger
Aff.”), ¶ 3). Amdocs employs over four hundred
employees in Saint Louis County and maintains a substantial
presence there. (Id.). Amdocs is a computer software
and services company that sells and provides communications,
wireless, pre-paid wireless media, and entertainment service
providers with large scale billing and customer management
services and systems, including comprehensive business
support software systems and operational support software.
(Reisinger Aff., ¶ 7).
Michal Bar (“Defendant” or “Bar”) is
an Israeli national who worked as an executive-level employee
for Amdocs. (Affidavit of Michal Bar (“Bar
Aff.”), ¶ 5; Petition, ¶ 33). At Amdocs, Bar
worked extensively with Amdocs' high-value Comcast
account. (Petition, ¶ 33). In October 2015, Defendant
attended Amdocs Annual Leadership Forum, during which
substantial strategic plans and objectives for Amdocs were
discussed. (Petition, ¶ 44). Bar learned about
Amdocs' confidential information and trade secrets at
this Forum. (Id.).
employee for Amdocs, Defendant Bar had tenuous contacts with
the State of Missouri. Bar worked with Amdocs employees in
Missouri who coordinated her relocation and onboarding
process when she first began working for Amdocs. (Reisinger
Aff., ¶ 14 and Exhibit 3 thereto). Bar corresponded
directly with Laura Menner, an Amdocs employee located in
Missouri, for assistance during the visa and immigration
process, in addition to direct deposit and other information
regarding the relocation and benefits for Bar's husband
and children. (Reisinger Aff., ¶ 15 and Exhibit 4
thereto). Defendant Bar used Amdocs' human resources
function located in Missouri to sponsor her for a green card.
(Reisinger Aff., ¶ 18). In addition to the relocation,
immigration, and onboarding process, Bar communicated with
Amdocs in Missouri in the normal course of her business.
(Reisinger Aff., ¶ 20). Bar corresponded with Missouri
employees to maintain visa status for an Amdocs employee
working in the same office as her (Id.); she also
worked with a Missouri employee with regard to a position she
held while working for Amdocs (Reisinger Aff., ¶ 21 and
Exhibit 11 thereto).
condition of her employment, Bar accepted an Employment
Agreement in which she agreed to protect Amdocs'
confidential information and refrain from competing with
Amdocs for one year after her employment ended. (Petition,
¶ 29). The Employment Agreement contained a valid
Missouri choice of law clause (Exhibit 1 to Plaintiff's
Petition, ¶ 12), but it did not select Missouri as the
forum for disputes. Defendant signed and dated the Employment
Agreement on July 1, 2011 (Exhibit 1 to Petition and
Reisinger Aff.), then forwarded it to Amdocs in Missouri
where it was finally accepted and signed by a Missouri
employee on July 25, 2011 (Reisinger Aff., ¶¶
executing the Employment Agreement, Bar first signed a
Summary of Relocation Terms (“Relocation
Agreement”) with Amdocs which set forth the terms of
Bar's proposed relocation to work for Amdocs in the
United States. (Reisinger Aff., ¶ 8). The Relocation
Agreement required that Bar execute the Employment Agreement
explained above. (Id. and Exhibit 9 thereto).
Particularly important for this dispute, the Relocation
Agreement mandated that the Employment Agreement would be
finally accepted and signed by Amdocs in Missouri to become
effective. (Id.). Thus, by the terms of the
Relocation Agreement, Defendant Bar executed the Employment
Agreement when it was finally received, signed, and accepted
by Amdocs in Saint Louis County, Missouri. (Reisinger Aff.,
October 2015, Defendant attended the Amdocs Annual Leadership
Forum, during which she learned about Amdocs' substantial
strategic plans, future objectives, and other confidential
information and trade secrets. (Petition, ¶ 44). After
returning from the Forum, Bar voluntarily resigned from her
employment with Amdocs and did not inform Amdocs that she had
accepted employment with a direct competitor, Ericsson, Inc.
(“Ericsson”). (Petition, ¶ 45; Bar Aff.,
¶ 28). Whether Bar's employment with Ericsson
violates the Amdocs Employment Agreement is the subject of
the present dispute between Plaintiff Amdocs and Defendant
parties contest whether this Court may properly exercise
jurisdiction over the Defendant. As the non-moving party,
Amdocs “need only make a prima facie showing of
jurisdiction.” Dakota Indus., Inc. v. Dakota
Sportswear, Inc., 946 F.2d 1384, 1387 (8th Cir. 1991).
“[T]he evidentiary showing required at the prima facie
stage is minimal.” K-V Pharm. Co. v. J. Uriach
& CIA, S.A., 648 F.3d 588, 592 (8th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Johnson v. Arden, 614 F.3d 785, 794 (8th
Cir. 2010)). The Court must view the evidence in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party and resolve all
factual conflicts in its favor. Digi-Tel Holdings, Inc.
v. Proteq Telecomm. (PTE), Ltd., 89 F.3d 519, 522 (8th
diversity case, personal jurisdiction exists “to the
extent permitted by the long-arm statute of the forum state
and by the Due Process Clause.” K-V Pharm.
Co., 648 F.3d at 592 (quoting Dever v. Hentzen
Coatings, Inc., 380 F.3d 1070, 1072 (8th Cir. 2004)).
Thus, this Court must conduct a two-step analysis to
determine whether it may properly exercise jurisdiction over
Defendant Bar. First, jurisdiction under the Missouri
long-arm statute is considered; second, jurisdiction must be
proper under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.
Jurisdiction must be proper at both stages of the analysis.
The Missouri ...