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Walsh v. O'Hara

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

March 28, 2018

JOSEPH E. WALSH and ELIZABETH J. WALSH, Plaintiffs,
v.
LARRY E. O'HARA, JR., G.E.A.R.S. and AUCTION HOLDINGS AND ACQUISITIONS, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Introduction

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, [Doc. No. 13]. Plaintiffs oppose the Motion. Defendants have filed a Reply to the Opposition. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is granted.

         Because this case is before the Court on a motion to dismiss, and no jurisdictional discovery has been authorized or conducted, the factual background is necessarily drawn—at least in the first instance—from the factual allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiffs' Complaint alleges the following:

         Plaintiffs Joseph E. Walsh and Elizabeth J. Walsh are residents of St. Louis County, Missouri, in this judicial district.

         Defendant Larry E. O'Hara, Jr. (''O'Hara")[1] is a resident of Fayetteville, Georgia, trading and doing business as G.E.A.R.S a/k/a German & Exotic Auto Remarketing Specialists ("G.E.A.R.S. "). O'Hara engages in or has engaged in the repair, restoration, purchase, brokerage, and/or sale of automobiles and is therefore a merchant under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 150.010.

         Defendant G.E.A.R.S. is an unincorporated business with its principal place of business at 370 S. Glynn St., Fayetteville, GA, 30214. G.E.A.R.S. engages in or has engaged in the repair, restoration, purchase, brokerage, and/or sale of automobiles and is therefore a merchant under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 150.010.

         Defendant AUCTION HOLDINGS AND ACQUISITIONS, INC. ("AHA") is a Georgia corporation with its principal place of business at 370 S. Glynn St., Fayetteville, GA, 30214. AHA engages in or has engaged in the repair, restoration, purchase, brokerage, and/or sale of automobiles and is therefore a merchant under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 150.010.

         Defendants regularly transact business in Missouri, and in this judicial district, including, but not limited to, offering automobiles for sale at classic car auctions and/or online.

         Defendants regularly transact business with Missouri residents, including offering to sell, purchasing or brokering, and offering to purchase or broker, automobiles with Missouri residents, including residents of this judicial district.

         This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendants under both the Missouri long-arm statute and under the U.S. Constitution because, among other reasons: Defendants, as set forth more fully below, directed numerous false descriptions and misrepresentations and other tortious conduct to Plaintiffs in Saint Louis County, Missouri while knowing that such harmful conduct would be felt by Plaintiffs in Missouri; Defendants misappropriated funds while knowing that the effect of their tortious and wrongful conduct would be felt by Plaintiffs in Missouri; and Defendants have directed telephone and mail communications to Walsh in Missouri with the intent to induce Plaintiffs to take action within the State.

         Defendants engage in or have engaged in the repair, restoration, purchase, brokerage, and/or sale of vintage cars, classics, hot rods, muscle cars and exotic automobiles. Defendants claim to be a "luxury and exotic auto remarketing firm specializing in wholesale and retail automotive remarketing solutions as well as direct order acquisitions.''

         Defendants advertise that "[i]n the retail market, our quality standards and services are simply unmatched. While the majority of retail units are secured via Pre-order, some are offered for sale online and in our facility."

         Defendants also advertised on eBay and in Hemmings, a prominent and widely distributed Collector car publication, that it "provides prompt shipping I transportation solutions via several ...


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