Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Zuffa Responds To Bellator's Motion To Dismiss in Pavia Action

Following up on my posts, Bellator Files A Motion to Dismiss Zuffa's Complaint and My Take on Zuffa's Lawsuit Against Pavia and Bellator, on September 27, 2010 Zuffa filed its opposition to Bellator's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.  In opposing the motion, Zuffa submitted two declarations, including one from Lorenzo Fertitta.

As you will recall from my earlier post, in connection with its motion to dismiss, Bellator filed a declaration of its president, Tim Danaher (as an aside, if you look at page 6 of this document, there was also a Tim Danaher affiliated with Plainfield Asset Management, which according to this article at MMAPayout.com, "Bellator Investor Subject of FBI Investigation," is an investor in Bellator) that provided in relevant part as follows:
[. . . ]
3) Bellator is a Delaware limited liability company. It is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It has no offices in Nevada.
4) Bellator has never promoted a MMA event in the State of Nevada.
5) Bellator is not licensed in the State of Nevada and has never applied for a license in the State of Nevada.
6) Bellator owns no real property in the State of Nevada and has no bank account in the State of Nevada.
7) Bellator has no contracts with any person or entity headquartered in the State of Nevada.
8) Bellator does not sell merchandise in the State of Nevada.
9) Bellator has never placed any advertising in the State of Nevada.
10) Bellator conducts no business in the State of Nevada.
11) None of the activities in which Bellator is alleged to have engaged took place in Nevada.
Zuffa notes in its opposition that:
The only evidence Bellator offers in support of its Motion is a short declaration from its President, Tim Danaher. []  Notably, Mr. Danaher declares under penalty of perjury that 'Bellator has no contracts with any person or entity headquartered in the State of Nevada.' [].  The evidence developed to date demonstrates that the foregoing statement is patently false.
Specifically, Zuffa presents the following evidence as supporting general jurisdiction in Nevada over Bellator:
Bellator's own website identifies multiple individuals from Las Vegas that the company has signed to fight in its events. []  Basic internet research demonstrates, at a minimum, that current Bellator fighters Eric Schambari, Lynn Alvarez, Ulysses Gomez, and Michael Chandler are all residents of Nevada. [].  Additional research shows that at least two other fighters, Ferrid Kheder and Jessica Rakoczy, who mayor may not still be under contract with Bellator, were residents of Nevada at the time of their contracts. [].  It also appears that at least one of the recently-crowned 'Bellator Girls' is a resident of Nevada. [].  Bellator, in other words, appears to have multiple contracts with persons 'headquartered in the State of Nevada.'
Zuffa also argues that Bellator's website presence in Nevada is not merely passive because it promoted an Internet contest to select "Bellator Girls" and that a woman in Nevada was one of the winners.  In addition, Zuffa notes that "Bjorn Rebney appeared on behalf of Bellator at the MMA Awards Show held at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas in December 2009."
Zuffa next argues that specific jurisdiction is appropriate under a "purposeful direction" approach.
Finally, Zuffa requests jurisdictional discovery in the event that a prima facie showing of jurisdiction over Bellator has not yet been made.
Fight Lawyer