Brief Fact Summary.
Nihon appealed an unfair competition judgment after being sued by Astro-Med for being hired by a competing company, Nihon Kohden America, despite signing a noncompetition, nondisclosure, and forum-selection clause.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Venue is proper where a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred.
Kevin Plant (Plant) signed a noncompetition, nondisclosure, and a forum selection clause naming Rhode Island as the forum state when he was hired by Astro-Med. When Astro-Med relocated Plant to Florida at Plant’s request, Nihon Kohden America (Nihon) hired Plant from under Astro-Med to sell competing products. Astro-Med sued Plant and Nihon for unfair competition and Plant appealed.
Whether venue is proper where a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred?
Yes. Venue was proper and the district court’s judgment is affirmed. A substantial part of the events took part in Rhode Island because Astro-Med is headquartered in Rhode Island, negotiated the contract and hired Plant in Rhode Island, trade secrets were misappropriated in Rhode Island, and the harm was suffered in Rhode Island.
A defendant need not be physically present in the forum state to cause injury (and thus activity for jurisdictional purposes) in the forum state.View Full Point of Law
28 U.S.C. § 1391 makes venue proper wherever a substantial part of the events occurred.