The Law School Authority

Dee-K Enterprises v. Heveafil Sdn. Bhd. Case Brief

Summary of Dee-K Enterprises v Heveafil Sdn. Bhd.
E. D. Ct VA  [1997]


Relevant Facts: 2 American purchasers of rubber thread, Dee-K and Asheboro, Pls, are N. Carolina and VA corporations, who bought rubber thread from Dfs to make bungee cords. Dfs are corporations in Malaysia (Heveafil, Rubfil, Rubberflex), Thailand, and Indonesia (Bakrie).  Pls claim that the Dfs conspired to fixed the price of rubber thread and restrain competition in the U.S.

Legal Issue(s): Whether there is personal jurisdiction over an Indonesian manufacturer-Df that consummates its sales of rubber thread in Indonesia; and Whether venue is proper in the E. D. Ct of VA?

Court’s Holding: Yes, and Yes

Procedure: Dfs brought numerous Motions to Dismiss; Motions Denied further proceeding are needed to determine whether venue is appropriate for U.S. producers.

Law or Rule(s): A Df not subject to the jurisdiction of any state ct that is served w/ process is subject to personal jurisdiction in the Fed. Cts as long as the assertion of jurisdiction (i) is consistent w/ federal law, and (ii) does not offend the Constitution.

Court Rationale: To obtain personal jurisdiction the Pl must point to a statute or rule that authorizes services of process over the Df, and the service of process must comport with due process.  The applicable statute and rule is 15 U S C ss22 and Rule 4 (k) (2).  Pl need only show that under Rule 4 that the service effected did not offend the Constitution, thus any challenge to personal jurisdiction is governed by the Constitutional test ‘fair play and substantial justice.’

The Act lays venue in any district where the Df is “found” or where it “transacts business.”  Aliens may be sued in any federal judicial district.  Venue is proper as to all the American Dfs in any district where on of them may be found.  There may be sufficient contacts w/ this district such that at least one of the American distributors can be found here, satisfying 1391 (b) (3), yet there is no specific allegation to that effect in the second amended complaint.  It is unclear whether venue is proper in the E D of VA.

Plaintiff’s Argument: Dfs have contacts with the state of VA; Heveafil sold rubber thread in VA, Rubfil had customers in VA and sold to them with the aid of Rubfil-USA, Rubberflex sold thread in VA with aid of Flefil (RI) and Flexfil (NC) which sold Perkebunan’s product in VA.

Defendant’s Argument: Even if personal jurisdiction is established on the basis of aggregated, national contacts, venue in the E. D. Ct of VA is improper, as the Df’s contacts were with the W. D. of VA.

Indonesian producer of extruded rubber thread had sufficient intentional contacts with United States to be subject to personal jurisdiction by appointment of US distributors and sales agents, in so doing, purposefully availed itself of forum.

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