BMW AG Secures Dismissal of Florida State Court Action

On June 30, following extensive briefing and oral argument, Skadden won a motion to dismiss an action brought against BMW AG. In the complaint, plaintiffs Neil Whitesell and various Whitesell entities alleged business torts, including fraudulent misrepresentation, defamation and tortious interference, against BMW AG in connection with the purchase of a parts supply company and its assets in Germany by Whitesell-controlled entities and a subsequent long-term supply agreement. Judge Lauren L. Brodie of the 20th Judicial Circuit in and for Collier County, Florida, dismissed the complaint, finding that the court lacked specific personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendant BMW AG, holding that "Plaintiffs have failed to allege facts sufficient to establish the Defendant committed a tortious act in Florida ... because all of the allegedly tortious conduct occurred outside of Florida." In addition and in the alternative, the court dismissed on the grounds of forum non conveniens, finding that "[l]itigating this case in Florida would be impractical" and that "Germany is an adequate alternative forum which possesses jurisdiction over the whole case, including all the parties."