Judges in the 11th Circuit affirmed a lower court’s ruling IN a case brought against U.K.-based Fly Victor. It included the charter broker’s boss, Clive Jackson, and other current and former executives. The court said the lawsuit lacked personal jurisdiction. Last week’s ruling means further action would need to be taken in England. Don’t Look Media had been seeking up to $30 million in a dispute over the website privatejet.com.
Don’t Look Media (DLM), based in South Florida, licensed the privatejet.com website to defendant Fly Victor Ltd. in exchange for Fly Victor’s agreement to invest in increasing traffic to the site and to share booking revenues with DLM. But, according to DLM, Fly Victor didn’t do any of that and never intended to.
DLM sued Fly Victor, some of its directors and officers, and related entities in the Southern District of Florida. Among other things, DLM alleged that the directors and officers had violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). In addition, DLM said it was defrauded of the site revenues. It accused the defendants of laundering the funds through closely held firms.
The district court dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. However, it added the revenue sharing agreement’s forum selection clauses mandated litigation of the dispute in an English court.
In its ruling, the appeals court wrote, “DLM relies only on a RICO provision that allows for service of process in any United States judicial district. But this statute cannot provide personal jurisdiction because DLM did not serve any party within the United States. It only attempted service on the defendants in a London office building. Moreover, the forum selection clauses are enforceable, plainly apply to DLM’s claims, and require dismissal in favor of an English forum.”
Jay Farrow, an attorney representing Don’t Look Media, tells Private Jet Card Comparisons, “While the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal determined jurisdiction belonged in London, it was important that the court’s decision did not discount the civil racketeering or fraud allegations – meaning the court did not say Don’t Look Media, LLC’s civil racketeering case was implausible or unsubstantiated. And while my client is looking into further appeals in the United States, there remains pending a state court racketeering action in Broward County Florida against Clive Jackson, Fly Victor and others which it intends to continue to prosecute. Regardless of the venue, my client is committed to enforcing its legal rights for alleged fraud and unlawful conduct. My client believes that the court’s decision is by no means the end of this fight and it looks forward to its day in Court.”