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Berry v. Lee

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division

March 8, 2006, Decided ; March 8, 2006, Filed

Civil Action No. 3:05-CV-0014-D

Opinion

 [*549] MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This lawsuit arises from an employment dispute and is based in principal part on alleged sexual assaults committed against the plaintiff by her employer during a business trip to Asia. Defendants move to dismiss on various grounds, one of which presents a somewhat difficult issue of personal jurisdiction arising from the complex relationships among related corporate entities. For the reasons that follow, the court denies the Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(5) motions to dismiss for lack of personal [**2]  jurisdiction and insufficiency of service of process, grants in part and denies in part the Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, and denies the Rule 12(f) motion to strike portions of plaintiff's second amended complaint ("complaint").

Plaintiff Monique Berry ("Berry") sues defendants Choon Woo Lee a/k/a Jae Woo Lee ("Lee"), Sae Hee Hwang a/k/a Sae Hee Lee ("Hwang"), James Shin ("Shin"), Bao Sheng Corporation ("BSC"), Cangzhou Baosheng Processing Co., Ltd. ("CBPC"), 1 Bao-Sheng, Inc. ("BSI"), and Bao-Sheng USA Inc. ("BSUSA"), alleging that they are liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., for hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliation, and under state law for assault, battery, and attempted rape, negligent failure to warn, negligent supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, tortious interference with contractual relations, and conspiracy. Berry's lawsuit arises from her decision to leave Cosmoslab, Inc. ("Cosmoslab"), her former employer, and her employment in the private label cosmetics business with entities that she alleges were [**3]  operated as a single, integrated business enterprise composed of BSC, CBPC, BSI, and BSUSA, to which she refers collectively as "Bao Sheng." See P. 2d Am. Compl. P 4. She maintains that she was hired by defendant Lee and worked on behalf of the collective Bao Sheng entities, having been hired by BSI, sold products produced by CBPC, and sold cosmetic products for BSC, BSI, and BSUSA. A principal ground for her lawsuit is  [*550]  the allegation that Lee sexually assaulted her several times during a November 2003 business trip to China and Korea. This court's subject matter jurisdiction is premised both on the presence of a federal question and on diversity of citizenship.

 [**4]  Defendants move on several grounds to dismiss. 2 CBPC seeks dismissal under Rule 12(b) (2) for lack of personal jurisdiction and under Rule 12(b)(5) for insufficient service of process.

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428 F. Supp. 2d 546 *; 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19780 **

MONIQUE BERRY, Plaintiff, VS. CHOON WOO LEE a/k/a JAE WOO LEE, et al., Defendants.

CORE TERMS

personal jurisdiction, allegations, single business enterprise, employees, denies, motion to dismiss, defendants', cause of action, alter ego, conspiracy, factory, assault, entities, grounds, purposes, motion to strike, inter alia, factors, courts, tortious interference, forum state, manufactured, supervision, Contracts, witnesses, contacts, long-arm, lack of personal jurisdiction, corporate entity, minimum contact

Civil Procedure, Pleading & Practice, Motion Practice, General Overview, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Strike, Responses, Jurisdiction, In Rem & Personal Jurisdiction, Constitutional Limits, Diversity Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Federal Questions, In Personam Actions, Long Arm Jurisdiction, Business & Corporate Law, Corporations, Piercing the Corporate Veil, Alter Ego, Pleadings, Service of Process, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Business & Corporate Compliance, Title VII Discrimination, Scope & Definitions, Employers, Labor & Employment Law, Discrimination, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Duties & Liabilities, Negligent Acts of Agents, Liability of Agents, Liability of Principals, Affirmative Defenses, Labor & Employment Law, Occupational Safety & Health, Civil Liability Under OSHA, Torts, Procedural Matters, Preemption, Management Duties & Liabilities, Causes of Action, Concerted Action, Civil Conspiracy, Negligence, Admissibility, Statements as Evidence, Compromise & Settlement Negotiations