Tamburo v. Dworkin

Tamburo v. Dworkin, et al., 2010 WL 1387299 (C.A.7 (Ill.))
Decided - April 8, 2010

Plaintiff Tamburo operates a god-breeding software business and developed an automated computer program that would “pull” information about dog pedigrees from various Internet sites. The defendants, proprietors of various similar dog-pedigree websites and software companies, are alleged to have sent “blast emails” about the plaintiff and made accusatory postings on various online bulletin boards.

Procedural History:
Tamburo alleged that the defendants violated federal and state antitrust laws and sought a declaratory judgment that he didn’t violate federal law by incorporating the defendants’ databases into his software. His antitrust allegations were dismissed for failure to state a claim.

Question Presented:
Is jurisdiction appropriate over the defendants for the plaintiff’s state-law tort claims? In other words, did the defendants aim their tortious conduct at the plaintiff and his Illinois based business for the purpose of causing him injury?

The court reasoned it is reasonable for those defendants to anticipate being brought into court in the plaintiff’s state of Illinois than to expect him to pursue each defendant in each one’s own jurisdiction. The court further explained that the defendants’ defamatory and tortious statements were circulated across the internet and therefore satisfy the precedential “express-aiming” requirement. The defendants were concluded to have “purposefully directed” their activities at Illinois.

Yes, although the Court held that the district court was correct in (1) dismissing the counts against one defendant in particular for lack of personal jurisdiction and (2) dismissing the antitrust claims against each defendant for lack of personal jurisdiction, the court reversed and remanded the order dismissing the state-law tort claims against four defendants.

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