July 5, 2007
ROBERT ELKINS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
RANDEEP S. GREWAL, GREKA ENERGY INCORPORATION A/K/A GREKA OIL & GAS, INCORPORATION, ALEXI CORPORATION AND ALEXI HOLDINGS LIMITED, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, Docket No. L-310-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted March 6, 2007
Before Judges Axelrad and R. B. Coleman.
Plaintiff, Robert Elkins, appearing pro se, appeals from the May 15, 2006, dismissal without prejudice of his complaint against defendants Randeep S. Grewal, Greka Energy Incorporation a/k/a Greka Oil & Gas, Incorporation, Alexi Corporation and Alexi Holdings Limited. This action was commenced after Saba Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Greka Energy Corp. d/b/a Kiwi III, Ltd. d/b/a Saba Oil, Inc. filed a voluntary petition for relief pursuant to Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code in the Southern District of New York. Plaintiff, listed as a creditor in the bankruptcy petition, filed a complaint in New Jersey alleging that Grewal, the president and sole director of Alexi Holdings Limited, individually and for his own personal economic benefit, directed his agents or personal representatives to make false representations to induce plaintiff not to redeem his debentures. Plaintiff delivered the complaint at the New York office of Greka Energy Corp., which is a related entity of Grewal and Alexis Holdings Limited.
Judge Fred H. Kumpf entered an order dismissing the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, noting that plaintiff must file the action in defendants' place of residence. Grewal does not reside in New Jersey and does not maintain contacts or conduct business in New Jersey. Alexi Holdings Limited is a Cayman Islands corporation and does not maintain any business offices in New Jersey, does not have a registered agent in New Jersey, and is not registered to conduct business in New Jersey. Furthermore, neither Alexi Holdings Limited nor Grewal has conducted any personal or direct business with plaintiff. The judge rejected plaintiff's arguments that hiring an attorney and filing a motion to dismiss the action would constitute minimum contact with New Jersey sufficient to justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction.
On appeal, plaintiff contends that, through an extended course of communications, defendants induced him to refrain from redeeming his debentures and from filing a lawsuit. He further contends his forbearance caused him to lose the opportunity to redeem value or to become a judgment creditor of the ultimately bankrupt corporation. We affirm the dismissal without prejudice of plaintiff's complaint, for the same reasons expressed by Judge Kumpf in his comprehensive and well-reasoned opinion. We add the following comments.
There is nothing in the record to support plaintiff's allegations. Plaintiff acknowledged at the May 12, 2006 hearing that he never spoke with Grewal and was never contacted by him by phone or by letter. He further acknowledged that he was never contacted by any representative of Alexi. Even accepting plaintiff's representations that, around February 3, 2004, he was contacted by Grewal's attorney, Richard L'Altrelli, who claimed he was acting on and under the instructions of Grewal and his corporations, which at that point included Alexi Holdings Limited, that is insufficient to constitute purposeful conduct to confer specific and personal jurisdiction or continuous systematic contact to confer general jurisdiction.
Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that defendants did in fact engage in sufficient activities directed at plaintiff so that "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice" would not be offended by the State's exercise of jurisdiction over them. See Lebel v. Everglades Marine, Inc., 115 N.J. 317, 322 (1989); International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S.Ct. 154, 158, 90 L.Ed. 2d 95, 102 (1945). Affirmed.
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