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Case Number: 4:22-CV-249
Judge: Amos L. Mazzani
Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Grayson County)
Defendant's Attorney: Allison Paige Carroll
Description: Sherman, Texas personal injury lawyer represented Plaintiff who sued Defendants on fraud theories.
This case arises out of an alleged scam involving cryptocurrency, where Plaintiff Divya Gadasalli (“Gadasalli”) was promised romance and financial prosperity but ultimately ended up losing over eight million dollars. The specifics of the alleged fraudulent scheme devised by the Defendants Jerry Bulasa (“Bulasa”), Dong Lian, and Danyun Lin have been more fully set forth in the Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order on Gadasalli's emergency motion for a temporary restraining order (Dkt. #13).
Briefly, Gadasalli met Bulasa online through a dating service, and Gadasalli believed that they had a romantic connection. Eventually, Gadasalli began investing at the direction of Bulasa, who she believed was a successful cryptocurrency investor. Although she was informed that her investments had grown to approximately ten million dollars by Bulasa, Gadasalli was unable to withdraw any of the actual funds from her account. After multiple excuses from Bulasa and being down over eight million dollars in the span of a year, Gadasalli filed the pending lawsuit.
In addition to suing Bulasa and his alleged accomplices, Gadasalli also sued a number of entities, one of those being Defendant Binance Holdings, Ltd. (“Binance”) (Dkt. #24). Binance is a foreign digital currency wallet platform and is currently one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world (Dkt. #24 ¶ 17). Binance refers to itself as an “ecosystem” comprising of several interrelated components (Dkt. #24 ¶ 18).
On June 20, 2022, Binance filed the pending motion, asking the Court to dismiss any and all claims against it for a lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim (Dkt. #32). On July 13, 2022, Gadasalli filed her response, opposing Binance's motion on both grounds (Dkt. #37). On July 27, 2022, Binance filed a reply (Dkt. #39)....
Gadasalli v. Bulasa (E.D. Tex. 2023)
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In Texas, the long-arm statute's broad doing business language authorizes personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant as far as the federal constitutional requirements of due process will allow. Id. (citing Zinc Nacional, S.A. v. Bouche Trucking, Inc., 308 S.W.3d 395, 397 (Tex. 2010)). Accordingly, the Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over Binance only to the extent authorized by the Due Process Clause. The sole inquiry that remains then is whether personal jurisdiction offends or comports with federal constitutional guarantees. Bullion, 895 F.2d at 216. The Due Process Clause permits the exercise of personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant when the defendant has established minimum contacts with the forum state “such that maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Int'lShoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945).
Those “minimum contacts” can give rise to two types of personal jurisdiction: general or specific. See, e.g., Frank, 947 F.3d at 336. General jurisdiction exists only when the defendant's contacts with the forum are so “‘continuous and systematic' as to render them essentially at home in the forum State.” Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 127 (2014) (quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations., S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011)). Likewise, specific jurisdiction exists if the asserted claims arise out of or relate to the defendant's contacts with the forum. See, e.g., Carmona v. Leo Ship Mgmt., Inc., 924 F.3d 190, 197 (5th Cir. 2019). The Court will start its analysis on personal jurisdiction with Gadasalli's theory of alter ego.
Outcome: Defendant Binance Holdings Ltd.'s Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and Failure to State a Claim (Dkt. #32) is GRANTED.
It is further ORDERED that Divya Gadasalli's claim against Binance Holdings Ltd. for Civil Conspiracy, which is located in Count IV is DISMISSED without prejudice. All other claims by Divya Gadasalli will remain and all the other Defendants listed in Count IV will remain.