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Han v. Cho

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

March 21, 2019

KAREN C. HAN Plaintiff,
v.
YANGRAI CHO, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF No. 10)

          Helen Gillmor, United States Disrtict Judge.

         Plaintiff Karen C. Han, an individual, sued Defendant Yangrai Cho, an individual. Plaintiff Han claims that she has been injured by various corporations associated with Defendant Cho.

         Defendant Cho filed a Motion to Dismiss Complaint (ECF No. 10) based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2), failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), and failure to join a party under Fed.R.Civ.P. 19 pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(7).

         The Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendant Cho.

         Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Complaint (ECF No. 10) is GRANTED.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 18, 2018, Plaintiff Karen C. Han filed a Complaint. (ECF No. 1).

         On October 29, 2018, Defendant Yangrai Cho filed MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT. (ECF No. 10).

         On November 13, 2018, Plaintiff Han filed her Opposition. (ECF No. 17).

         On January 2, 2019, Defendant Cho filed his Reply. (ECF No. 20).

         BACKGROUND

         On July 18, 2018, Plaintiff Han filed a Complaint. (Compl., ECF No. 1). Plaintiff Han is a citizen of the State of Texas. (Compl. at ¶¶ 6, 9, ECF No. 1).

         Plaintiff Han brings suit in her individual capacity and as the “real party in interest” for Peninsula Asset Management (Cayman) Ltd. (“Peninsula Asset Management”). (Compl. at ¶¶ 6, 15, ECF No. 1).

         Han founded Peninsula Asset Management in December 1995 to engage in the business of providing financial services to investment banks in international finance centers. (Id.) Peninsula Asset Management was a Grand Cayman Islands corporation and is now defunct. (Id.; Memorandum at p. 2, attached as Ex. A to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 10-2).

         Plaintiff Han asserts claims solely against Defendant Yangrai Cho. Defendant Cho is a citizen of the Republic of Korea. (Compl. at ¶ 7, ECF No. 1; Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss at p. 3, ECF No. 10).

         The claims asserted against Defendant Cho are based on his status as shareholder and management figure in a group of corporations that include Hankook Tire Worldwide Co., Ltd. and Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., (these entities are referred to as “Hankook Tire”). (Compl. at ¶¶ 73-94, ECF No. 1). The Hankook Tire entities are corporations organized and existing under the laws of South Korea, with their principal place of business in Seoul, Republic of Korea. (Compl. at ¶ 7, ECF No. 1; Memorandum at p. 2, attached as Ex. A to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 10-2).

         Plaintiff alleges that Hankook Tire established a separate entity, Ocean Capital Investment Limited (“Ocean Capital Investment”) to raise investment funds. (Compl. at ¶ 17, ECF No. 1). Ocean Capital Investment is a Malaysian company. (Ex. A to Compl., ECF No. 1-1).

         The Complaint alleges that Hankook Tire hired Peninsula Asset Management in 1998 to act as Ocean Capital Investment's agent to raise funds for refinancing. (Compl. at ¶ 21, ECF No. 1). Hankook Tire and Defendant Cho allegedly used Peninsula Asset Management to perpetrate a money-laundering scheme to transfer $20 million dollars out of the Republic of Korea to an account in New York. (Id.)

         Plaintiff Han states three causes of actions solely against Defendant Cho:

(1) declaratory relief based on alter ego and/or piercing the corporate veil;
(2) fraud and fraudulent inducement; and
(3) civil conspiracy to commit fraud. (Compl. at ΒΆΒΆ 1-2, 7, ...

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