The opinion of the court was delivered by: Roger W. Titus United States District Judge
On September 14, 2010, Plaintiff, Katarzyna Kusmierz, as an individual and in her capacity as Trustee of the VN Trust, filed a complaint against Defendant, Dagmara Napiorkowski, a/k/a Dagmara Bobieni, alleging that Defendant had written and published two letters defaming Plaintiff. For the reasons discussed below, this Court will grant Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Plaintiff, a Maryland resident, is the President of US Pharmacia International, Inc. and its associated affiliate companies (collectively, the "USP Group"). See ECF No. 1 ¶ 6. The USP Group is primarily engaged in the business of selling over the counter drugs in Poland and other Eastern European Countries. See id. ¶ 10. Plaintiff works at USP Group's United States headquarters located in Montgomery County, Maryland. See id. ¶ 19. Plaintiff is also the Trustee of the VN Trust, which currently holds primary ownership of the USP Group. See id. ¶ Defendant is a California resident and a citizen of both Poland and the United States. See ECF No. 6 at 1. The Defendant was married to the founder of the USP Group, Wojsiech Napiorkowski, but the couple divorced prior to his death in 2006. See ECF No. 1 ¶ 9. In the aftermath of Napiorkowski's death, Defendant believed she was entitled to certain payments as a beneficiary under the VN Trust. See ECF No. 6 at 2. On September 15, 2009, Defendant sent copies of two letters to individuals associated with the VN Trust and the USP Group in which Defendant questioned Plaintiff's management of the trust. See ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 12, 15.
In the first letter, Defendant allegedly made the following statements regarding the Plaintiff:
a) Plaintiff "misled" Defendant, thereby inducing Defendant into signing the property settlement with Napiorkowski.
b) Plaintiff "as trustee of the VN Trust, have been and are personally responsible for liabilities arising from the agreement and for settlements and timely payment of benefits therein. [Plaintiff], however, took advantage of [Defendant's] trust, lack of knowledge and health problems to take everything away from me."
c) "[Defendant] was paid only a small fraction of what [she] was supposed to receive. The waiver of [Defendant's] rights to shares in US Pharmacia International, Inc., twenty per cent (20%) of the shares in Unilab, Inc. and one half (1/2) of US Pharmacia was conditional, i.e. it depended upon the fulfillment of the provisions of the agreement, which has not taken place."
See id. ¶ 12. In the second letter, which included the first letter as an attachment, Defendant allegedly made further disparaging claims against Plaintiff. See id. ¶¶ 15, 18. Specifically, the second letter contained the following statements:
a) I hold [Plaintiff], who used to be my husband's closest associate, mainly responsible for the current situation. I am sure that she did everything she could to deprive me of my due rights. As an example I would like to draw attention to the fact that pursuant to the division and separation agreement, I was supposed to receive USD 600,000 upon entering into this agreement. This amount was for the shares in Pharmacia International, Inc., twenty five per cent (25%) of the shares in Unilab, Inc. and one half (1/2) of US Pharmacia that I was entitled to. Not only is it obvious that this amount is significantly smaller than the true value of shares, the payment was not actually made to me in any case.
b) There have been numerous such situations which demonstrate that [Plaintiff] used my husband's illness and my own problems for her own purposes.
c) It became apparent after my husband's tragic death that all of his assets were formally transferred to the VN Trust, which in effect meant into the hands of [Plaintiff] who manages my late husband's inheritance as VN Trust's sole trustee. As a result, she is the only person who truly benefited from the agreement entered into between my husband and me because she assumed total control over the VN Trust.
d) I want the court to look into [Plaintiff's] management of the VN Trust as the sole trustee because I am worried that the company's assets are being illegally wasted. I owe it to my late husband ...