LAKELAND — A Florida appeals court has overturned the decision of a lower court in a dispute between two brothers over their adult-orientated websites.
Social Media Ltd LLC (SMLL) and Social Media Inc. Ltd (SMIL) filed an appeal against a trial court order that denied a motion to quash service or dismiss the second award complaint.
“This case arose over a dispute regarding the ownership of several ‘adult-orientated’ websites and the merchant account associated with those websites,” the court decision stated.
The two brothers at the center of the case are Khalil Abdo and Joseph Abdo.
“The Appellees/Plaintiffs sought both a declaratory judgment establishing ownership in the websites and damages for the wrongful transfer of the websites and merchant account to SMLL and SMIL,” according to the court documents.
A hearing on Dec. 20 saw the trial court deny a motion to dismiss because it “incorrectly” concluded that SMLL and SMIL were residents of Hillsborough County, Florida.
“Despite this error, the trial court still entered a written order, denying the motion too quash service and/or dismiss the complaint,” the court decision stated.
The plaintiffs contend that SMLL and SMIL committed the torts of breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy to commit a breach of fiduciary duty and civil theft, according to the court decision.
Yet, SMLL and SMIL claim the plaintiff “failed to sufficiently plead any of those torts in their complaints,” the court decision stated.
The appeals court noted they agreed with SMLL and SMIL.
“It is clear that the Appellees/Plaintiffs failed to make any specific allegations that SMLL and SMIL breached a fiduciary duty, aided and abetted such a breach or conspired to facilitate one,” the court decision stated.
“We also conclude that the second amended complaint’s allegations were not sufficient to support the trial court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction,” the court document stated.
The appeals court reversed the trial court order denying the motion to dismiss the second amended complaint and remanded for further proceedings.