United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
JOHN B. WEISNER and RONIA WEISNER, Plaintiffs,
FLIR SYSTEMS, INC. and JACK G. BLAKELY Defendants.
TERRENCE W. BOYLE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on defendants' motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or, in the
alternative, for forum non conveniens. [DE 13].
Plaintiffs filed a motion for extension of time for their
response in opposition. [DE 25]. Plaintiffs' motion for
extension of time [DE 25] is GRANTED. For the reasons that
follow, defendants' motion to dismiss [DE 13] is GRANTED.
This action is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for lack of
following relevant factual allegations are taken primarily
from plaintiffs' complaint, DE 1, and Mr. Weisner's
affidavit, DE 23.
FLIR Systems, Inc. ("FLIR), is an Oregon corporation
headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon that specializes in the
design and production of thermal imaging cameras and
component parts. DE 1, ¶ 2. Defendant Jack Blakely lives
in Saudi Arabia and has been a year-round resident in that
country since August 2012. DE 16, ¶ 4. Mr. Blakely is
Regional Director of Business Development for FLIR's
Surveillance Middle East & Africa business group and is
also the General Manager of FLIR's Riyadh office.
Id. ¶ 2.
John Weisner and Ronia Weisner are residents of Fayetteville,
North Carolina, where they have maintained a permanent
residence since 2005. DE 1, ¶ 1; DE 23, ¶ 4.
2016, Mr. Weisner saw an advertisement on LinkedIn for a
program management position with FLIR in Abu Dhabi, United
Arab Emirates. DE 23, ¶ 5. In December 2016, he applied
for the position online. Id. Mr. Weisner was in
Saudi Arabia in My 2017 visiting his wife Ronia- who was
working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at that time-when he received
a call from Mr. Blakely about his application. Id.
After a couple telephone conversations, Mr. Blakely arranged
for Mr. and Ms. Weisner to fly to Riyadh for an interview.
Id. ¶ 6. During this first meeting, the
Weisners explained to Mr. Blakely that were they to move to
Riyadh, Ms. Weisner would be giving up an excellent job in
Jeddah and would lose her residence permit. Id. The
Weisners stressed that it was therefore a non-negotiable
condition that both he and his wife be able to obtain
residence permits and Iqamas (Saudi Arabian work visa and
residence permits). Id. Mr. Blakely assured them
that they would receive the required permits. Id.
Mr. Weisner was in Saudi Arabia visiting his wife, Mr.
Blakely contacted him on numerous occasions via telephone,
and at some point during this period, Mr. Blakely offered him
the position. Id. ¶ 7. Mr. Blakely requested
the Mr. Weisner begin work immediately. Id. Mr.
Weisner advised that he did not have the required permits to
work, to which Mr. Blakely assured him that he would start
the process of getting the permits and again requested that,
in the meantime, Mr. Weisner start working. Id.
the contract negotiations, defendants made specific
representations to induce Mr. Weisner to enter into the
contract. DE 1, ¶ 10. These included promises to cover
costs for travel, for moving Ms. Weisner from Jeddah to
Riyadh, for personal travel back to the United States,
medical insurance coverage, housing, bonuses, and a vehicle
allowance. Id. The parties also specifically
discussed the benefits needed to move Mr. Weisner from North
Carolina and Mr. Blakely knew the Weisners were relying on
his representations. Id. ¶ 11.
formal offer letter addressed to Mr. Weisner's North
Carolina home is dated August 10, 2017 and a contract was
entered into on September 20, 2017. DE 1-1, Ex. A. The
contract was made retroactive, stating that Mr. Weisner's
employment would start on September 3, 2017. Id.
According to the contract, FLIR would apply for and obtain a
block/visa for the program manager position, which FLIR
represented would be used to obtain the necessary work and
residence permits. DEI, ¶ 14.
Weisner began work on September 3, 2017 under the belief that
FLIR was in the process of obtaining the work permits. DE 23,
¶ 9. He returned home to North Carolina in November 2017
to obtain a temporary work visa, meet with the FLIR offices
in Oregon, and provide information to the U.S.-Saudi Arabian
Business Council. Mr. Blakely and Mr. Weisner talked on the
phone repeatedly during this period, and payments were made
by FLIR to Mr. Weisner's bank account identified with his
North Carolina address. Id. ¶¶ 9-12.
repeated representations that the permit process was
underway, Mr. Weisner never obtained his work visa/Iqama and,
in fact, later learned that Mr. Blakely and NLIR had not been
working actively to secure the permits. Id.
¶¶ 15, 23-29. Plaintiffs learned that even prior to
contract formation, Blakely and FLIR knew they would be
unable to obtain the block/work visa, and that the Weisners
had relied on their representations. Id. ¶ 16.
In addition, FLIR refused to pay the substantial relocation
costs the Weisners incurred while moving their jobs and
residence to Riyadh. Id. ¶ 24.
result of not receiving the required permits and incurring
substantial monetary damages during the relocation process,
and for other breaches of the employment contract, Mr.
Weisner terminated the contract with FLIR in August 2018.
Id. ¶ 25. Mr. Weisner demanded return of $55,
000 withheld by FLIR for tax purposes without his consent,
which was refused. Id. ¶ 2.
filed this action in May 2019 against Mr. Blakely and FLIR
alleging breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation,
unfair and deceptive trade practices, and conversion. DE 1,
¶¶ 27-47. ...