Koch Finds Little Merit in Kidnapping Suit Reboot

     (CN) – Billionaire industrialist William Koch says the former employee who has accused him of kidnapping fails even in an amended complaint to carry the day.
     Kirby Martensen sued Koch initially in October 2012, claiming he had been lured to Koch’s Aspen, Colo., ranch under the pretense of attending a March getaway for employees of Oxbow Group. Once at Bear Ranch, Koch allegedly had Martensen interrogated for several hours and then fired.
     The federal complaint, filed in the Northern District of California, accused Koch of having flown in a private security detail from Florida to stand guard at the ranch. Martensen later submitted evidence that Koch had buttressed that guard with a hired hand from Colorado law enforcement.
     After his termination, Koch allegedly put Martensen on a plane against his will and flew him to his home in California. Martensen said all this occurred because he learned of a plot by Oxbow to evade $200 million a year in federal taxes.
     Koch meanwhile accused Martensen of defrauding the company. He fought for dismissal of the initial complaint by challenging the California venue based on the site of the alleged events and his own Florida residency.
     Though a federal judge dismissed the case on March 1, Martensen amended his claims to cure any deficiencies.
     In a new motion to dismiss filed Thursday, Koch said the complaint must still fail.
     “The brief period Martensen spent in airspace over the Northern District of California and then taxiing on the runway at the Oakland airport simply does not constitute a ‘substantial part’ of the events giving rise to Martensen’s claims,” and therefore fail to meet the requirements stipulated by venue statute, according to the motion.
     Koch said the complaint should be dismissed for improper venue or transferred to Colorado.
     He also challenged as irrelevant the new allegations concerning local deputy sheriff whom Martensen says was paid $50 an hour to guard the ranch on the day of his visit and intimidate him.
     “Those Colorado officers have no relationship to California or this district or to any alleged events in California or this district,” the motion to dismiss states.
     Martensen contends the venue is in fact proper since his ordeal finally ended once returned to California soil, where he is a resident. He further says Koch has significant business interest there.
     Koch states, however, that Martensen’s position as an Oxbow executive meant that he “was in fact living and working in Singapore in March 2012.”
     “Martensen testified that he was not a resident of California from December 2011 to April 2012,” the motion states.
     Koch also claims that, despite Oxbow’s maintenance of offices in Long Beach, Calif., he does not conduct business there himself and “travels to California on rare and infrequent occasions, usually less than once or twice per year.”
     Therefore, “the amended complaint does not establish that the court may exercise either general or specific jurisdiction over Koch, who Martensen admits is a Florida resident,” according to the motion.
     “Martensen cannot establish that Koch allegedly caused harm that Koch knew was likely to be suffered in California,” since Koch believed Martensen to be a resident of Singapore, the filing continues.
     Koch furthermore challenged the claims as bogus.
     “The amended complaint still does not allege a plausible false imprisonment claim because it does not include facts showing confinement,” according to the motion. “Martensen does not allege that at any time during the purported detention he asked to leave, tried to leave, expressed fear of harm or was threatened with force,” Koch added.
     Koch is represented by John Hueston from Irell & Manella in Newport Beach.

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