United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division
ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration of
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction or for Improper
Venue, or Alternative Request to Stay the Proceedings (doc.
33) (the “motion for reconsideration”). Defendant
seeks reconsideration of the Order (doc. 15) denying its
Motion to Dismiss (doc. 9) (the “motion to
dismiss”) for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Alternatively, Defendant seeks a stay of proceedings, pending
certain rulings by the United States Supreme Court. Upon
review, the motion for reconsideration will be GRANTED and
this action will be TRANSFERRED to the United States District
Court for the District of Nebraska.
removed this matter to federal court from the Circuit Court
of Greene County, Missouri, on June 3, 2016. (Doc. 1.)
Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint (doc. 7) (the
“complaint”) as a matter of right, claiming
violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”) and the Missouri Human Rights Act
to the complaint, Defendant, a Delaware corporation,
maintains a registered agent in the state of Missouri, and is
engaged in business in Missouri. (Doc. 7 at 2.) Plaintiff is
a resident of Missouri who applied for a position of
conductor with Defendant from his home in Missouri. He was
hired as a “conductor trainee” in McCook,
Nebraska. Plaintiff alleges that he understood the position
of conductor was to be “nationwide” by virtue of
the agreement with the union. Plaintiff further alleges that
he intended to use the seniority he accumulated during his
training to work in Missouri. Before Plaintiff began his
employment, he claims that he underwent testing at his home
in Missouri and at a healthcare provider in Missouri. Also,
during the time Plaintiff worked in Nebraska, Defendant
withheld Missouri employment taxes from Plaintiff's pay.
Ultimately, Plaintiff was terminated from the position and
was sent a certified letter to his address in Missouri
informing him of the termination.
response to the complaint, Defendant moved to dismiss the
action under Rule 12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure for lack of personal jurisdiction. On September 30,
2016, the Court denied the motion to dismiss, holding that
Defendant had consented to personal
jurisdiction. Defendant now seeks reconsideration of
this decision in light of the Missouri Supreme Court's
recent ruling in State ex rel. Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v.
Dolan, 512 S.W.3d 41 (Mo. 2017 en banc).
The Prior Order Denying the Motion to Dismiss for Lack of
opposition to the motion to dismiss, Plaintiff raised two
arguments in support of personal jurisdiction. First, he
asserted that Defendant consented to personal jurisdiction
because it maintains a registered agent in Missouri. (Doc. 13
at 6-10.) Second, he argued that, even if Defendant has not
consented, the Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant
under Missouri law. (Id. at 10-18.)
Court agreed with Plaintiff's first argument and denied
the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction,
finding that “Defendant is registered to do business in
Missouri and has a registered agent for service of
process.” (Doc. 15 at 5.) Thus, “in concert with
established Eighth Circuit and Supreme Court precedent,
” the Court held that Defendant had consented to
personal jurisdiction. (Id. at 5-6.) Because this
resolved the issue of personal jurisdiction, the Court did
not address whether it could exercise specific or general
personal jurisdiction over Defendant absent consent.
then, the Missouri Supreme Court has held that “[t]he
plain language of Missouri's registration statutes does
not mention consent to personal jurisdiction for unrelated
claims, nor does it purport to provide an independent basis
for jurisdiction over foreign corporations that register in
Missouri.” Dolan, 512 S.W.3d at 51.
the registration statute does not provide an independent
basis for broadening Missouri's personal jurisdiction to
include suits unrelated to the corporation's forum
activities when the usual bases for general jurisdiction are
not present. To the extent the holdings or dicta in prior
cases suggest otherwise, they go beyond the language of the
relevant statutes and should no longer be followed.
Id. at 52.
because the Missouri Supreme Court has clarified that
Missouri law “provides only that registration is
consent to service of process, ” it follows that the
original basis for the exercise of personal jurisdiction over
Defendant is no longer valid. Id. Plaintiff does not
oppose this point. As a result, the prior order denying the
motion to dismiss will be set aside as to the issue of
personal jurisdiction, and the Court will reconsider said
motion in light of Plaintiff's second argument, that even
if Defendant did not consent, the Court still has personal
jurisdiction over it under Missouri law.
The Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2) for Lack of