Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Matthews v. BNSF Railway Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division

May 23, 2017

BENJAMIN MATTHEWS, Plaintiff,
v.
BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE.

         Before 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.

         I. Background

         Defendant 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 (“MHRA”).

         According 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.

         In 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.[1] 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).

         II. The Prior Order Denying the Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

         In his 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.)

         The 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.

         Since 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. Furthermore,

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.

         Consequently, 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.

         III. The Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2) for Lack of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.