United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
brought this personal injury lawsuit against defendant JLG
Industries, Inc. (“JLG”). Defendant JLG has moved
to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction(#28). The
motion is fully briefed and ready for disposition.
April 30, 2015, plaintiffs' decedent, Randall Lee Grant,
was using a JLG E450AJ lift to replace light bulbs in a
parking garage when he became pinned between the ceiling of
the garage and the lift. The lift was provided to decedent by
his employer, ERMC III Property Management Co.
(“ERMC”). ERMC had purchased the JLG lift to
perform maintenance tasks. The decedent's injuries from
the accident were fatal. Plaintiffs claim that JLG's lift
was defective, and they filed a three-count complaint against
JLG for products liability, failure to warn, and negligence.
moves to dismiss because it contends that this Court lacks
personal jurisdiction over it.
diversity action such as this one, the Court “may
assume jurisdiction over the nonresident defendants only to
the extent permitted by the long-arm statute of the forum
state and by the Due Process Clause.” Romak USA,
Inc. v. Rich, 384 F.3d 979, 984 (8th Cir. 2004).
survive a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, the non-moving party need only make a prima
facie showing of jurisdiction; that is, the “plaintiff
must state sufficient facts in the complaint to support a
reasonable inference that defendants may be subjected to
jurisdiction in the forum state.” Steinbuch v.
Cutler, 518 F.3d 580, 585 (8th Cir. 2008).
jurisdiction may be either general or specific.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California,
San Francisco County, 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1780 (2017)
(“BMS”). The exercise of general
jurisdiction over a corporation may take place where
“the corporation is fairly regarded as at home.”
Id. (quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations,
S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 924 (2011)). “A court
with general jurisdiction may hear any claim against that
defendant, even if all the incidents underlying the claim
occurred in a different State.” Id. Here, the
parties appear to agree that because defendant JLG is a
Pennsylvania corporation with its principal place of business
in Pennsylvania, JLG is “at home” in Pennsylvania
and thus subject to general jurisdiction there. Plaintiff
does not attempt to argue that defendant is subject to
general jurisdiction in Missouri.
jurisdiction is very different. In order for a state court to
exercise specific jurisdiction, ‘the suit' must
‘aris[e] out of or relat[e] to the defendant's
contacts with the forum.'” Id. (quoting
Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746, 754 (2014)).
Plaintiff alleges that defendant subjected itself to specific
jurisdiction in Missouri because it designed, produced, and
manufactured the lift and placed the lift into the stream of
commerce in Missouri.
personal jurisdiction can be exercised by a federal court in
a diversity suit only if authorized by the forum state's
long-arm statute and permitted by the Due Process Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment.” Viasystems, Inc. v.
EBM-Papst St. Georgen GmbH & Co., KG, 646 F.3d 589,
593 (8th Cir. 2011). The Missouri Long-Arm Statute provides
that jurisdiction extends to “any cause of action
arising from” the “transaction of business
within” or the “commission of a tortious
act” within Missouri. § 506.500.1(1), (3) RSMo.
The Missouri legislature's objective in enacting the
statute “was to extend the jurisdiction of the courts
of this state over nonresident defendants to that extent
permissible under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”
State ex rel. Deere & Co. v. Pinnell, 454 S.W.2d
889, 892 (Mo. banc 1970). Thus, critical to the
“analysis is whether the exercise of personal
jurisdiction in this case comports with due process.”
Clune v. Alimak AB, 233 F.3d 538, 541 (8th Cir.
2000). The Constitution's Due Process Clause requires
that there be “minimum contacts” between the
nonresident defendant and the forum state “such that
the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice.”
Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 315
(1945) (internal quotations omitted).
do not address whether the defendant's conduct here
satisfies the long-arm statute. Rather, plaintiffs only
address whether JLG has the required minimum contacts with
Missouri. Although the Eighth Circuit has admonished that the
courts should analyze these questions separately,
Viasystems, 646 F.3d at 593 n.2, it appears that the
due process inquiry here is dispositive, see, e.g.,
Eight Circuit employs a five-factor test in determining
whether personal jurisdiction exists, giving
“significant weight” to the first three factors:
(1) the nature and quality of defendant's contacts with
Missouri; (2) the quantity of such contacts; (3) the relation
of the cause of action to the contacts; (4) the interest of
Missouri in providing a forum for its residents; and (5) the
convenience of the parties. Romak USA, Inc., 384
F.3d at 984 (quoting Dever v. Hentzen Coatings,
Inc., 380 F.3d 1070, 1073 (8th Cir. 2004)).
baseline for minimum contacts is some act by which the
defendant purposefully avails itself of the privilege of
conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking
the benefits and protections of its laws.”
Clune, 233 F.3d at 542 (internal quotation omitted).
Defendant's contact with Missouri must be such that it
“should reasonable anticipate being haled into court
there.” World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v.
Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980). Plaintiffs assert
that JLG has the required minimum contacts with Missouri
because it targets Missouri for sale of its products, and
advertises the availability of parts, services, products, and
literature in Missouri. Plaintiffs argue that JLG placed its
lift into the “stream of commerce” in Missouri
and that JLG maintains a distribution system within Missouri,
allowing personal jurisdiction to attach. Indeed,