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ClaimSolution, Inc. v. U.S. Insurance Claim Solutions, Inc.

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

April 30, 2019

CLAIMSOLUTION, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
US INSURANCE CLAIM SOLUTIONS, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Before the Court is Defendant U.S. Insurance Claim Solutions, Inc. (“Defendant”)'s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) (“the Motion”). (Doc. 9.) The Motion is fully briefed. (Docs. 9-1, 12, 13.) After careful consideration and for the reasons below, the Motion is GRANTED, and this case is DISMISSED without prejudice.

         Background

         The Complaint provides the following allegations. ClaimSolution, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) is a Missouri corporation. Plaintiff provides insurance claims processing and administration services in connection with both commercial and personal lines of business. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also offers adjusting and appraisal services for insurance companies. Plaintiff is the owner of the trademark registration for “CLAIMSOLUTION” issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on October 30, 2007, Registration No. 3, 324, 297. Plaintiff has registered the internet domain name “www.claimsolution.com” and uses this website to market, advertise, and promote its services.

         Defendant is incorporated in and maintains its principal place of business in California. Defendant assists insured individuals and companies with processing claims in their respective insurance company. Defendant markets, advertises, and promotes itself to the public as “US Claim Solutions.” Defendant has registered the internet domain name “www.claimsolutions.net” and uses the website to market, advertise, and promote its services.

         Defendant “currently and continuously uses the trademark CLAIMSOLUTION in association with the registered goods and services in nationwide commerce and claims an actionable and protectable interest in the trademark.” (Doc. 1, ¶ 10.) “US Claim Solutions is confusingly similar to CS's [Plaintiff] registered trademark CLAIMSOLUTION.'” (Doc. 1, ¶ 17.) “The similarity has and will cause market confusion.” (Doc. 1, ¶ 18.) On December 17, 2017, Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendant notifying Defendant that it was infringing on Plaintiff's registered trademark and demanded that Defendant cease any further use of the registered trademark. Defendant continues to use “US Claim Solutions” in connection with its business and has continued to market and promote its services through its website. Plaintiff alleges the goodwill and reputation of Plaintiff's business in connection with the CLAIMSOLUTION trademark is of significant value, and Plaintiff will suffer irreparable injury should Defendant's infringement continue. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges the following causes of action: trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)(A); common law trademark infringement and unfair competition; and cybersquatting pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(D).

         Plaintiff asserts this Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant because: (1) “Defendant has engaged in acts or omissions within the State causing injury, has engaged in acts or omissions outside this State resulting in injury within this State, ” and (2) Defendant “has otherwise made or established contacts with this State sufficient to permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction.” (Doc. 1.)

         Legal Standard

         I. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2)

         At issue in the Motion is whether this Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant. To survive a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff must allege “sufficient facts in the complaint to support a reasonable inference that the defendant can be subjected to jurisdiction in the forum state.” Steinbuch v. Cutler, 518 F.3d 580, 585 (8th Cir. 2008). “[T]he party asserting [personal] jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing a prima facie case.” Id. A complaint will be factually deficient if it does not allege sufficient facts upon which jurisdiction can rest. Dever v. Hentzen Coatings, Inc., 380 F.3d 1070, 1072 (8th Cir. 2004). In ruling on a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the court must view the allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Clockwork IP, LLC v. Clearview Plumbing & Heating Ltd., 127 F.Supp.3d 1020, 1025 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 31, 2015).

         There are two types of personal jurisdiction, specific and general jurisdiction. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 137 (2014).[1] General jurisdiction refers to a court's authority over a defendant where the case before the court is unrelated to the defendant's forum activities. Id. at 127. To be subject to general jurisdiction, a corporation's affiliations with the forum state must be “so constant and pervasive ‘as to render [it] essential[ly] at home'” in that state. Id. “[W]hen ‘a corporation is neither incorporated nor maintains its principal place of business in a state, mere contacts, no matter how ‘systematic and continues,' are extraordinarily unlikely to add up to an ‘exceptional case.'” State ex rel. Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. Dolan, 512 S.W.3d 41, 48 (Mo. banc 2017) (quoting Brown v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 814 F.3d 619, 629 (2nd Cir.2016)).[2]

         Specific jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant exists if the defendant “has purposefully directed [its] activities at [forum state] residents in a suit that arises out of or relates to these activities.” Johnson v. Arden, 614 F.3d 785, 794 (8th Cir. 2010) (quotation marks and citations omitted). “A federal court may assume jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant only to the extent permitted by the forum state's long-arm statute and the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.” Clockwork IP, LLC, 127 F.Supp.3d at 1025 (citing Dakota Industries, Inc. v. Ever Best Ltd., 28 F.3d 910, 915 (8th Cir. 1994)). Missouri's long-arm statute provides,

Any person or firm, whether or not a citizen or resident of this state, or any corporation, who in person or through an agent does any of the acts enumerated in this section, thereby submits such person, firm, or corporation, and, if an individual, his personal representative, to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state as to any cause of action arising from the doing of such acts: (1) The transaction of any business within this state; (2) The making of any contract within this state; (3) The commission of a tortious act within the state; (4) The ownership, use or possession of any real estate in this state . . . Only causes of ...

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