STATE OF MISSOURI ex rel. CEDAR CREST APARTMENTS, LLC and PETERSON PROPERTIES, INC. d/b/a THE PETERSON COMPANIES, Relators,
THE HONORABLE JACK GRATE, Respondent.
ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN PROHIBITION
C. WILSON, JUDGE
Rene Aguiriano Martinez ("Martinez") filed a
lawsuit in the circuit court of Jackson County, alleging
personal injury sustained while working at an apartment
complex in Overland Park, Kansas. Two of the defendants,
Cedar Crest Apartments, LLC ("Cedar Crest"), and
Peterson Properties, Inc. d/b/a The Peterson Companies
("Peterson Properties," and, collectively with
Cedar Crest, "Relators"), are Kansas business
entities. Relators seek a writ of prohibition directing the
circuit court to dismiss Martinez's claims against them
for lack of personal jurisdiction. Because Martinez failed to
show that Relators are "at home" in Missouri and
failed to identify any conduct by Relators in this state out
of which his claims arise, the preliminary writ of
prohibition is now made permanent.
August 31, 2015, Martinez, a Kansas resident, alleges he was
working at an apartment complex in Overland Park, Kansas. He
was electrocuted and seriously injured when he touched a
ladder that had become charged due to arcing from or contact
with an overhead power line. On August 25, 2017, Martinez
filed a lawsuit for damages in the circuit court of Jackson
alleges Relators "owned and/or controlled and/or
maintained" the Kansas property on which he was injured
and, therefore, are liable to him under various theories
including premises liability. Relators are Kansas business
entities,  with Kansas employees, and their principal
places of business are in Kansas. Nevertheless, Martinez
claims Peterson Properties has been registered to do business
in Missouri since 1979, that it has solicited business here
during that period, that it has filed (unrelated) lawsuits in
this state, and that it owns (unrelated) rental property
also named as a defendant J.A. Peterson Enterprises, Inc.
("Peterson Enterprises"). Peterson Enterprises is a
Missouri corporation, it is the managing member of Cedar
Crest, and it owns (through a subsidiary) Peterson
filed a motion to dismiss on the ground the circuit court
lacked personal jurisdiction over them. Respondent overruled
Relators' motion. Relators sought - and were denied - a
writ of prohibition in the court of appeals and now petition
this Court for the same relief. This Court has the authority
to issue and determine original remedial writs, Mo. Const.
art. V, § 4.1, and the preliminary writ is now made
is an original proceeding brought to confine a lower court to
the proper exercise of its jurisdiction." State ex
rel. Bayer Corp. v. Moriarty, 536 S.W.3d 227, 230 (Mo.
banc 2017) (quotation omitted). In particular,
"[p]rohibition is the proper remedy to prevent further
action of the trial court where personal jurisdiction of the
defendant is lacking." State ex rel. Norfolk S. Ry.
Co. v. Dolan, 512 S.W.3d 41, 45 (Mo. banc 2017)
(quotation omitted). "However, prohibition is only
proper when usurpation of jurisdiction is clearly
evident." Id. (quotation and alteration
jurisdiction refers quite simply to the power of a court to
require a person to respond to a legal proceeding that may
affect the person's rights or interests."
Bayer, 536 S.W.3d at 230-31 (quotation and
alteration omitted). To exercise personal jurisdiction over a
non-resident corporation, such an assertion of jurisdiction
must be authorized by Missouri's long-arm statute, §
506.500, RSMo 2016, and it must not offend due process.
"It is a due process requirement limiting the power of
courts over litigants." Id. at 231. Due process
is satisfied when a court possesses "general - that is,
all-purpose jurisdiction" - or "specific - that is,
conduct-linked jurisdiction." Norfolk, 512
S.W.3d at 46 (citing Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S.
117, 121-22 (2014)).
a [s]tate exercises personal jurisdiction over a defendant in
a suit not arising out of or related to the defendant's
contacts with the forum, the [s]tate has been said to be
exercising 'general jurisdiction' over the
defendant." Id. (quoting Helicopteros
Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 415
n.9 (1984)). "A court normally can exercise general
jurisdiction over a corporation only when the
corporation's place of incorporation or its principal
place of business is in the forum state." Id.
(citing Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v.
Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011); Daimler, 571
U.S. at 126-27).
"[i]n 'exceptional cases,' general jurisdiction
may exist in an additional state if the corporation's
activities in that other state are 'so substantial and of
such a nature as to render the corporation at home in that
[s]tate.'" Id. (quoting Daimler,
571 U.S. at 139 n.19). The Supreme Court's decision in
Perkins v. Benguet Consolidated Mining Co., 342 U.S.
437 (1952) - in which general jurisdiction was found to exist
in Ohio state court over a Philippine mining company that
conducted business out of necessity from an office in Ohio
during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during
World War II - "remains the textbook case of general