United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
M.J. by and through her next friend NIESHA OLIVER, Plaintiff,
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, et al., Defendants.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter was originally filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis
County, Missouri on March 26, 2019 by Plaintiff M.J. by and
through her next friend, Niesha Oliver
(“Plaintiff”) against Defendants Ford Motor
Company (“Ford”) and one John Doe. On June 27,
2019, Ford removed the case to this Court. On July 5, 2019,
Ford filed its Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction
[Doc. No. 5]. A hearing on the Motion was held on August 29,
2019. For the reasons enumerated below, the Court finds that
there is no personal jurisdiction over Ford. Ford's
motion will be granted.
and Background 
is the natural daughter of the decedent, Bryant Johnson.
Plaintiff is a minor child who resides in St. Louis County,
Missouri. Ford is a Delaware Corporation whose business
includes designing, manufacturing, assembling, and selling
automobiles. Ford is registered to do business in the State
of Missouri, does substantial and continuous business
activities in the State of Missouri, and derives substantial
and continuous business revenue from its business activities
in the State of Missouri. Ford maintains offices in St.
Louis, Missouri, places vehicles for sale in Missouri, and
has a manufacturing plant in Missouri. Plaintiff does not
allege that the Vehicle in question was manufactured in
Missouri or sold by Ford to any party in Missouri.
designed, manufactured, assembled, and supplied the 2010 Ford
Fusion with the vehicle identification number
3FAHP0JA3AR286083 (the “Vehicle”). Ford sold,
distributed, marketed and otherwise placed the Vehicle into
the stream of commerce. Ford also designed, manufactured,
constructed, assembled, and inspected the steering wheel and
steering wheel column of the Vehicle. Decedent Bryant Johnson
owned the Vehicle. On August 31, 2017, Bryant Johnson was
operating the Vehicle for its intended purposes and in a
reasonably anticipated manner when the steering wheel of the
Vehicle suddenly dislodged from the steering column, causing
Bryant Johnson to crash into a pole at the intersection of
West Florissant and Ferguson in St. Louis County, Missouri.
Bryant Johnson died as a result of the injuries sustained in
brought this action against Ford alleging strict product
liability for defective design, manufacture, assembly or
installation of the steering wheel (Count I), and negligence
in designing, manufacturing, selling, distributing, and
failing to warn about the defective Vehicle (Count II).
Motion to Dismiss, Ford argues that the Court's exercise
of personal jurisdiction over Ford in this case would violate
Ford's constitutional due process rights. Specifically,
Ford claims that (1) this Court lacks general jurisdiction
over Ford because Ford is not “at home” Missouri;
and (2) this Court lacks specific jurisdiction over Ford
because Plaintiff's action does not arise out of or
relate to Ford's contacts with Missouri. In support of
its motion to dismiss, Ford submitted the July 3, 2019
affidavit of Ram Krishnaswami. Krishnaswami avers that Ford
is in the business of designing and manufacturing new cars
and trucks, is incorporated in Delaware, and has its
principle place of business in Dearborn, Michigan.
Krishnaswami further states that Ford's primary design
and engineering decisions with respect to the Vehicle were
made in Michigan and that the Vehicle was assembled in Mexico
and sold to an independently-owned Ford dealership in
survive a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, a plaintiff must plead ‘sufficient facts
to support a reasonable inference that the defendant can be
subjected to jurisdiction within the state.'”
Creative Calling Sols., Inc. v. LF Beauty Ltd., 799
F.3d 975, 979 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting K-V Pharm. Co. v.
J. Uriach & CIA, S.A., 648 F.3d 588, 591-92 (8th
Cir. 2011)). The Court views the evidence in a light most
favorable to the plaintiffs and resolves factual conflicts in
the plaintiffs' favor; however, plaintiffs carry the
burden of proof and that burden does not shift to defendants.
Epps v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 327 F.3d 642,
647 (8th Cir. 2003).
jurisdiction may be either general or specific.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California,
San Francisco Cty., 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1780 (2017).
“Specific jurisdiction refers to jurisdiction over
causes of action arising from or related to a defendant's
actions within the forum state, while general jurisdiction
refers to the power of a state to adjudicate any cause of
action involving a particular defendant, regardless of where
the cause of action arose.” Viasystems, Inc. v.
EBM-Papst St. Georgen GmbH & Co., KG, 646 F.3d 589,
593 (8th Cir. 2011). The Supreme Court has made clear that
the “primary concern” in determining the presence
of personal jurisdiction is “the burden on the
defendant.” Bristol-Myers, 137 S.Ct. at 1780
(quoting World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444
U.S. 286, 292 (1980)).
a limited set of affiliations with a forum will render a
defendant amenable to general jurisdiction in that
State.” Bristol-Myers, 137 S.Ct. at 1780
(quoting Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 137
(2014) (quotation marks omitted)). “For an individual,
the paradigm forum for the exercise of general jurisdiction
is the individual's domicile; for a corporation, it is an
equivalent place, one in which the corporation is fairly
regarded as at home.” Daimler, 571 U.S. at 137
(quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v.
Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 924 (2011) (quotation marks
omitted). “The paradigm forums in which a
corporate defendant is at home ... are the corporation's
place of incorporation and its principal place of business
....” BNSF Ry. Co. v. Tyrrell, 137 S.Ct. 1549,
1558 (2017) (quotation marks and citation omitted). Only in
an “exceptional case” could “a corporate
defendant's operations in another forum ... be so
substantial and of such a nature as to render the corporation
at home in that State.” Id. (quotation marks
and citation omitted).
preliminary matter, the Court addresses Plaintiff's
argument that Goodyear, Daimler, and
BNSF are so factually distinguishable from the
instant case that “their holdings are inapplicable to
the case at bar.” The holdings in Goodyear,
Daimler, and BNSF are broadly applicable to
the doctrine of personal jurisdiction. The factual
differences identified by Plaintiff are inconsequential to
the legal analysis undertaken in determining personal
jurisdiction. For example, Plaintiff asserts that “the
swaying factors in [Goodyear, Daimler, and
BNSF] are that in each one, Plaintiff had no
dealings in the State in which they sought to bring