STATE EX REL. KEY INSURANCE COMPANY, Relator,
THE HONORABLE MARCO A. ROLDAN, Respondent.
ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN PROHIBITION
Insurance Company filed a petition for a writ of prohibition
directing the circuit court to dismiss, for lack of personal
jurisdiction, claims filed against it by Josiah Wright and
Phillip Nash. This Court issued a preliminary writ of
prohibition. Nash alleges Key committed the tort of bad faith
refusal to settle in Missouri, bringing Key within the
purview of Missouri's long-arm statute and establishing
the requisite minimum contacts necessary to satisfy due
process. The preliminary writ of prohibition is quashed.
Insurance Company is an insurance company incorporated under
the laws of the state of Kansas with its principal place of
business in Kansas. Key issued an insurance policy to Kansas
City, Kansas, resident, Takesha Nash (Takesha). The insurance
policy covered her 2002 Kia Optima. Takesha's father,
Phillip Nash (Nash), was involved in a motor vehicle
collision with Josiah Wright in Jackson County, Missouri,
while driving Takesha's Optima. Soon after the collision,
Wright's counsel informed Key of the collision, and Key
denied coverage. Wright sued Nash in Jackson County. Wright
and Nash agreed to submit their dispute to arbitration in
Jackson County. The arbitrator awarded Wright $4.5 million in
damages. The circuit court then confirmed Wright's
arbitration award as a final judgment.
arbitration, Wright filed a lawsuit against Key and Nash in
the Jackson County circuit court seeking to collect insurance
proceeds from Takesha's Key insurance policy. Nash filed
a cross-claim against Key, alleging Key committed the tort of
bad faith refusal to settle and breached its contractual duty
to defend him. Key filed a motion to dismiss Wright and
Nash's claims for lack of personal jurisdiction, which
the circuit court overruled. Key sought a writ of prohibition
from this Court directing the circuit court to dismiss Wright
and Nash's claims for lack of personal jurisdiction. This
Court issued a preliminary writ of prohibition.
Court has jurisdiction to issue original remedial writs. Mo.
Const. art. V, § 4.1.
A writ of prohibition is appropriate: (1) to prevent the
usurpation of judicial power when a lower court lacks
authority or jurisdiction; (2) to remedy an excess of
authority, jurisdiction or abuse of discretion where the
lower court lacks the power to act as intended; or (3) where
a party may suffer irreparable harm if relief is not granted.
State ex rel. Hawley v. Midkiff, 543 S.W.3d 604,
606-07 (Mo. banc 2018) (quoting State ex rel.
Strauser v. Martinez, 416 S.W.3d 798, 801 (Mo. banc
2014)). "Prohibition is the proper remedy to prevent
further action of the trial court where personal jurisdiction
of the defendant is lacking." Id. at 607
(quoting State ex rel. Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Dolan,
512 S.W.3d 41, 45 (Mo. banc 2017)). Prohibition will issue
only when the lower court's usurpation of jurisdiction is
"clearly evident." Id.
jurisdiction is a court's power over the parties in a
given case. Norfolk S. Ry., 512 S.W.3d at 46.
"The basis of a court's personal jurisdiction over a
corporation can be general-that is, all-purpose
jurisdiction-or it can be specific-that is, conduct-linked
jurisdiction." Id. This is not a case in which
general jurisdiction is applicable, as Key is a corporation
formed under Kansas law with its principal place of business
in Kansas. See id. ("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
jurisdiction over a foreign corporation exists when the
underlying lawsuit arises from the corporation's contacts
with Missouri. State ex rel. PPG Indus., Inc. v.
McShane, 560 S.W.3d 888, 891 (Mo. banc 2018). To
establish specific personal jurisdiction over a foreign
corporation, a two-prong test must be met: (1) the
defendant's conduct must fall within the long-arm
statute, § 506.500; and (2) the court must then determine
if the foreign corporation has the requisite minimum contacts
so as not to offend due process. PPG Indus., 560
S.W.3d at 891. "A court evaluates personal jurisdiction
by considering the allegations contained in the pleadings to
determine whether, if taken as true, they establish facts
adequate to invoke Missouri's long-arm statute and
support a finding of minimum contacts with Missouri
sufficient to satisfy due process." State ex rel.
Cedar Crest Apartments, LLC v. Grate, 577
S.W.3d 490, 496 n.5 (Mo. banc 2019).
Long-Arm Statute, § 506.500
506.500, provides in pertinent part:
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 any such acts:
(3) The commission of a tortious act within this state[.]
cross-claim alleges the tort of bad faith refusal to settle
against Key. In Missouri, bad faith refusal to settle is a
tort action. Scottsdale Ins. Co. v. Addison Ins.
Co., 448 S.W.3d 818, 829 (Mo. banc 2014). "[A] bad
faith refusal to settle action will lie when a liability
insurer: (1) reserves the exclusive right to contest or
settle any claim; (2) prohibits the insured from voluntarily
assuming any liability or settling any claims without
consent; and (3) is guilty of fraud or bad faith in refusing
to settle a claim within the limits of the policy."
Id. at 827.
Nash's allegations in his cross-claim as true, there are
facts established that invoke Missouri's long-arm statute
and make a prima facie showing as to the validity of his bad
faith refusal to settle claim. Wright's petition, and
subsequently Nash's cross-claim, allege jurisdiction is
proper in Missouri under § 506.500 because the action
arises out of a contract to insure a person, property, or
risk in Missouri. Further, Nash alleges he is a resident of
Jackson County, ...