United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
NANNETTE JOLIVETTE BROWN, District Judge.
This litigation arises from an accident that occurred at sea off the coast of Russia. Presently pending before the Court is defendant FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS's "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2)." Having reviewed the motion, the memoranda in support, the memorandum in opposition, and the applicable law, the Court will deny the pending motion without prejudice to permit Patterson to conduct further discovery limited to personal jurisdiction.
A. Factual Background
In his complaint, Plaintiff Danny Patterson alleges that he injured his knee and leg on August 21, 2012 while working for Blue Offshore as a Jones Act Seaman on the vessel "M/V Simon Stevin, " then located off the coast of the Russian Federation. Patterson, claiming negligence, alleges that Defendants FMC Technologies, Inc. ("FMCTI"), FMC Eurasia, LLC ("FMC Eurasia"), FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS ("FMC Kongsberg"), Aker Solutions, Inc. ("Aker"), Aker Subsea AS ("Aker Subsea"), and Blue Offshore "jointly and severally" caused his injuries, which rendered him unfit for duty. Specifically, Patterson alleges that FMCTI, FMC Eurasia, FMC Kongsberg, Aker, and Aker Subsea served as contractors charged with providing sub-sea umbilical equipment and technical supervision on the project where he sustained his injuries. According to Patterson: (1) the FMC defendants and Aker provided "unsafe, faulty, and improper" umbilical equipment; (2) FMCTI, FMC Eurasia, and the Aker defendants failed to perform their contracted work safely or provide technical supervision; (3) FMCTI, FMC Eurasia, and Aker breached the terms of their contracts, to which Patterson was a third-party beneficiary; (5) the Aker defendants failed to remedy the unsafe umbilical equipment; and (5) Blue Offshore failed to provide Patterson with a safe place to work.
B. Procedural Background
Patterson filed the present lawsuit on February 22, 2013. On July 3, 2013, Blue Offshore filed a "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to 12(b)(2)." Patterson filed an opposition on July 23, 2013. On August 2, 2013, with leave of Court, Blue Offshore filed a reply in further support of its motion. That same day, Patterson, with leave of Court, filed a supplemental opposition. On September 20, 2013, Blue Offshore filed a "Motion to Stay Discovery Pending Resolution of Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, " and Patterson filed a "Motion to Compel Discovery." Blue Offshore filed an opposition to Patterson's motion on October 1, 2013, and Patterson filed an opposition to Blue Offshore's motion on the same day. On October 8, 2013. the Court: (1) denied without prejudice Blue Offshore's Motion to Dismiss; (2) ordered that limited discovery be taken from Blue Offshore; and (3) denied as moot Patterson's Motion to Compel and Blue Offshore's Motion to Stay Discovery.
Blue Offshore re-urged its "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to 12(b)(2)" on February 21, 2014. Patterson filed an opposition to Blue Offshore's re-urged motion on March 11, 2014. On April 11, 2014, with leave of Court, Blue Offshore filed a reply in further support of its motion. Patterson filed his "First Supplemental and Amending Complaint" on May 13, 2014, adding FMC Eurasia, FMC Kongsberg, and Aker Subsea as defendants. FMCTI filed an answer on June 9, 2014; Aker filed an answer on June 12, 2014. FMC Kongsberg filed a "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2)" on August 26, 2014, and Aker Subsea filed a "Motion to Dismiss" on September 16, 2014. Patterson filed an opposition to FMC Kongsberg's motion to dismiss on September 9, 2014, and filed an opposition to Aker Subsea's motion to dismiss on September 23, 2014. On October 2, 2014, Patterson filed an unopposed motion to continue the hearing on Aker Subsea's motion in order to facilitate further jurisdictional discovery. The Court granted the motion on October 3, 2014, resetting the hearing on the motion to January 7, 2015.
II. Parties' Arguments
A. FMC Kongsberg's "Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2)."
In its memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss, FMC Kongsberg contends that this Court lacks both general and specific jurisdiction over it, because FMC Kongsberg: (2) [l]acks the continuous and systematic contacts with the United States required to support general jurisdiction, thereby making jurisdiction over it offensive to traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice; and (2) FMC Kongsberg lacks any "minimum contacts" with the forum related to Patterson's claims, has not "purposefully availed itself of the benefits and protections of Louisiana or the United States, and therefre is not subject to the Court's specific jurisdiction.
1. General Jurisdiction
According to FMC Kongsberg, this Court lacks general jurisdiction over it because, although Patterson has alleged that it is a "foreign corporation within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, " he does not make any other allegations to support this conclusion. FMC Kongsberg cites to an affidavit submitted by Tomas Bille, its legal counsel, in support of the proposition that it has no contacts with Louisiana or United States, "let alone the type of continuous and systematic contacts that would permit this Court to exercise general jurisdiction over FMC Kongsberg." Indeed, FMC Kongsberg argues, the company "does no business and performs no work in Louisiana or the United States, " demonstrating that it has not deliberately engaged in significant activities within the forum or the United States that would make it reasonable to require it to litigate here. Further, FMC Kongsberg contends, even if Patterson could show that it did some "limited regular business" within the United States, "any conceivable contacts would be insufficient to support this Court's exercise of general jurisdiction" over it.
FMC Kongsberg contends that its contacts with Louisiana, "if any, which is denied, " do not suffice "to support the demand that the corporation be amenable to suits unrelated to that activity, " and are not "so substantial and of such a nature as to justify suit against it on causes of ...