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Kemp v. ABC Insurance Company, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 24, 2017

KIARA KEMP.
v.
ABC INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., ET AL.

         SECTION “B” (5)

          ORDER AND REASONS

         I. NATURE OF MOTION AND RELIEF SOUGHT

         Before the court is Defendant Hyundai Steel Company's “Motion to Dismiss Based on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction” (Rec. Doc. 33), “Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss Based on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction” (Rec. Doc. 34) and “Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss Based on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction” (Rec. Doc. 38).

         IT IS ORDERED that the Defendant's Motion is DENIED.

         II. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Hyundai Steel, a South Korean corporation with its principal place of business there, sells various steel products worldwide. (Rec. Docs. 1 and 33-1). It contracted to sell steel reinforcing bars (rebar) to Steelinvest Jersey Ltd, of London, England. (Rec. Doc. 33-1). Hyundai Steel packaged the rebar at its plant and an independent stevedoring company transported the goods to the port of loading in Pohang, South Korea. (Rec. Doc. 33-1). SK Shipping arranged for the goods to be stowed aboard its time chartered vessel, the M/V UNITED TENORIO. (Rec. Doc. 33-1). SK Shipping selected the vessel's route from Pohang to New Orleans, Louisiana, where the rebar was to be discharged. (Rec. Doc. 33-1).

         While the vessel was in New Orleans, Kiara Kemp boarded the M/V UNITED TENORIO to inventory cargo and became permanently injured when a large bundle of rebar sprung free from its casing. (Rec. Doc. 1-1). Kemp filed suit in Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. (Rec. Doc. 1-1). Defendants then removed the action on the basis of diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. §1332. (Rec. Doc. 1). Following removal, Kemp filed an Amended Complaint naming Hyundai Steel as an additional defendant. (Rec. Doc. 15). Hyundai now moves to dismiss the claim for lack of personal jurisdiction. (Rec. Doc. 33).

         III. FACTUAL AND LEGAL FINDINGS

         When resolving a Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, a plaintiff must establish the court's jurisdiction over the defendant. Luv N'Care, Ltd. v. Insta-Mix, Inc., 438 F.3d 465, 469 (5th Cir. 2006). The plaintiff need not, however, establish jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence and a prima facie showing suffices. Id. The court must accept the plaintiff's uncontroverted allegations and resolve all conflicts between the facts contained in the parties' affidavits and other documentation in favor of jurisdiction. Id.

         A federal court sitting in diversity must satisfy two requirements to exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. Pervasive Software Inc. v. Lexware GmbH & Co. Kg, 688 F.3d 214, 220 (5th Cir. 2012). First, the forum state's long-arm statute must confer personal jurisdiction. Second, the exercise of jurisdiction must not exceed the boundaries of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Id. The limits of the Louisiana long-arm statute are coextensive with constitutional due process limits. Jackson v. Tanfoglio Giuseppe, SRL, 615 F.3d 579, 584 (5th Cir. 2010). Thus, the inquiry is whether jurisdiction comports with federal constitutional guarantees. Id.

         This has been interpreted to mean that no federal court may assume jurisdiction in personam of a non-resident defendant unless the defendant has certain “minimum contacts” with the forum state as to “not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945). Sufficient minimum contacts will give rise to either specific “case-linked” jurisdiction or general, “all-purpose” jurisdiction. Goodyear, 131 S.Ct. at 2851.

         A federal court sitting in diversity must satisfy two requirements to exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. First, the forum state's long-arm statute must confer personal jurisdiction. Second, the exercise of jurisdiction must not exceed the boundaries of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Mink v. AAAA Dev. LLC, 190 F.3d 333, 335 (5th Cir.1999). Since the Louisiana long-arm statute extends to the limits of federal due process, the inquiry collapses into a one-step due process analysis. Patin v. Thoroughbred Power Boats Inc., 294 F.3d 640, 652 (5th Cir.2002).

         A. GENERAL PERSONAL JURISDICTION

         A court may exercise general personal jurisdiction over a defendant consistent with due process when its “affiliations with the State are so ‘continuous and systematic' as to render [it] essentially at home in the forum State.” Daimler, 134 S.Ct. at 761. General jurisdiction permits the cause of action to be unrelated to the defendant's extensive contacts within the forum. Id. at 754. The Supreme Court has articulated a “limited set of affiliations with a forum [that] will render a defendant amenable to all-purpose jurisdiction there.” Id. at 760. For an individual, it is his or her domicile; for a corporation, the paradigmatic exemplars are where it is incorporated or has its principal place of business. Goodyear, 131 S.Ct. at 2853-2854. Hyundai Steel cannot be regarded as “at ...


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