United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the Supplemental Motion to Dismiss (Doc,
61) filed by Michigan Ladder Company, LLC
("Michigan, LLC"). In its motion, Michigan, LLC
asserts that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over it.
Marvin Fulford and Rena Fulford ("Plaintiffs") and
Intervenor Plaintiff, the State of Louisiana, Office of the
Governor, Division of Administration, Office of Risk
Management ("ORM") filed memoranda in opposition,
(Docs. 76, 82, 99), and Michigan, LLC filed reply memoranda.
(Doc. 94, 95, 108). The Court has subject matter jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. For the following reasons,
Michigan, LLC's motion is DENIED.
suit arises out of an allegedly defective ladder. (Doc. 102
at ¶ 6). On February 2, 2015, Marvin Fulford was
allegedly servicing a suspended heating unit in Winnsboro,
Louisiana while standing on an articulated ladder when it
collapsed. Id. Mr. Fulford then allegedly fell,
fractured his spine, and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Id. Plaintiffs filed the instant action on January
8, 2016, naming Climbtek, Inc., the alleged manufacturer of
the ladder, as the sole defendant. (Doc. 1 at p. 2).
Plaintiffs brought claims under the Louisiana Products
Liability Act, claiming that the ladder was defective and
unreasonably dangerous. (Doc. 1 at p. 2). Plaintiffs then
advised the Court that Climbtek, an Illinois company, had
been dissolved, and they requested additional time to
determine whether it was a viable Defendant. (Doc. 7 at p.
2). On June 1, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their Second Amending
Complaint, adding Michigan, LLC as a defendant. (Doc. 11 at
p. 1). Plaintiffs alleged that Michigan, LLC manufactured the
ladder at issue, it purchased Climbtek's assets, and it
is therefore responsible for Plaintiffs' injuries.
(Id. at ¶ 4, 16-B), On June 30, 2017, the
Magistrate Judge granted Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File
its Third Amended Complaint, which named seven additional
defendants. (Doc. 101).
August 4, 2016, the Court ordered that Plaintiffs show cause
why their claims against Climbtek should not be dismissed for
failure to effectuate service of process. (Doc. 20). At the
show cause hearing, Plaintiffs requested time to conduct
discovery to determine whether Michigan, LLC was liable for
Climbtek's obligations. (Doc. 23). The Court granted
Plaintiffs request, and allowed Plaintiffs seventy-five days
to conduct limited discovery on the relationship between
Michigan, LLC and Climbtek. Id. The Court granted
one extension of time, and discovery concluded on January 1,
2017. (Doc. 37).
this discovery was ongoing, Michigan, LLC filed its first
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
("Rule") 12(b)(2), asserting that the Court lacked
personal jurisdiction over it. (Doc. 25). The Court denied
the motion without prejudice, concluding that the Court
lacked sufficient information regarding the relationship
between Michigan, LLC and Climbtek. (Doc. 60 at p. 3). In the
interest of judicial efficiency, the Court ordered Michigan,
LLC to refile its motion to dismiss with additional evidence.
(Doc. 60 at p. 3-4). Michigan, LLC then refiled its motion to
dismiss on February 3, 2017. (Doc. 61).
12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes
dismissal of a complaint where the Court lacks personal
jurisdiction. "Where a defendant challenges personal
jurisdiction, the party seeking to invoke the power of the
court bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction
exists." Luv N' Care, Ltd. v. Insta-Mix,
Inc., 438 F.3d 465, 469 (5th Cir. 2006) (citing
Wyatt v. Kaplan, 686 F.2d 276, 280 (5th Cir. 1982)).
Where a defendant disputes the factual bases for
jurisdiction, courts "may receive interrogatories,
depositions, or 'any combination of the recognized
methods of discovery' to help it resolve the
jurisdictional issue. Walk Haydel & Assocs., Inc. v.
Coastal Power Prod. Co., 517 F.3d 235, 241 (5th Cir.
2008) (quoting Thompson v. Chrysler Motors Corp.,
755 F.2d 1162, 1165 (5th Cir. 1985). Courts have broad
discretion over the scope of discovery. Walk Haydel,
517 F.3d at 241.
as here, a court does not hold an evidentiary hearing on
jurisdictional issues, "it should not act as a fact
finder and must construe all disputed facts in the plaintiffs
favor and consider them along with the undisputed
facts." Id. at 241 (internal citations
omitted). At this stage, the plaintiff also need only present
a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction.
Id. However, in assessing whether the plaintiff has
presented a prima facie case for personal
jurisdiction, courts "will not 'credit conclusory
allegations, even if uncontroverted."' Sealed
Appellant I v. Sealed Appellee 1, 625 Fed.Appx.
628, 631 (5th Cir. 2015) (quoting Panda Brandywine Corp.
v. Potomac Elec, Power Co., 253 F.3d 865, 869 (5th Cir.
has personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant if the
forum state's long-arm statute confers personal
jurisdiction over that defendant, and the forum state's
exercise of jurisdiction complies with the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment. See Latshaw v.
Johnston, 167 F.3d 208, 211 (5th Cir. 1999). Because
Louisiana's long-arm statute extends jurisdiction to the
full limits of due process, the Court must determine only
whether the exercise of its jurisdiction in this case
satisfies federal due process requirements. La. R.S. §
exercise of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant satisfies the Due Process Clause if: (1) the
defendant has purposefully availed itself of the benefits and
protections of the forum state by establishing "minimum
contacts" with that state; and (2) exercising personal
jurisdiction over the defendant does not offend
"traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice." Latshaw, 167 F.3d at 211 (citing
International Shoe Co. v. State of Washington, 326
U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). These required "minimum
contacts" may be established by contacts sufficient to
assert specific jurisdiction or general jurisdiction.
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474
(1985) (quoting World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v.
Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980)).
may exercise general pex-sonal jurisdiction over a defendant
when its "affiliations with the State are so
'continuous and systematic' as to render [it]
essentially at home in the forum State." Goodyear
Dimlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown,564 U.S. 915,
919 (2011) (quoting International Shoe, 326 U.S at
317). A corporation is generally only "at home" in
the state of its incorporation or its principal place of
business. BNSF R. Co. v. Tyrrell, 581 U.S. _____,
_____, 137 S.Ct. 1549, 1558 (2017) (internal citations
omitted). "Injecting a product, even in substantial
volume, into a forum's 'stream of commerce, '
without more, does not support general ...