United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are: Defendant Allseas Group S.A.'s Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Rec. Doc. 11),
Plaintiff Clint Pineda's Response in Opposition (Rec.
Doc. 22), Defendant Allseas Group S.A.'s Reply (Rec. Doc.
39); Defendant Solitaire Transport Chartering (NV)'s
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Rec.
Doc. 12), Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition (Rec. Doc.
23), Defendant Solitaire Transport Chartering (NV)'s
Reply (Rec. Doc. 33); and Defendant Poseidon Personnel
Services, S.A.'s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal
Jurisdiction (Rec. Doc. 13), Plaintiff's Response in
Opposition (Rec. Doc. 24), and Defendant Poseidon Personnel
Services, S.A.'s (Rec. Doc. 35). Accordingly, IT
IS ORDERED that Defendant Allseas Group S.A.'s
Motion to Dismiss (Rec. Doc. 11), Defendant Solitaire
Transport Chartering (NV)'s Motion to Dismiss (Rec. Doc.
12), Defendant Poseidon Personnel Services, and S.A.'s
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Rec.
Doc. 13) are GRANTED.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
a marine personal injury case against three Defendants,
Allseas Group S.A. (“AGSA”), Solitaire Transport
Chartering (NV) (“STC”), and Poseidon Personnel
Services, S.A. (“PPS”). AGSA is a holding company
organized under the laws of Switzerland with its principal
place of business in Chatel-St. Denis, Switzerland.
See Rec. Doc. 11-1 at 1. STC is a Belgian company
and the owner of the vessel that plaintiff worked aboard.
See Rec. Doc. 12-1 at 14. PPS is a Swiss marine crew
supply corporation with its principal place of business in
Switzerland. See Rec. Doc. 13-1 at 1. Plaintiff is a
resident of Marrero, Louisiana and was hired by PPS in 2001.
See id. at 2. He was promoted to welder foreman and
signed an updated contract for employment with PPS in 2013.
See id. Plaintiff was assigned to work on the P/L
SOLITAIRE. See id. Throughout his seventeen years of
employment with PPS, plaintiff spent almost all of his time
working on the P/L SOLITAIRE. See Rec. Doc. 23 at 2.
STC purchased the P/L SOLITAIRE on November 9, 2015.
See Rec. Doc. 12-1 at 2.
April 20, 2018, plaintiff filed a complaint alleging
unseaworthiness and negligence under the Jones Act and
general maritime law. See Rec. Doc. 1. Specifically,
plaintiff alleges “that on May 24, 2016, he struck his
head on a piece of angle iron while descending a stairwell on
the P/L SOLITAIRE, which was located in The Netherlands at
the time.” Rec. Doc. 11-1 at 2. Plaintiff also alleges
that as a result of striking his head, he suffers from
“sever and permanently disabling injuries in his lumbar
and cervical spine, among other body parts.” Rec. Doc.
STC, PPS each filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction. See Rec. Doc. Nos. 11, 12, 13.
Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to each motion to
dismiss. See Rec. Doc. Nos. 22, 23, 24. AGSA, STC,
PPS each replied. See Rec. Doc. Nos. 39, 33, 35. In
this Order, the Court addresses each motion, along with the
relevant, subsequent filings.
Personal Jurisdiction Standard
jurisdiction attaches over a foreign defendant when a
defendant is amendable to service of process under the forum
state's long-arm statute and the exercise of jurisdiction
comports with due process. See Asarco, Inc. v. Glenara,
Ltd., 912 F.2d 784, 786 (5th Cir. 1990). The limits of
Louisiana's long-arm statute are co-extensive with the
limits of constitutional due process, so the inquiry is
whether this Court's exercise of jurisdiction over a
foreign defendant would offend due process. See Luv
N' Care, Ltd., v. Insta-Mix, Inc., 438 F.3d 465, 469
(5th Cir. 2006). Accordingly, this Court may exercise
personal jurisdiction over a foreign defendant, if two
requirements are satisfied. See Clark v. Moran Towing
& Transp. Co., 738 F.Supp. 1023, 1026 (E.D. La.
1990). The first requirement is that the foreign defendant
purposefully established “minimum contacts” with
the forum state such that maintenance of a lawsuit does not
offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice. See id. The second requirement is that it
would be fair to require the foreign defendant to litigate in
the forum state. See id. The plaintiff has the
burden to make a prima facie showing that personal
jurisdiction is proper. See Luv N' Care, Ltd.,
438 F.3d at 469. The Court “must accept as true the
uncontroverted allegations in the complaint and resolve in
favor of the plaintiff any factual conflicts.”
Stripling v. Jordan Prod. Co., LLC, 234 F.3d 863,
869 (5th Cir. 2000). However, the Court is not required to
accept conclusory allegation, even if uncontroverted. See
Panda Brandywine Corp. v. Potomac Elec. Power Co., 253
F.3d 865, 868 (5th Cir. 2001).
Personal Jurisdiction Over AGSA, STC, and PPS
minimum contacts analysis asks whether the foreign defendant
purposely availed himself of the benefits and protections of
the forum. See Sinclair v. StudioCanal, S.A., 709
F.Supp.2d 496, 506 (E.D. La. 2010). Minimum contacts can
arise in two ways:
When a cause of action arises out of a defendant's
purposeful contacts with the forum, minimum contacts are
found to exist[, ] and the court may exercise its
"specific" jurisdiction. Even a single, substantial
act directed toward the forum can support specific
jurisdiction. Where a cause of action does not arise out of a
foreign defendant's purposeful contacts with the forum,
however, due process requires that the defendant have engaged
in "continuous and systematic contacts" in the
forum to support the exercise of "general"
jurisdiction over that defendant. . .. Contacts of a more
extensive quality and nature are required. Asarco,
Inc., 912 F.2d at 786.
Court will now analyze whether it may exercise specific or
general jurisdiction over AGSA, STC, or PPS.
jurisdiction focuses on the relationship between the
defendant, the forum, and the lawsuit. See Monkton
Insurance Services, Ltd. v. Ritter, 768 F.3d 429, 432-33
(5th Cir. 2016). The relationship must arise out of contacts
that the defendant himself created with the forum. See
Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 277 (2014). Specific
jurisdiction is appropriate when a plaintiff's claims
arise out of or are related to a defendant's contacts
with the forum state. See Clark, 738 F.Supp. at
1026. “Specific jurisdiction over a nonresident
corporation is appropriate when the corporation has
purposefully directed its activities at the forum state and
the litigation ...