United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss or Alternatively
Motion to Transfer Venue (Rec. Doc. 7) filed by
Defendant Artist Rights Enforcement Corp.
(“AREC”). Plaintiff Jerri Jones opposes this
motion (Rec. Doc. 8). The motion, set for submission on April
3, 2019, is before the Court on the briefs without oral
argument. Having considered the motion and memoranda of
counsel, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds
that the Defendant's motion should be
GRANTED for the reasons set forth below.
Marie Johnson was a member of The Dixie Cups, a Louisiana
based music group. (Rec. Doc. 1 Complaint, ¶ 6). On
January 4, 1984, Johnson entered into a contract with AREC.
(Id. at 4). The contract established that AREC would
use its best efforts to obtain royalties owed to Johnson, and
in return, AREC would retain fifty percent of those
royalties. (Id. at 8). In October of 2016, Johnson
passed away and bequeathed her music royalties to her niece
and goddaughter, Jerri Jones. (Id. at 10). Plaintiff
Jones, a Texas resident, filed the instant action against
AREC, a New York corporation, asserting claims to
Johnson's royalties pursuant to dissolution of the AREC
contract. (Id. at 18). The Complaint alleges that
this Court has proper diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332 and venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1931. (Id. at 2-3). Defendant now requests
this Court to dismiss the case pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), and in the alternative, Defendant
requests this Court to transfer the matter to a court of
proper venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (Rec. Doc.
7, p. 1).
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.
(citing Mink v. AAAA Dev. LLC, 190 F.3d 333, 335
(5th Cir.1999)). 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) (citing Walk Haydel & Assocs. v.
Coastal Power Prod. Co., 517 F.3d 235, 242-43 (5th
Cir.2008)). Therefore, the relevant inquiry is whether
jurisdiction comports with federal constitutional guarantees.
exercise of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant satisfies due process when: (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) the exercise of
jurisdiction does not offend “traditional notions of
fair play and substantial justice.” Latshaw v.
Johnston, 167 F.3d 208, 211 (5th Cir.1999) (quoting
Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316,
66 S.Ct. 154, 90 L.Ed. 95 (1945)).
contacts may give rise to either “specific”
jurisdiction or “general” jurisdiction.
Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall,
466 U.S. 408, 414 n. 8-9, 104 S.Ct. 1868, 80 L.Ed.2d 404
(1984). Specific jurisdiction exists when a plaintiff's
cause of action arises from, or is related to, the
nonresident defendant's minimum contacts in the forum
state. Id. at 414 n. 8, 104 S.Ct. 1868. General
jurisdiction exists if the defendant has engaged in
“continuous and systematic” activities in the
forum state. Id. at 415, 104 S.Ct. 1868. In order
for a court to exercise general jurisdiction over a foreign
corporation, the corporation's “affiliations with
the State are so ‘continuous and systematic' as to
render them essentially at home in the forum State.”
Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 127, 134 S.Ct.
746, 754, 187 L.Ed.2d 624 (2014).
the court does not hold an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff
need only establish a prima facie case of personal
jurisdiction. Wien Air Alaska, Inc. v. Brandt, 195
F.3d 208, 211 (5th Cir.1999). Where facts are disputed
between the parties, the plaintiff presenting a prima facie
case is entitled to have the conflicts resolved in his favor.
Id. If the plaintiff makes a prima facie case that
minimum contacts exist, the defendant has the burden of
making a “compelling case” that the exercise of
jurisdiction would be unfair so as to offend traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice. Id.
With regard to Defendant's burden of showing that
jurisdiction over him would be unfair, a court may consider
the following factors:
(1) the burden upon the nonresident defendant; (2) the
interests of the forum state; (3) the plaintiff's
interest in securing relief; (4) the interstate judicial
system's interest in obtaining the most efficient
resolution of controversies; and (5) the shared interest of
the several States in furthering fundamental substantive
Bullion v. Gillespie, 895 F.2d 213, 216 (5th
Cir.1990) (citing Asahi Metal Indus. Co. v. Superior
Court, 480 U.S. 102, 113, 107 S.Ct. 1026, 94 L.Ed.2d
argues that Plaintiff's conclusory allegations do not
satisfy a plaintiff's burden in demonstrating that this
Court has personal jurisdiction. (Rec. Doc. 7-1, p. 6). AREC
asserts that it is a New York corporation with its principal
place of business in New York, New York; thus, it is a
citizen, resident, and domiciliary of New York.
(Id.). As a foreign corporation, AREC argues that it
has not established any requisite contacts with Louisiana
such to satisfy general jurisdiction and render it “at
home” in the state of Louisiana. (Id.). AREC
also asserts that this Court lacks specific jurisdiction
because AREC denies that it has purposefully availed itself
of the benefits and protections of the laws of Louisiana.
(Id. at 8). AREC states that Plaintiff can only cite
to one contact AREC had with Louisiana which is that the
contract was unilaterally signed by Johnson in Louisiana.
(Id.). Also, if conversion did take place, AREC
argues that any acts possibly facilitating conversion
occurred in New York, not Louisiana because the royalties
Plaintiff seeks to recover from AREC were remitted and
maintained in a bank account in New York. (Id.at
11). Lastly, AREC argues that this Court requiring it to
defend an action in Louisiana would offend traditional
notions of fair play and justice because AREC does not
conduct business in Louisiana and New York is over one
thousand miles away. (Id. at 12).
counters that AREC deliberately and intentionally sought out
business from Johnson and the other members of The Dixie Cups
in Louisiana. (Rec. Doc. 8, p. 5). Plaintiff argues that AREC
reached out to Louisiana residents to create a continuing
contractual relationship with several artists including
Johnson. (Id. at 7). Plaintiff cites to a Fifth
Circuit decision regarding a case brought by AREC for royalty
payments pursuant to a similar contract with another
Louisiana artist, Huey Smith. (Id. at 6). She also
argues that the Southern District of New York and the
Superior Court of California have dismissed this matter for
lack of personal jurisdiction over Plaintiff, and the Eastern
District Court of Texas has dismissed this matter for lack of
personal jurisdiction over AREC. (Id. at 2).
Court finds that Plaintiff failed to present a prima facie
case for this Court's personal jurisdiction over AREC.
The only contacts that are before the Court to consider
include: (1) AREC allegedly contacted Johnson, a Louisiana
resident at the time, for business; and (2) Johnson
thereafter unilaterally signed the contract in Louisiana. The
existence of a contractual relationship, although relevant,
does not automatically establish sufficient minimum contacts.
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz,471 U.S. 462, 478,
105 S.Ct. 2174, 2185, 85 L.Ed.2d 528 (1985). The Supreme
Court has determined that “the prior negotiations and
contemplated future consequences, along with the terms of the
contract and the parties' actual course of dealing, must
be evaluated to determine whether a defendant purposefully
established minimum contacts within the forum.”
Id. However, the Fifth Circuit held that
communications relating to the performance alone are
insufficient to establish minimum contacts. McFadin v.
Gerber,587 F.3d 753, 760 (5th Cir. 2009). As the Court
lacks any additional contacts or evidence to ...