from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas
HIGGINBOTHAM, SMITH, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.
E. Smith, Circuit Judge.
Carmona was injured while unloading cargo from a vessel
docked outside Houston. He sued Leo Ship Management, Inc.
("LSM"), a foreign corporation that managed the
ship. Noting that LSM had no control over the ship's
ports of call, the district court dismissed for want of
personal jurisdiction, holding that the company did not
purposely avail itself of the privilege of conducting
activities in Texas. We affirm in part, vacate in part, and
stevedore, Carmona was tasked with unloading cargo from the
M/V Komatsushima Star in April 2014. While he was rigging a
bundle of pipes in the ship's hold, the pipes fell and
injured his ankle and lower leg.
a Philippine corporation with its principal place of business
in Manila. None of its employees, officers, shareholders, or
directors has ever resided in Texas, and the company does not
own or rent property in the state. LSM solicits no business
in Texas and has never contracted with a Texas resident to
render performance there.
2009, LSM contracted with the owners of the M/V Komatsushima
Star to serve as the ship manager. In that capacity, LSM
supplied and supervised the crew and arranged for necessary
repairs and maintenance to ensure compliance with the laws
"of the places where [the vessel] trades." The
contract was freely terminable with two months' notice.
Under the agreement, LSM did not have an ownership interest
in the ship and could not direct where it traveled, what it
carried, or for whom it worked. Rather, the charterer or
sub-charterer possessed the sole authority to set the
ship's course. Nonetheless, the agreement required the
ship's owners and LSM "to maintain close
communication with each other and [to] share relevant
information regarding [the] ship's schedule" and
"port information." In fact, LSM had advance notice
that the ship would be docking in Texas to discharge the
a third party had loaded the pipes aboard the ship outside
the United States, Carmona sued LSM in state court, claiming
negligence under general maritime law and the Longshore and
Harbor Workers' Compensation Act ("LHWCA").
See 33 U.S.C. §§ 905(b), 933.
Specifically, he alleged that LSM breached its duty to (1)
stow the pipes properly; (2) minimize hazards associated with
falling pipes; (3) take precautions to protect workers; (4)
provide a safe work environment; (5) turn over the vessel in
a safe condition for discharging cargo; (6) warn of hidden
dangers; and (7) intervene. After removing to federal court,
LSM moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2).
district court granted the motion, finding that LSM did not
purposely avail itself of the benefits and protections of
Texas. The court reasoned that because LSM had no control
over the itinerary, any contact with the state was
"merely fortuitous or random." This appeal
review a ruling on personal jurisdiction de novo.
Sangha v. Navig8 ShipManagement Private Ltd., 882
F.3d 96, 101 (5th Cir. 2018). Where, as here, the district
court dismissed "without conducting an evidentiary
hearing, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing only
a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction."
Id. "We accept the plaintiff's
uncontroverted, nonconclusional factual allegations as true
and resolve all controverted allegations in the
plaintiff's favor." Panda Brandywine Corp. v.
Potomac Elec. Power Co., 253 F.3d 865, 868 (5th Cir.
2001) (per curiam).
is personal jurisdiction if the forum state's long-arm
statute extends to the nonresident defendant and the exercise
of jurisdiction comports with due process. Sangha,
882 F.3d at 101. Because Texas's long-arm statute is
coextensive with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment, the two inquiries merge. Id. Though
"[p]ersonal jurisdiction can be general or
specific," this case implicates only the latter. See
Seiferth v. Helicopteros Atu-neros, Inc., 472 F.3d 266,
271 (5th Cir. 2006). In evaluating whether due process
permits the exercise of specific jurisdiction, we consider
(1) whether the defendant has minimum contacts with the forum
state, i.e., whether it purposely directed its activities
toward the forum state or purposefully availed itself of the
privileges of conducting activities there; (2) whether the
plaintiff's cause of action arises out of or results from
the defendant's forum-related contacts; and (3) whether
the exercise of personal jurisdiction is fair and reasonable.
Id. (citation omitted). If the plaintiff establishes
the first two prongs, the burden shifts to the defendant to
make a "compelling case" that the assertion of
jurisdiction is not fair or reasonable.
there to be minimum contacts, a defendant must have
"purposefully availed himself of the benefits and
protections of the forum state" "such that he should
reasonably anticipate being haled into court
there." That requirement is the
"constitutional touchstone" of personal
jurisdiction. Burger King, 471 U.S. at 474. It
"ensures that a defendant will not be haled into a
jurisdiction solely as a result of random, fortuitous, or
attenuated contacts, or of the unilateral activity of another
party or a third person." Id. at 475 (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). That is, the
plaintiff cannot supply "the only link between the
defendant and the forum." Walden v. Fiore, 571
U.S. 277, 285 (2014). Rather, ...