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GITOMER v. ROSEFIELDE

October 23, 1989

ARNOLD J. GITOMER and HUB MUSIC PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
ALAN P. ROSEFIELDE, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOLIN

 ALFRED M. WOLIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Defendant has moved before this Court for an order quashing service of process and dismissing plaintiffs' complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The issue the Court will address is whether there are sufficient "minimum contacts" between the defendant and the State of New Jersey to support the assertion of in personam jurisdiction over defendant by this Federal District Court sitting in New Jersey. The Court concludes that there are insufficient contacts; therefore, defendant's motion to quash personal service and dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction will be granted.

 This action arises out of plaintiffs' investment in a New York general partnership known as 230 Central Park South Associates ("CPSA"). CPSA was formed in 1980 for the purpose of "owning, building upon, altering, repairing, leasing, and otherwise dealing with the land and premises known as 230 Central Park South, New York, New York ["the property"]." Complaint, para. 6. Plaintiffs allege that defendant Rosefielde, as managing general partner, collected monies on behalf of the partnership and "arbitrarily, capriciously, and improperly withheld from, and refused to pay" certain monies due to plaintiffs in respect to plaintiffs' investment in CPSA. Complaint, paras. 12, 15, 21. Plaintiffs also allege that they have been denied a "true, complete, and correct accounting of the affairs of [CPSA]." Complaint, paras. 25-26. Plaintiffs' third cause of action alleges that Rosefielde breached his fiduciary duties because of his participation in the sale of the property to W. T. Associates ("WTA"), a New York general partnership, and asks this Court to order defendant Rosefielde to account to plaintiffs for all monies received in respect to that transaction and the coop conversion which took place after the sale. Complaint, paras. 29-34.

 II. DISCUSSION

 In cases where the defendant has properly raised a jurisdictional defense, "the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating contacts with the forum state sufficient to give the court in personam jurisdiction." Time Share Vacation v. Atlantic Resorts, Ltd., 735 F.2d 61, 63 (3d Cir. 1984) (quoting Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee v. L'Union, 723 F.2d 357, 362 (3d Cir. 1983)). A federal district court sitting in diversity jurisdiction may assert personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant to the extent permitted by the long-arm statute of the forum state. See Fed.R.Civ. P. 4(e). The applicable long-arm statute, N.J. Ct. R. 4:4-4, permits personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant to the extent allowed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. DeJames v. Magnificence Carriers, Inc., 654 F.2d 280, 284 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1085, 102 S. Ct. 642, 70 L. Ed. 2d 620 (1981); Charles Gendler & Co. v. Telecom Equipment Corp., 102 N.J. 460, 469, 508 A.2d 1127, 1131 (1986). Thus, this Court's inquiry is limited to whether personal jurisdiction over defendant Rosefielde comports with the Due Process Clause itself. Carty v. Beech Aircraft Corp., 679 F.2d 1051, 1058 (3d Cir. 1982); DeJames, 654 F.2d at 284.

 In light of the "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice" inherent in the Due Process Clause, a state may exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant only if there are sufficient "contacts" between defendant and the forum state. International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S. Ct. 154, 158, 90 L. Ed. 95 (1945). In order for an individual's contacts with a forum state to constitute the requisite "minimum contacts," the connection with the forum state must be sufficient so that the individual "'should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.'" Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474, 105 S. Ct. 2174, 2183, 85 L. Ed. 2d 528 (1985) (quoting World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 295, 100 S. Ct. 559, 566, 62 L. Ed. 2d 490 (1980)). Implicit in the requirement of minimum contacts is the necessity that there be some act or acts by virtue of which defendant has purposely availed himself of the benefits and protections of the laws of the forum state. Burger King, 471 U.S. at 474-76, 105 S. Ct. at 2174-75.

 Burger King delineates a two-part analysis to resolve the Due Process issues. First, the Court must determine whether minimum contacts exist. Second, the Court must consider several "other factors" to determine whether the assertion of jurisdiction would comport with the concepts of fairness and justice inherent in the Due Process Clause. 471 U.S. at 476-77, 105 S. Ct. at 2184.

 A. Minimum Contacts

 The Court will first examine defendant's contacts with New Jersey in order to determine whether general jurisdiction may be asserted and then will discuss whether, in the absence of general jurisdiction, certain contacts might support the assertion of specific jurisdiction against defendant. For this Court to assert general jurisdiction, defendant's contacts with New Jersey must be continuous and systematic such as to indicate that defendant could reasonably anticipate being haled into court in New Jersey. In the case of specific jurisdiction, it is enough that the action before this Court has grown out of the contacts that defendant has had with the forum state.

 (1) General Jurisdiction

 Plaintiff Gitomer alleges that defendant is the President and owner of R & G Holdings, Inc., the corporate general partner of Field Properties and that since 1982, defendant has controlled and operated Field Properties. Plaintiff alleges that Field Properties is a New Jersey limited partnership that has marketed investment interests to New Jersey residents. See Gitomer Aff., para. 3. Defendant admits that Field Properties is a New Jersey partnership and that he is President of R & G Holdings, Inc., the corporate general partner, however, defendant alleges that R & G Holdings, Inc. is owned by Plumrose Company, Inc., a corporation which defendant controls. Rosefielde Reply Aff., para. 3. Defendant alleges that Field Properties has never had an office, a telephone listing, or any marketing activity in New ...


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