persons from his old New Jersey office specifically requested that he do. Clinton told plaintiff that his former managers had said that he was not liked personally.
Hoping to escape the unsatisfactory situation in Rochester, plaintiff submitted a formal request to transfer. Against normal Xerox policy, and despite the fact that positions in New Jersey had been offered by company managers there, the request was denied by defendant Dianetti. Resigned to the transfer, plaintiff leased his residence and contracted to purchase a house in Rochester. Mrs. Wright took a leave of absence from her job in New Jersey. On January 18, the day the Wright family was to move to Rochester, plaintiff was told that he would be terminated as part of an "Involuntary Reduction in Force."
Plaintiff claims that the reduction in force was a pretext. He alleges that his position was not abolished, but that he was replaced by a white person. This person was laid off in a previous round of terminations, and then re-hired in plaintiff's stead. He maintains that the dissemination of the information in his personnel file, the defamatory statements about his work attitude and propensity for "troublemaking," the transfer, and ultimately his termination were all in retaliation for filing the internal complaint and motivated by racial bias. He claims that if he had been allowed to transfer back to New Jersey, he would not have been terminated at all.
Plaintiff filed this action in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County. Defendants removed it here on the basis of diversity of citizenship. The individual defendants now move for dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. As will be discussed more fully below, all live and work for Xerox in the State of New York.
In cases where the defendant has 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 Atlantique, 723 F.2d 357, 362 (3d Cir. 1983)). However, upon a Rule 12(b)(2) attack on personal jurisdiction, the Court must accept as true the allegations in the complaint, and resolve disputed issues of fact in favor of the plaintiff. Carteret Savs. Bank v. Shushan, 954 F.2d 141, 142 n.1 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 121 L. Ed. 2d 29, 113 S. Ct. 61 (1992).
This Court may exercise jurisdiction over any person who would be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the State of New Jersey. Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(e); North Penn Gas Co. v. Corning Natural Gas Corp., 897 F.2d 687, 689 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 847, 112 L. Ed. 2d 101, 111 S. Ct. 133 (1990). New Jersey's long-arm jurisdiction rule permits personal jurisdiction over non-resident defendants to the extent permitted by due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. DeJames v. Magnificence Carriers, Inc., 654 F.2d 280, 284 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1085, 70 L. Ed. 2d 620, 102 S. Ct. 642 (1981).
1. Minimum Contacts
International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 90 L. Ed. 95, 66 S. Ct. 154 (1945), is continually invoked as the "constitutional touchstone" for due process analysis of personal jurisdiction matters. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474, 85 L. Ed. 2d 528, 105 S. Ct. 2174 (1985). International Shoe held that a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant only where "minimum contacts" exist such that jurisdiction "does not offend 'traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" 326 U.S. at 316 (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463, 85 L. Ed. 278, 61 S. Ct. 339 (1940)). The purpose of restricting personal jurisdiction to the limits of due process is to protect the individual interests of non-resident defendants. United States v. Morton, 467 U.S. 822, 828, 81 L. Ed. 2d 680, 104 S. Ct. 2769 (1984); World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 291, 62 L. Ed. 2d 490, 100 S. Ct. 559 (1980).
Contacts with the forum sufficient to support personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant must be of a type that the individual "should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there." Burger King, 471 U.S. at 474 (citing World-Wide Volkswagen, 444 U.S. at 295). What constitutes minimum contacts varies with the "quality and nature of the defendant's activity," Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253, 2 L. Ed. 2d 1283, 78 S. Ct. 1228 (1958), but the unilateral activity of a plaintiff claiming a relationship with a nonresident defendant does not suffice to create the requisite forum contacts. Id.; Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 416, 80 L. Ed. 2d 404, 104 S. Ct. 1868 (1984); Kulko v. Superior Court of California, 436 U.S. 84, 93-94, 56 L. Ed. 2d 132, 98 S. Ct. 1690 (1978).
Defendants can be subject to either specific or general personal jurisdiction in a forum state. Specific personal jurisdiction may arise from particular or sporadic contacts if the cause of action arises out of, or relates to the defendant's forum related activities. Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 414 & n.8; North Penn-Gas Co., 897 F.2d at 690. There is sufficient due process contact for personal jurisdiction if the defendant purposefully has directed his activities at residents of the forum. Henry Heide, Inc. v. WRH Prods. Co., 766 F.2d 105, 108 (3d Cir. 1985). Where the nature or quality of a defendant's contact warrants, a single act can support jurisdiction when it is connected with the injury sued upon. Burger King, 471 U.S. at 475 n.18.
If a plaintiff's cause of action against a defendant does not arise out of the defendant's contacts with the forum state, the plaintiff must establish general personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Where defendant's activities in the forum are unrelated to the subject matter of the suit, plaintiff must show "continuous and substantial contacts" with the forum state. Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 414-16 & n.9; Provident Nat'l Bank v. California Fed. Savs. & Loan Ass'n, 819 F.2d 434, 437 (3d Cir. 1987). The Court is satisfied that general jurisdiction does not exist as to any of the individual defendants. Therefore, this branch of the doctrine will not be discussed further.
As a threshold matter, the Court will address defendants' claim that they cannot be subjected to the personal jurisdiction of this Court because their actions were pursuant to their duties as Xerox employees. The Court rejects this argument. Xerox's undoubted contacts with this forum will not be attributed to the individual defendants. However, a defendant's status as an employee will not nullify the power of his contacts with the forum to create amenability to suit there. Educational Testing Serv. v. Katzman, 631 F. Supp. 550, 559 (D.N.J. 1986).
Defendant's citation of Shapiro v. Sun Life Assurance Co., 117 F.R.D. 550 (D.N.J. 1987) is unavailing. That case is distinguished by Judge Rodriguez's finding that the plaintiff's allegations showed that the non-resident defendants did not intend to harm the plaintiff, but were acting as "mere conduits" of their corporate employer's policy. Id. at 556. The Court distinguished cases like Calder in which, as in this case, defendants had the authority within the scope of their employment to intentionally and wrongfully harm the plaintiff. Id.1
The Supreme Court's mandate to examine the "quality and nature of the defendant's activity," Hanson, 357 U.S. at 253, requires the Court to give particular weight to contacts with the forum that form the basis of an allegation of an intentional tort. As a matter of logic, where acts are intentional, the Court may assign a heightened level of foreseeability to their consequences. Courts have recognized the special importance of intentional, tortious acts in assessing whether personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant is reasonable. Shushan, 954 F.2d at 147 (citing Knight v. San Jacinto Club, Inc., 96 N.J. Super. 81, 232 A.2d 462 (Law Div. 1967)); Dakota Indus., Inc. v. Dakota Sportswear, Inc., 946 F.2d 1384, 1391 (8th Cir. 1991).
The Supreme Court discussed intentional torts in the context of libel in Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 79 L. Ed. 2d 804, 104 S. Ct. 1482 (1984), and set forth what is known as the "effects test" for personal jurisdiction over non-resident, intentional tortfeasors. In Calder, plaintiff was a well-known actress residing in California. In Florida, defendants wrote a libelous story about the plaintiff for their employer, a nationally distributed magazine. The only contacts the defendant writers had with California were some telephone calls connected with the investigation for the story. The Supreme Court held that the Constitution permitted the California courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over defendants.
Then Associate Justice Rehnquist wrote for the Court:
The allegedly libelous story concerned the California activities of a California resident. It impugned the professionalism of an entertainer whose television career was centered in California. The article was drawn from California sources, and the brunt of the harm, in terms both of respondent's emotional distress and the injury to her professional reputation, was suffered in California. In sum, California is the focal point both of the story and of the harm suffered. Jurisdiction over [defendants] is therefore proper in California based on the "effects" of their Florida conduct in California.