Gehling, 773 F.2d at 541); see also North Penn Gas, 897 F.2d at 690 n.2 (same); Reliance Steel Prods. Co. v. Watson, Ess, Marshall & Enggas, 675 F.2d 587, 589 (3d Cir. 1982).
Exton argues Our Farm is subject to general jurisdiction in New Jersey. Opposition Brief at 3-6. Exton predicates his assertion of general jurisdiction on the racing of horses by Our Farm at New Jersey tracks, its advertising in magazines which "can reasonably be expected to generate New Jersey business" and its business dealings with New Jersey residents such as Lopez. Opposition Brief at 5. According to Exton: "These facts demonstrate a systematic series of contacts concerning both the running and boarding of horses that the defendant has in New Jersey." Id. Exton concludes: "Our Farms (sic) should have reasonably anticipated being sued in New Jersey in connection with its many activities that have an impact here." Id. at 6 (citing World-Wide Volkswagen, 444 U.S. 286).
Our Farm appears to lack the "continuous and substantial" contacts with New Jersey necessary for Exton to establish general jurisdiction. Our Farm is a Pennsylvania corporation; its only facility is located in Pennsylvania. Id. "Our Farm has no offices, employees, real or personal property in New Jersey." Gambone Aff., P 6. Our Farm "does not regularly conduct business, conduct services or receive revenues from business activities in New Jersey." Gambone Aff., P 7.
The most significant connection Exton established between Our Farm and the forum is the occasional presence of Our Farm's racehorses in New Jersey and the periodic business Our Farm conducts with New Jersey trainers. Exton Decl., PP 3, 5-7. Such sporadic contacts with New Jersey do not permit the exercise of general jurisdiction over Our Farm. See e.g., Helicopteros, 466 U.S. 408, 80 L. Ed. 2d 404, 104 S. Ct. 1868; Mellon Bank, 983 F.2d at 554; Dent v Cunningham, 786 F.2d 173, 175 (3d Cir. 1986); Gehling, 773 F.2d at 544; Romero, 834 F. Supp. at 682.
In Helicopteros, the nonresident defendant solicited helicopter services, negotiated contracts and purchased about 80% of its helicopters in Texas. 466 U.S. at 410-11. The defendant had spent approximately four million dollars over an eight-year period on parts and accessories purchased from a company in Texas and regularly sent employees to Texas for training. Id. Despite these contacts, the Court held the activities of the defendant were not sufficiently "continuous and systematic" to confer general jurisdiction. Id. at 416. As the Third Circuit in Provident Nat'l Bank observed: "These activities were important but were not central to the defendant's business, the provision of helicopter services for South America oil and construction companies." 819 F.2d at 438.
Similarly, Exton has not demonstrated racing horses in New Jersey or Our Farm's other activities in New Jersey are central to Our Farm's business. Our Farm runs a farm located in Pennsylvania. Gambone Aff., P 4. Its business is the "boarding, breeding, training, treatment of and rehabilitation of thoroughbred, quarterhorses and other horses." Id., P 5. Racing horses in New Jersey does not appear central to Our Farm's business and is not sufficient to constitute "continuous and systematic" conduct. See Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 416; Dent, 786 F.2d at 175 (no general jurisdiction in New Jersey where auto accident occurred in California although defendant often visited New Jersey); Gehling, 773 F.2d at 544.
In Gehling, the Third Circuit held general jurisdiction was not established in Pennsylvania over a foreign medical college that advertised in non-forum newspapers circulated within the forum and drew six percent of its student body from the forum's residents. 773 F.2d at 541-42. General Jurisdiction was not found even though the school received "several hundred thousand dollars" annually from Pennsylvania residents and conducted a "joint international program" with a Pennsylvania college. Id. at 541-42. The Gehling court observed: "Advanced educational institutions typically draw their student body from numerous states, and appellants' theory would subject them to suit on non- forum related claims in every state where a member of the student body resides. " Id. at 542. Similarly, accepting Exton's general jurisdiction argument would expose Our Farm to suit in each state where it races horses.
The facts of the instant case demonstrate the absence of "continuous and substantial" contacts necessary to establish general jurisdiction over Our Farm. See e.g., Romero,c 834 F. Supp. 673, 680 (D.N.J. 1993) (no general jurisdiction over defendant with "little if any contact with the State of New Jersey"); Database, 825 F. Supp. at 1212 (no general jurisdiction over defendant that "does not maintain a continuous and substantial presence in New Jersey). Accordingly, general jurisdiction is absent.
B. Transfer of Action
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631 ("Section 1631"), where "the court finds that there is a want of jurisdiction, the court shall, if it is in the interest of justice, transfer [the] action ... to any other such court in which the action ... could have been brought...." Id. The Third Circuit has stated that "a district court lacking personal jurisdiction can transfer a case to a district in which the case could have been brought originally." Gehling, 773 F.2d at 544 (3d Cir. 1985); see Moravian Sch. Advisory Bd. of St. Thomas v. Rawlins, 33 V.I. 280, 70 F.3d 270, 274 (3d Cir. 1995); Reyno v. Piper Aircraft Co., 630 F.2d 149, 164-65 (3d Cir. 1980), rev'd on other grounds, 454 U.S. 235, 70 L. Ed. 2d 419, 102 S. Ct. 252 (1982); United States v. Berkowitz, 328 F.2d 358, 361 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 821, 13 L. Ed. 2d 32, 85 S. Ct. 42 (1964); Romero, 834 F. Supp. at 682; see also Henderson v. U.S., U.S. , 134 L. Ed. 2d 880, 116 S. Ct. 1638, 1644 (1996). "Section 1631 is an efficiency-oriented provision that governs the transfers of cases between federal courts." Rawlins, 70 F.3d at 277 (Becker, J., concurring and dissenting). Without question, personal jurisdiction exists over Our Farm in Pennsylvania where it resides and where the events giving rise to the instant case occurred.
Faced with the choice of dismissing the instant action for lack of personal jurisdiction or transferring the case to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the "interests of justice" dictate transfer is appropriate pursuant to Section 1631. See Goldlawr v. Heiman, 369 U.S. 463, 466, 8 L. Ed. 2d 39, 82 S. Ct. 913 (1962) (discussing transfer pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a)); Romero, 834 F. Supp. at 682. Accordingly, this action will be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, pursuant to Section 1631.
For the reasons stated, this matter is transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania pursuant to Section 1631.
Dated: 10 September 1996