("In an age of modern advertising and national media publications and markets, plaintiffs' argument that such conduct would make a defendant amenable to suit wherever the advertisements were aired would substantially undermine the law of personal jurisdiction."). In addition, advertising on the Internet is not tantamount to directing activity at or to purposefully availing oneself of a particular forum.
Thus, the Court finds that exercising jurisdiction over a defendant who merely advertises its services or product on the Internet would violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Exercising jurisdiction in such a case would be unjust and would disrespect the principles established by International Shoe and its progeny.
3. Plaintiff's Request to Transfer
Plaintiff requests that the Court transfer the case to the Southern District of New York if it concludes that it does not have jurisdiction. Twenty-eight U.S.C. § 1406(a) provides: "The district court of a district in which is filed a case laying venue in the wrong division or district shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer such case to any district or division in which it could have been brought." Thus, section 1406(a) mandates that a district court can transfer a case to another district only if the other district has personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
In this instance, defendant has a subsidiary, Migdal Madison N.V., that owns a hotel in New York City. Migdal Madison is a Curacao corporation. (Def. Resp. to Pl.'s Interrog. No. 2). Plaintiff claims that the New York hotel accepts reservations for all of defendant's hotels in Italy. (Farber Cert. P 6). Thus, plaintiff concludes that a New York court would have jurisdiction over defendant.
Courts have consistently found that a subsidiary corporation's contacts with the forum are not sufficient grounds to exercise jurisdiction over the parent corporation without a showing of something more than ownership. See, e.g., Lucas v. Gulf & Western Indus., Inc., 666 F.2d 800, 805-06 (3d Cir. 1981); Pfundstein v. Omnicom Group, 285 N.J. Super. 245, 253, 666 A.2d 1013 (App. Div. 1995). "Other factors which may have a bearing on the jurisdictional issue are whether the subsidiary played any part in the transactions at issue, whether the subsidiary was merely the alter ego or agent of the parent, and whether the independence of the separate corporate entities was disregarded." Lucas, 666 F.2d at 806. In this case, the evidence is far too scant to determine whether Migdal Madison, N.V., is the alter ego or agent of defendant or whether it is independent of defendant. Thus, the Court cannot determine whether a district court in New York has personal jurisdiction over defendant.
The Court normally does not transfer cases to other districts unless it is certain that the other district has personal jurisdiction over the defendant. If the Court is unsure whether the other district has personal jurisdiction over the defendant, it usually dismisses without prejudice so that the plaintiff does not lose his cause of action. This case, however, presents an unusual situation because if the Court dismisses without prejudice, the statute of limitations will bar plaintiff from bringing a claim.
Although the Court is sensitive to the policies underlying section 1406(a) and to the dockets in other districts, the interests of justice dictate that this case be transferred to the Southern District of New York. The question of whether personal jurisdiction exists in New York should be decided after the transfer.
Thus, the Court finds that it does not have personal jurisdiction over defendant, but will order that the case be transferred to the Southern District of New York. An appropriate Order is attached.
Dated: September 12, 1997
ALFRED M. WOLIN, U.S.D.J.
In accordance with the Court's Opinion filed herewith,
It is on this 12TH day of September, 1997
ORDERED that this case is transferred to the Southern District of New York.
ALFRED M. WOLIN, U.S.D.J.
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