The opinion of the court was delivered by: Walls, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on the motion of the
defendant, Circus Circus Hotel, to dismiss the complaint of
Janice and Robert Decker for lack of personal jurisdiction and
for improper venue pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
12(b)(2), 12(b)(3), and to quash service of process, or, in the
alternative, to transfer this action to the United States
District Court for the District of Nevada pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
The Court decides this motion without oral argument
pursuant to Rule 78 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This
action will be transferred to the District of Nevada pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).
The plaintiffs, Janice and Robert Decker, are New Jersey
residents who have brought a personal injury action against the
defendant Circus Circus Hotel, a Nevada corporation with its only
place of business in Las Vegas, Nevada, for injuries arising from
an alleged negligent condition on the defendant's premises. This
complaint was originally filed in the Superior Court of New
Jersey, Law Division, Morris County alleging negligence and
seeking recovery for personal injuries. However, the defendant
removed the action to this Court. In lieu of answering the
complaint the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint
for lack of personal jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(3), and to quash or, in the
alternative, to transfer venue to the United States District
Court for the District of Nevada.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(e), federal
"district courts have personal jurisdiction over non-resident
defendants to the extent authorized under the law of the forum
state in which the district court sits." See Sunbelt Corp. v.
Noble, Denton & Associates, Inc., 5 F.3d 28, 31 (3d Cir. 1993).
New Jersey's long arm statute provides for personal jurisdiction
as far as is permitted by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution. See N.J. Ct. R. 4:4-4; Carteret Savings
Bank, FA v. Shushan, 954
746 F.2d 141, 145 (3d Cir. 1992); DeJames v. Magnificence Carriers,
Inc., 654 F.2d 280, 284 (3d. Cir. 1981). Therefore, the question
of whether this Court has jurisdiction over the defendant is
determined by federal constitutional law. See Mesalic v.
Fiberfloat Corp., 897 F.2d 696, 698 (3d. Cir. 1990).
The Fourteenth Amendment permits a state to exercise
jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant only where "the
defendant purposefully avails itself of the privilege of
conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the
benefits and protections of its laws." Burger King Corp. v.
Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475, 105 S.Ct. 2174, 2184, 85 L.Ed.2d
528 (1985) (quoting Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253, 78
S.Ct. 1228, 1239, 2 L.Ed.2d 1283 (1958)). It is the burden of the
plaintiff to prove that the defendant has purposefully availed
himself of the forum state. See Burke v. Quartey, 969 F. Supp. 921,
924 (D.N.J. 1997).
To prove that the defendant has purposefully availed himself
of that state, a plaintiff may rely upon a defendant's specific
contacts with the forum state. Personal jurisdiction pursuant to
such contacts is known as specific jurisdiction. Specific
jurisdiction is invoked when a claim is related to or arises of
out the defendant's contacts with the forum. See, Helicopteros
Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 416, 104
S.Ct. 1868, 1873, 80 L.Ed.2d 404 (1984); Dollar Sav. Bank v.
First Security Bank of Utah, 746 F.2d 208, 211 (3d Cir. 1984). A
court must first determine whether the defendant had the minimum
contacts with the forum necessary for the defendant to have
"reasonably anticipate[d] being haled into court there."
World-Wide Volkswagen Corporation v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297,
100 S.Ct. 559, 62 L.Ed.2d 490 (1980) (citations omitted). What
constitutes minimum contacts varies with the "quality and nature
of defendant's activity." Hanson, 357 U.S. at 253, 78 S.Ct. at
1240. In assessing the sufficiency of minimum contacts for
personal jurisdiction, the court must focus on the "relationship
among the defendant, the forum and the litigation." Keeton v.
Hustler, 465 U.S. 770, 104 S.Ct. 1473, 79 L.Ed.2d 790 (1984).
Otherwise stated, there must be at least "a single deliberate
contact" with the forum state that relates to the cause of
action. United States Golf Ass'n v. United States Amateur Golf
Ass'n, 690 F. Supp. 317, 320 (D.N.J. 1988). The unilateral acts of
the plaintiff, however, will not amount to minimum contacts.
Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 414, 104 S.Ct. 1868; Hanson, 357 U.S.
at 253, 78 S.Ct. at 1240.
Second, assuming minimum contacts have been established, a
court may inquire whether "the assertion of personal jurisdiction
would comport with `fair play and substantial justice.'" Burger
King Corporation v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 476, 105 S.Ct. 2174,
85 L.Ed.2d 528 (1985) (quoting International Shoe Company v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 320, 66 S.Ct. 154, 90 L.Ed. 95 (1945));
Pennzoil Products Co. v. Colelli & Assoc., Inc., 149 F.3d 197,
201 (3d Cir. 1998). For personal jurisdiction to comport with
"fair play and substantial justice," it must be reasonable to
require the defendant to defend the suit in the forum state. See
World-Wide Volkswagen, Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 292, 100
S.Ct. 559, 564, 62 L.Ed.2d 490 (1980). To determine
reasonableness, a court considers the following factors: the
burden on the defendant, the forum state's interest in
adjudicating the dispute, the plaintiff's interest in obtaining
convenient and effective relief, the interstate judicial system's
interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution of
controversies, and the shared interest of the several States in
furthering substantive social policies. Id. (internal quotation
marks omitted). Only in "rare cases [do the] minimum requirements
inherent in the concept of fair play and substantial justice . .
. defeat the reasonableness of jurisdiction even [though] the
defendant has purposefully engaged in forum activities." Asahi
Co., Ltd. v. Superior Court of Cal., Solano County, 480 U.S. 102,
116, 107 S.Ct. 1026, 1034, 94 L.Ed.2d 92 (1987) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
If the plaintiff cannot establish specific jurisdiction, a
court may exercise general jurisdiction over the defendant if the
defendant has maintained "continuous and systematic contacts"
with the forum state. Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 416, 104 S.Ct. at
1873. To establish general jurisdiction the plaintiff must show
significantly more than mere minimum contacts with the forum
state. Provident Nat'l Bank v. California Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n,
819 F.2d 434, 437 (3d Cir. 1987). Moreover, the facts required to
establish general jurisdiction must be "extensive and
persuasive." Reliance Steel Prods. v. Watson, Ess, Marshall,
675 F.2d 587, 589 (3d Cir. 1982).
B. Personal Jurisdiction.
Plaintiffs allege that the defendant Circus Circus Hotel has
sufficient contacts with New Jersey to allow this Court to
exercise in personam jurisdiction over the defendant and points
to the following facts: (1) the defendant has had one television
advertisement which consisted of a single spot that aired on a
national cable network in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan
area; (2) the defendant advertises in national magazines and
newspapers such as USA Today, People Magazine, and various other
travel magazines which are distributed nationwide; (3) the
defendant mails promotional material to former guests in New
Jersey and those New Jersey citizens who directly request
information from it; (4) the defendant has an Internet site where
customers can make reservations; (5) the defendant's sister
corporation, Circus Circus New Jersey, Inc. has filed for a
gaming license with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission; and
(6) the defendant's parent corporation, Circus Circus
Enterprises, Inc., has filed a breach of contract suit in New
Jersey. The defendant claims that these contacts are too tenuous
for this Court to exercise specific or general personal
jurisdiction over the defendant. The defendant further argues
that specific jurisdiction over it is unwarranted because this
cause of action did not arise out of nor is it related to any of