The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Dennis M. Cavanaugh
This matter comes before the Court upon motion by Defendants Baylor Leasing, Inc. ("Baylor Leasing") and Robert Baylor ("Baylor") to dismiss the complaint of Plaintiff Joseph W. Bernisky ("Bernisky" or "Plaintiff") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for lack of jurisdiction. No oral argument was heard pursuant to Rule 78 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. After carefully considering the submission of the parties, and based upon the following, it is the finding of this Court that Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted.
Procedural History Plaintiff commenced this action against Baylor Leasing, Baylor and remaining Defendant Baylor Trucking, Inc. ("Baylor Trucking") alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent /negligent misrepresentation, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and violation of the New Jersey Wage Payment Law for failure to pay commission fees to Bernisky.
Plaintiff filed his Complaint on November 3, 2005, alleging that Baylor Trucking owed him commission-based compensation in an amount over $100,000. Bernisky then amended his Complaint, on November 15, 2006, to include Baylor and Baylor Leasing as new Defendants. On December 20, 2006, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, this action was removed to this Court.
Baylor and Baylor Leasing now move before this Court to dismiss Bernisky's Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or, alternatively, to transfer this matter to the appropriate federal forum in the District of Indiana pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404.
Bernisky is a resident of the State of New Jersey and conducts the majority of his business in this state. Baylor Trucking hired Bernisky in the State of Indiana. Bernisky both interviewed for this position in and paid taxes to the State of Indiana. Bernisky's W-2 and Tax Statement for 2004 list his employer as Baylor Leasing.
Baylor Leasing is based in the State of Indiana where it conducts the majority of its business. Baylor Leasing does not conduct any business or advertise in the State of New Jersey. They are not registered to conduct any business in this state. Baylor Leasing functions as a common paymaster for Baylor Trucking, whereby Baylor Leasing pays certain wages to individuals in order to maintain a confidential payroll system.
Robert Baylor is the president of Baylor Trucking and Baylor Leasing. He is a citizen and resident of the State of Indiana. Baylor does not maintain an office, have a bank account or own any real property in the State of New Jersey.
It is a well established judicial principle that a federal court is a court of limited jurisdiction and may only hear cases when the constitution grants it the power to do so. A federal court must have personal jurisdiction over a defendant so as to "not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." International Shoe Co. v. Washington 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945). A plaintiff must affirmatively establish proof of personal jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence to satisfy due process. Gen. Elec. v. Deutz AG, 270 F.3d 144, 150 (3d Cir. 2001). Absent this proof, a court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a defendant regardless of the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in the suit.
Personal jurisdiction is established when a defendant has contact with a forum state and can be divided into two types depending on the amount of contact that exists. General jurisdiction requires a "rigorous" burden of proof whereby a plaintiff must show that a defendant's contacts are continuous and substantial. Giangola v. Walt Disney World Co., 753 F.Supp. 148, 154 (D.N.J.1990). General jurisdiction exists only where a defendant has engaged in substantial, ...