Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Callista v. Inversora Internacional Hotelera S.A

January 21, 2009

JAMES CALLISTA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
INVERSORA INTERNACIONAL HOTELERA S.A, A COMPANY ORGANIZED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ETC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Joseph H. Rodriguez

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on the motion of Defendant Inversora Internacional Hotelera S.A. ("Inversora") to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2). For the reasons set forth below, as well as those placed on the record during oral argument, the motion will be granted.

I. Background

On or about January 15, 2005, Plaintiff James Callista was a guest at the Grand Flamenco Resort ("Grand Flamenco") in Punta Cana; the Grand Flamenco is owned and operated by Inversora, which is alleged also to do business as Occidental Hotels, Inc. While at the Grand Flamenco, all of the Plaintiff's meals were prepared and served by Inversora. Plaintiff has alleged that during his stay, as a result of Inversora's negligence, he contracted food poisoning. He seeks damages to compensate him for severe and permanent physical, emotional, and psychological injury and medical expenses. In a second count, Plaintiff also alleges that Inversora manufactured, prepared, and sold unwholesome food to him in violation of the New Jersey Food and Drug Act, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 24:1-1.

II. Analysis

Standard on a Rule 12(b)(2) Motion

If a defendant raises lack of personal jurisdiction as a defense, the plaintiff has the burden of showing "sufficient facts" to establish jurisdiction is proper. Mellon Bank (East) PSFS, Nat'l Ass'n v. Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1223 (3d Cir. 1992). The plaintiff meets it burden by making out a prima facie case of proper jurisdiction by "establishing with reasonable particularity sufficient contacts between the defendant and the forum state." Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). A plaintiff's allegations are "taken as true and factual disputes drawn in its favor" when the district court does not hold an evidentiary hearing on the jurisdictional facts. Miller Yacht Sales, Inc. v. Smith, 384 F.3d 93, 97 (3d Cir. 2004).

A plaintiff must make actual proofs and not just allegations of jurisdiction; it can do this with sworn affidavits and competent evidence but not on "bare pleadings alone." Id. (quoting Patterson v. FBI, 893 F.2d 595, 603-04 (3d Cir. 1990)). If the plaintiff meets it burden, the defendant has to make a "compelling" case that the Court exercising jurisdiction is "unreasonable." Mellon Bank, 960 F.2d at 1226 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). The court must determine personal jurisdiction for each defendant. Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U.S. 770, 781 n.13 (1984). A dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction is not a final judgment on the merits, which would preclude the claim in another court. Saudi v. Acomarit Mar. Servs., S.A., 245 F. Supp. 2d 662, 679 (E.D. Pa. 2003), aff'd 114 Fed. Appx. 449 (3d Cir. 2004).

Personal Jurisdiction, Generally

A federal court exerts personal jurisdiction to the extent authorized by the law of the state in which that court sits. See Provident Nat'l Bank v. California Fed. Sav. and Loan Ass'n, 819 F.2d 434, 436 (3d Cir. 1987) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(e)). The New Jersey Long-Arm Statute permits an exercise of jurisdiction to the fullest extent allowed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Nicholas v. Saul Stone & Co. LLC, 224 F.3d 179, 184 (3d Cir. 2000); N.J. Ct. R. 4:4-4.

Due process limits a state's power to assert personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. Helicopteros Nacionales de Columbia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 413-14 (1984) (citing Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714 (1878)). Due process is satisfied when a defendant has minimum contacts with a forum state, so that a court's jurisdiction over the defendant "does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). A suit offends due process when there are no ties, contacts, or relations between the state and the defendant. World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 294 (1980); Int'l Shoe, 326 U.S. at 319; see also Keeton, 465 U.S. at 780 ("[I]nquiry [into personal jurisdiction] focuses on the relations among the defendant, the forum and the litigation."). Conversely, if a party's contacts meet the constitutional minimum contacts requirement, the district court likely has personal jurisdiction. Miller Yacht, 384 F.3d at 96.

Two types of personal jurisdiction may be asserted over a defendant, specific and general.

Specific Jurisdiction

Whether a court can exercise specific personal jurisdiction depends on "the relationship among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation." Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 368 (3d Cir. 2002). Specific jurisdiction is established when the cause of action arises directly out of the defendant's contacts with the forum. Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 414 n.8. The threshold inquiry for specific jurisdiction is whether the defendant had sufficient "minimum contacts" with the jurisdiction. Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253 (1958). Minimum contacts are satisfied if "'the defendant purposely avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefit and protection of its laws.'" Hanson, 357 U.S. at 253 (citing Int'l Shoe, 326 U.S. at 319)). A single contact with a state can be enough to create specific jurisdiction, as long as the connection is "substantial." Burger King v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 476 n.18 (1985). Such purposeful contact with the forum makes it ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.