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Duell ex rel. D.D. v. Kawasaki Motors Corp.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 1, 2013

DOUGLAS & HEATHER DUELL, On Behalf of D.D., a Minor Child, Plaintiffs,
v.
KAWASAKI MOTORS CORP., U.S.A., et al., Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 725

Appearances: Michael M. Mulligan, Esq., Carney's Point, N.J., Attorney for Plaintiffs.

Robert A. Assuncao, Esq., James Simon Coons, Esq., ANSA ASSUNCAO, LLP, East Brunswick, N.J., Attorneys for Defendant Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.

Delia A. Clark, Esq., William J Cattie, III, Esq., RAWLE & HENDERSON LLP, Marlton, N.J., Attorneys for Defendant East Coast Cycles, Inc.

OPINION

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HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Chief United States District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court on a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2), brought by Defendant East Coast Cycles, Inc., a Delaware corporation whose principal place of business is also in Delaware. [Docket Item 11]. This case arises from a motorcycle accident allegedly caused by a defective throttle mechanism assembled by Defendant East Coast Cycles (" East Coast" ). Because East Coast (1) conducts business with residents of New Jersey via the Internet, (2) knowingly conducts significant business with residents of New Jersey through the Powersports East showroom, (3) targets residents of New Jersey through its website and social media, and (4) advertises in a regional publication distributed in New Jersey, the Court concludes it has personal jurisdiction over the moving Defendant. Therefore, the Court will deny East Coast's motion to dismiss.

II. BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are drawn from the Amended Complaint and are accepted as true for the purposes of this motion. Defendant East Coast Cycles operates a regional motorcycle store, Powersports East, at 620 Pulaski Highway in Bear, Delaware, which sells multiple brands of motorcycles and power equipment. (Am. Compl. [Docket Item 3] at 2; Def. Opp'n at 1.) Defendant is an authorized dealer of Kawasaki motorcycles. (Am. Compl. ¶ 2.) East Coast does not have, and has never had, any employees, sales representatives, other agents based in New Jersey, nor does it have a place of business in New Jersey. (Lynn Nathan First Aff. ¶ ¶ 7-11.)

On November 18, 2010, Plaintiffs Douglas and Heather Duell, New Jersey residents, purchased a new Kawasaki motorcycle from East Coast as a Christmas present for their minor son, who is identified in this litigation by his initials " D.D." (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 1, 3.) Plaintiffs did not

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operate or modify the motorcycle between the time of purchase and Christmas Day. (Id. ¶ 4.) D.D. first operated the motorcycle on December 25, 2010, at which time an accident occurred, injuring D.D. (Id. ¶ 1.)

On November 26, 2012, Plaintiffs commenced this action against Defendants East Coast Cycles, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., and others, alleging that East Coast negligently assembled the motorcycle's throttle mechanism, causing D.D. to crash the bike and sustain serious and permanent injuries. (Id. ¶ ¶ 1, 5, 8.)

East Coast filed a Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Co-defendant Kawasaki and the Duells oppose the motion and have mustered evidence through certifications and documents supporting the exercise of personal jurisdiction in New Jersey over East Coast.

III. JURISDICTION

The court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Section 1332(a) confers jurisdiction over matters where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and all parties are citizens of different states. § 1332(a).

Here, Plaintiffs are citizens of New Jersey. East Coast is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Delaware. (Am. Compl. at 2.) Kawasaki is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in California. (Kawasaki Answer to Am. Compl. [Docket Item 7] at 1.) Plaintiffs assert that the monetary damages in this case exceed $100,000. (Am. Compl. at 4.) Therefore, there is complete diversity of ...


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