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Benitez v. JMC Recycling Systems, Ltd.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 10, 2015

ANTHONY BENITEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
JMC RECYCLING SYSTEMS, LTD., STRIP TECHNOLOGY, INC., DR. COPPER, LLC, J. DOE (A through Z) and R. ROE (A through Z), Defendants

Page 577

For Plaintiff: Barry A. Cooke, Esq., WILENTZ GOLDMAN & SPITZER P.A., Eatontown, NJ.

For Defendant: Ruth V. Simon, Esq., CLAUSEN MILLER P.C., Florham Park, NJ.

OPINION

Page 578

Joseph E. Irenas, Senior United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Anthony Benitez brought this products liability action against Defendants JMC Recycling Systems, Ltd. (" JMC" ), Strip Technology, Inc., and Dr. Copper, LLC to recover for injuries allegedly sustained while operating a metal recycling shear in a recycling facility in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

Pending before the Court is Defendant JMC's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). For the reasons stated herein, JMC's motion will be GRANTED.

Page 579

I. Background

Plaintiff Benitez was employee of Dr. Copper LLC, a New Jersey Corporation, and worked at Dr. Copper's recycling processing facility located at 2250 Sherman Avenue, Pennsauken, New Jersey. (Compl. at 2) According to the Complaint, on May 5, 2011, during the course of his employment, Plaintiff sustained severe and permanent injuries while operating a metal recycling shear. Plaintiff then brought the present lawsuit against Dr. Copper, and included claims against JMC, the alleged manufacturer and distributer of the metal recycling shear, and Strip Technology, the alleged distributor and retail seller of JMC recycling equipment.[1] (Compl. at 3-8)

JMC is a foreign corporation with its principal place of business in Nottingham, England. (Compl. at 2) Along with its motion to dismiss, JMC submitted a Declaration from its Director Sally Johnson providing further detail about the entity. (Johnson Decl. I) According to Ms. Johnson, JMC is a private limited company organized under the laws of the United Kingdom. (Id. ¶ 2) Ms. Johnson states that JMC has neither assets, offices, nor employees in New Jersey, and conducts no business in New Jersey. (Id. ¶ 4) JMC pays no taxes in New Jersey. (Id. ¶ 5) The company's Board of Directors has never conducted a meeting in New Jersey. (Id. ¶ 7) While JMC employees have travelled to the United States to attend trade shows, Ms. Johnson does not recall JMC employees ever having attended a trade show in New Jersey, and she claims that JMC employees have not travelled to New Jersey to conduct business of any kind for JMC. (Id. ¶ 8)

In 2003, JMC entered into an agreement with Strip Technology by which Strip Technology would be the sole distributor of JMC's products in the United States. (Id. ¶ ¶ 12-13) Strip Technology is also a foreign corporation located in Fort Worth, Texas. (Compl. at 2) Ms. Johnson states that JMC transferred title on all products, including the metal recycling shear at issue, to Strip Technology by contract in the United Kingdom prior to shipment to the United States. (Id. ¶ ¶ 13-14) Payment for the products JMC sold to Strip Technology also took place in England. (Id. ¶ 15) JMC has never controlled or owned any interest in Strip Technology. (Id. ¶ 11) The distribution relationship between JMC and Strip Technology has since ended. (Id. ¶ 15)

With regards to the relevant recycling shear, Ms. Johnson states that, if the allegedly defective product was manufactured by JMC, Strip Technology was the party that marketed, distributed, and sold the product. (Id. ¶ 10) JMC never shipped products to or marketed its products in New Jersey, and made no decisions as to where Strip Technology would sell the products after title transferred in England. (Id. ¶ ¶ 16, 18, 20) JMC provides no services to end users in New Jersey who purchase the products from Strip Technology, and no consumers can order new replacement parts directly from JMC. (Id. ¶ 21)

Plaintiff filed his Complaint against all Defendants on April 23, 2013. Dr. Copper answered and filed cross-claims against JMC and Strip Technology. JMC filed its Answer on October 9, 2014, and instituted cross-claims against all other Defendants.

Page 580

(Docket. No. 24) On October 31, 2014, Strip Technology answered and filed cross-claims against Dr. Copper and JMC. (Docket No. 28)

Since commencing the lawsuit, Plaintiff has settled with and voluntarily dismissed its claims against Dr. Copper. (Stipulation and Order of Dismissal as to Defendant Dr. Copper, Docket No. 10) Strip Technology has also voluntarily dismissed its cross-claim against Dr. Copper without ...


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