United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JERZY P. LOZINSKI AND JOANNA LOZINSKI, Plaintiffs,
BLACK BEAR LODGE, LLC, THE BLACK BEAR LODGE-A CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, JOHN DOES AND JANE ROES 1-10, fictitious individuals, and ABC Corp. and DEF Corp. 1-10, fictitious corporations, Defendants.
Jerzy P. Lozinski ("Jerzy") and Joanna Lozinski
(collectively, the "Lozinskis") brought this action
against Defendants Black Bear Lodge, LLC, and The Black Bear
Lodge - A Condominium Association (collectively "Black
Bear") for personal injuries. Residents of New Jersey,
the Lozinski family rented a condo unit at Black Bear, a New
Hampshire resort, where Mr. Lozinski unfortunately suffered a
slip and fall. Now before the Court is Black Bear's
motion to dismiss the Lozinskis' amended complaint (the
"Complaint") for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2).
reasons stated below, I find that the Lozinskis have failed
to establish this Court's personal jurisdiction over
Black Bear, and I shall deny the Lozinskis' request for
leave to file a Second Amended Complaint. I will, however,
transfer this case to the United States District Court for
the District of New Hampshire.
the Lozinskis, are New Jersey citizens. (Compl. ¶ 2)
Defendants, Black Bear Lodge, LLC, and The Black Bear Lodge -
A Condominium Association, are both entities organized under
New Hampshire law and have their principal offices or place
of business in New Hampshire. (Id. ¶¶ 4-5)
August 2014, the Lozinskis viewed Black Bear's website
(2AC ¶ 8), and then reserved a condo unit at Black Bear
Lodge for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday
weekend. (Compl. ¶ 8) On November 27, 2014,
the Lozinskis and their three children arrived at Black
Bear's premises. (Id. ¶ 11) The following
evening, Jerzy used the elevated outdoor hot tub located near
the Lozinskis' condo unit. (Id. ¶ 13) Upon
exiting the hot tub, Jerzy observed ice on the top step of
the hot tub staircase, and he leaned on a hand railing for
support. The complaint alleges that the railing collapsed and
that, as a result, Jerzy fell down the staircase and was
injured. (Id. ¶¶ 17-20)
October 27, 2016, the Lozinskis filed suit here in the United
States District Court for the District of New Jersey,
asserting various causes of actions in tort against Black
LEGAL STANDARDS AND DISCUSSION
Personal Jurisdiction Standard
defendant files a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2), the plaintiff
bears the burden of establishing sufficient facts to show
that jurisdiction exists. Marten v. Godwin, 499 F.3d
290, 295-96 (3d Cir. 2007). Initially, a court must accept
the plaintiffs allegations as true and construe disputed
facts in favor of the plaintiff. Pinker v. Roche
Holdings, Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 368 (3d Cir. 2002). Where
factual allegations are disputed, however, the court must
examine any evidence presented. See, e.g., Eurofins
Pharma U.S. Holdings v. BioAlliance Pharma SA, 623 F.3d
147, 155-56 (3d Cir. 2010) (examining the evidence supporting
the plaintiffs allegations); Patterson v. FBI, 893
F.2d 595, 603-04 (3d Cir. 1990) ("'A Rule 12(b)(2)
motion, such as the motion made by the defendants here, is
inherently a matter which requires resolution of factual
issues outside the pleadings, i.e. whether in personam
jurisdiction actually lies. Once the defense has been raised,
then the plaintiff must sustain its burden of proof in
establishing jurisdictional facts through sworn affidavits or
other competent evidence.'") (quoting Time Share
Vacation Club v. Atl. Resorts, Ltd., 735 F.2d 61, 66 n.9
(3d Cir. 1984)).
plaintiff "need only establish a prima facie case of
personal jurisdiction." Miller Yacht Sales, Inc. v.
Smith, 384 F.3d 93, 97 (3d Cir. 2004). However, a
plaintiff may not "rely on the bare pleadings
alone" in order to withstand a motion to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction. "Once the motion is made,
plaintiff must respond with actual proofs, not mere
allegations." Patterson, 893 F.2d at 604
(internal citations omitted); Time Share Vacation
Club, 735 F.2d at 66 n.9.
assess whether it has personal jurisdiction over a defendant,
a district court must undertake a two-step inquiry. IMO
Indus., Inc. v. Kiekert, AG, 155 F.3d 254, 259 (3d Cir.
1998). First, the court is required to use the relevant
state's long-arm statute to see whether it permits the
exercise of personal jurisdiction. Id.; Fed. R. Civ.
P. 4(k). "Second, the court must apply the principles of
due process" under the federal Constitution.
WorldScape, Inc. v. Sails Capital Mgmt, Civ. No.
10-4207, 2011 WL 3444218 (D.N.J. Aug. 5, 2011) (citing
IMO Indus., 155 F.3d at 259).
Jersey, the first step collapses into the second because
"New Jersey's long-arm statute provides for
jurisdiction coextensive with the due process requirements of
the United States Constitution." Miller Yacht
Sales, 384 F.3d at 96 (citing N.J. Ct. R. 4:4-4(c)).
Accordingly, personal jurisdiction over a non-resident
defendant is proper in this Court if the defendant has
"'certain minimum contacts with [New Jersey] such
that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice.''
Provident Nat'l Bank v. Cal. Fed. Sav. &
Loan Ass'n, 819 F.2d 434, 437 (3d Cir. 1987)
(quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S.
310, 316, 66 S.Ct. 154 (1945)).
are two kinds of personal jurisdiction that allow a district
court to hear a case involving a non-resident defendant:
general and specific. A court may exercise general
jurisdiction over a foreign corporation where "the
defendant's contacts with the forum are so
'continuous and systematic' as to render them
essentially 'at home' in the forum state."
Senju Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. v. Metrics, Inc., 96
F.Supp.3d 428, 435 (D.N.J. 2015) (citing DaimlerAG v. Bauman, ___ U.S.___, 134 S.Ct. 746,
754 (2014); Goodyear DunlopTires Operations,
S.A. v. Brown, _ ...