United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ADAM S. ADELSON and RICKI ADELSON, Plaintiffs,
ENTERPRISE CAR RENTAL, COLM J. DUNPHY, COLM DUNPHY MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, THE HARTFORD INSURANCE COMPANY, JOHN DOE I-X AND ABC CORP. 1-X, Defendants.
KEVIN MCNULTY, U.S.D.J.
Adam S. Adelson and Ricki Adelson (the "Adelsons")
are residents of New Jersey who allege that they were injured
in a traffic collision in Amherst, Massachusetts. The driver
of the other car, defendant Colm Dunphy ("Dunphy"),
is a resident of Massachusetts. The owner or lessee of the
car is defendant Colm Dunphy Management Corporation
("Dunphy Corp."), a business located in
before the Court is the motion of Dunphy and Dunphy Corp.
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) to dismiss the complaint for lack
of personal jurisdiction. Because they have no ties to New
Jersey, the motion is granted.
the Adelsons, are New Jersey citizens, residing in Haworth.
Defendant Enterprise Car Rental ("Enterprise", not
involved in this motion) is a company with its "place of
business" in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Defendant Hartford
Insurance Company ("Hartford", also not involved in
this motion) is the Adelsons' personal injury insurer.
Defendant Dunphy is a resident of Milton, Massachusetts.
Defendant Dunphy Corp. is a corporation with its "place
of business" in Quincy City,
Massachusetts. (Compl. Parties ¶¶ 1-4)
April 25, 2015, the Adelsons were riding in a car they had
rented from defendant Enterprise. At the intersection of Lot
21 Access Road and Lot 31 Access Road in Amherst,
Massachusetts, their car was T-boned by another car. That
other car was driven by defendant Dunphy, and leased by
Dunphy Corp., a business owned by Dunphy's father. The
Adelsons suffered both personal injury and economic loss as a
result of the crash. (Compl. Count 1)
Adelsons filed the Complaint in this Court on April 3, 2017.
Count 1 alleges a state-law claim of negligence against
Dunphy and Dunphy Corp., as well as Enterprise. Count 2,
directed solely at Hartford as personal injury insurer, seeks
LEGAL STANDARDS AND DISCUSSION
Personal Jurisdiction Standards
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. ...