United States District Court, D. New Jersey
AMANDRA HICKS, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
HEALTH INSURANCE INNOVATIONS, INC., Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
LEDA DUNN WETTRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on a motion by defendant to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and for improper
venue. ECF No. 9. Plaintiff opposes the motion. ECF No. 12.
United States District Judge Susan D. Wigenton referred this
motion to the undersigned for a Report and Recommendation.
Having considered the parties' submissions, oral argument
before the Court, and for good cause shown, the Court
recommends that defendant's motion be GRANTED.
a putative class action alleging defendant violated the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227,
et seq. ("TCPA") by negligently,
knowingly, and/or willingly placing automated and prerecorded
calls to plaintiffs cell phone. Complaint
("Compl."), ECF No. 1 ¶ 1. Plaintiff alleges
defendant repeatedly placed automated calls to her cell phone
using an automated telephone dialing system
("ATDS"), which is prohibited by the TCPA.
Id. ¶¶ 15-16. Plaintiffs cell phone has an
"856" area code, which is the area code assigned to
portions of southwestern New Jersey. Id.
¶¶ 16-17. She alleges that the area code from which
defendant placed the automated call was "201, "
affiliated with northeastern New Jersey. Id. ¶
is a medical insurance sales corporation incorporated in
Delaware with its principal place of business in Florida.
Id. ¶¶ 2, 11. Dan Garavuso, Vice President
of defendant Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. submitted a
declaration stating that defendant does not maintain any
offices in New Jersey and has no physical infrastructure or
ability to initiate any telephone calls from the state of New
Jersey. ECF No. 9-3. Plaintiff has not meaningfully disputed
that the phone calls were not placed from within the state of
is a resident of Florida, and at all times relevant to the
instant matter was an individual residing in Pensacola,
Florida. Compl. ¶ 10. Plaintiff, therefore, received the
phone calls at issue in the state of Florida.
states she spoke with a representative of defendant on April
17, 2017, who advised plaintiff she would be placed on a
do-not-call list, and yet plaintiff has since received more
than a dozen phone calls from defendant. Id.
¶¶ 21-23. The phone calls appear to be an attempt
to reach another individual named Ocie Cosby, as defendant
left a voice message on plaintiffs cell phone stating that
the call was intended for "Ocie Cosby regarding a
monthly payment." Id. ¶¶ 19, 30.
filed this putative class action on May 11, 2017.
See ECF No. 1. On July 20, 2017, defendant filed the
instant motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and
improper venue. ECF No. 9. This Court heard oral argument on
November 27, 2017, and reserved decision on this motion.
moves to dismiss on the ground that this Court lacks personal
jurisdiction over the corporation. While plaintiff does not
assert a theory of general jurisdiction, plaintiff argues
this Court has specific personal jurisdiction over defendant.
See ECF No. 12, at 4 n.4. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court recommends the District Court find that
plaintiff has not met her burden to show the existence of
personal jurisdiction over defendant.
defendant contends personal jurisdiction over it is absent in
the forum, plaintiff bears the burden to show by a
preponderance of the evidence that personal jurisdiction
exists. D'Jamoos v. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd., 566
F.3d 94, 102 (3d Cir. 2009). A federal court must conduct a
two-step analysis to determine whether personal jurisdiction
exists: first, whether the forum state's long arm statute
permits jurisdiction and second, whether the exercise of
personal jurisdiction over the defendant comports with due
process. MO Indus., Inc. v. Kiekert AG, 155 F.3d
254, 259 (3d Cir. 1998). New Jersey's long-arm statute
permits exercising jurisdiction over non-residents "to
the uttermost limits permitted by the United States
Constitution." Charles Gendler Co. v. Telecom Equity
Corp., 102 N.J. 460, 469 (1986) (quoting Avdel Corp.
v. Mecure, 58 N.J. 264, 268 (1971)). Therefore, "we
ask whether, under the Due Process Clause, 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." O 'Connor
v. Sandy Lane Hotel Co., 496 F.3d 312, 316 (3d Cir.
2007) (internal quotation marks omitted).
jurisdiction may be based on either general or specific
jurisdiction. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Super. Ct. of
Cal, 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1780 (2017). General jurisdiction
over a defendant exists in the forum of an individual's
domicile and the forum "in which [a] corporation is
fairly regarded as at home." Goodyear Dunlop Tires
Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 924 (2011).
"A court with general jurisdiction may hear any
claim against that defendant.. . ."
Bristol-Myers, 137 S.Ct. at 1780.
personal jurisdiction, on the other hand, "aris[es] out
of or relate[s] to the defendant's contacts with the
forum, " Daimler AG v. Bauman,134 S.Ct. 746,
754 (2014) (quoting Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia,
S.A. v. Hall,466 U.S. 408, 414, n.8 (1984)). The Third
Circuit has laid out a three-part test to determine whether
specific jurisdiction exists: (1) the defendant must have
"purposefully directed [its] activities at the
forum"; (2) the litigation must "arise out of or
relate to at least one of those activities"; and (3) if
the first two requirements are met, the ...