Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Elite Motorsports LLC v. RLB Construction, Ltd.

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

January 10, 2020

ELITE MOTORSPORTS, LLC, an Oklahoma Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff,
v.
RLB CONSTRUCTION, LIMITED, d/b/a ROOFTEC, a Texas Limited Partnership, and RELIABILE RESOURCES, LLC, d/b/a/ RBR MACHINE, LTD, a Texas Limited Liability Company, Defendants.

          ORDER

          TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 13] for lack of jurisdiction, or in the alternative to transfer venue. Plaintiff has filed a Response in Opposition [Doc. No. 17], to which Defendants have replied [Doc. No. 22]. The matter is fully briefed and at issue.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is an Oklahoma limited liability company, with its principal place of business in Garvin County, Oklahoma. Petition [Doc. No. 1-2], at 2. Rooftec is a Texas limited partnership, and RBR Machine is a Texas limited liability company. Id. This action was filed in an Oklahoma state district court and removed to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1332, 1441, 1446. The Court has original jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1332.

         Sometime in December of 2018, the parties allegedly entered into a contract whereby Plaintiff agreed to provide a “competitive race car and furnish all equipment and personnel necessary, ” for the duration of 18 races. Complaint [Doc. No. 1-2] at ¶¶ 7-8. The races were all to take place between February 2019 and November 2019. Id. None of the races for the 2019 racing season were scheduled to take place (or did take place) in the state of Oklahoma. See Brogdon Dec. [Doc. No. 13-1].

         Both parties allege the other failed to perform its obligations under the contract at issue. See Motion at 3; Response at 1. Defendants move to dismiss this action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2), asserting the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over them. Motion at 11. In the alternative, Defendants move the Court to transfer venue to the Southern District of Texas, in the interest of justice.

         STANDARD OF DECISION

         To establish whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction over a defendant is proper, federal courts sitting in diversity must engage a two-step inquiry. Harris v. Am. Int'l Grp., Inc., 923 F.Supp.2d 1299, 1303 (W.D. Okla. 2013) (DeGiusti, J.). The courts must determine whether the exercise of jurisdiction is consistent with: (1) the long-arm statute of the forum state; and, (2) the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. McClelland v. Watling Ladder Co., 729 F.Supp. 1316, 1318 (W.D. Okla. 1990). Because Oklahoma's long-arm statute has been interpreted to reach the full extent of due process, in Oklahoma, that test becomes a single inquiry. Rambo v. Am. South. Ins. Co., 839 F.2d 1415, 1416 (10th Cir. 1988). The Court's analysis will therefore focus on whether exercising personal jurisdiction over Defendants would offend due process under the United States Constitution.

         DISCUSSION

         A defendant may move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). Once personal jurisdiction is challenged by the defendant, the plaintiff “bears the burden of demonstrating that personal jurisdiction exists in the forum.” Skillings v. Crowder, No. 17-cv-572-JED-JFJ, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49900, at *4 (N.D. Okla. Mar. 26, 2019).

         The Supreme Court has recognized two ways for a forum to assert jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant: through an exercise of either general or specific jurisdiction. Sufficient minimum contacts might be established when some entity has contacts “so substantial and of such a nature” with a forum that such would allow for amenability to suit without offending due process. Those contacts need not have anything to do with case at issue. This would allow for the exercise of general jurisdiction, concerned with the connection between the forum and the defendant itself. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117 (2014).

         General jurisdiction contrasts with specific jurisdiction, which is concerned with the connection between the forum and the underlying controversy. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 473 n.15 (1985). Under a theory of specific jurisdiction, minimum contacts might arise from contact directly related to the cause of action, should that contact suffice to make the defendant amendable to suit. Id.

         I. Defendants are not constitutionally amendable to suit under a theory of general jurisdiction, as neither their principal places of business nor places of incorporation are in Oklahoma.

         In some cases, contacts with a forum may be “so substantial and of such a nature” that—though they might be unrelated to the suit—they would still allow for amenability without offending due process. Bauman, 571 U.S. at 117.

         The Supreme Court has limited the forum affiliations that would render a defendant amenable to general jurisdiction. To be constitutionally amendable to suit under this theory, a defendant must be deemed to be “at home” in the forum state. Id. at 127. A corporation is at home in its place of incorporation and its principal place of business. Id. A corporation's principal place of business is its “nerve center, ” or the place where it's operational corporate headquarters sit. Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 94 (2010). In very limited instances, operations in a forum other than place of incorporation or principal place of business may be “so substantial and of such a nature as to render the corporation at home in that State.” Bauman, 571 U.S. at 138.

         There is no dispute that Defendants, here, are a Texas limited partnership and a Texas limited liability company. Defendants have their principal place of business in Texas, and there is no argument made by Plaintiff that Defendants' contacts with Oklahoma are “so substantial and of such a nature” as to render Defendants essentially at home in the forum state. Id.

         If an exercise of personal jurisdiction is proper over Defendants at all, it must be an exercise of specific jurisdiction, as asserting general jurisdiction over these foreign Defendants would offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

         II. The Court may exercise specific jurisdiction over Defendants, as minimum contacts with the forum have been established and it would be reasonable to do so under the circumstances.

         For an exercise of specific jurisdiction to be constitutionally proper, the Court must find: (1) that minimum contacts with the forum have been established; and, (2) that the exercise of jurisdiction would be reasonable.

         A. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.