United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
ELITE MOTORSPORTS, LLC, an Oklahoma Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff,
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.
TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
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.
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].
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.