Hanover failed to follow corporate formalities or that Hanover performed functions that benefitted Garden State and which Garden State would otherwise have to perform itself. There is no allegation that by breaching the Cost Control contract, Hanover's business, as opposed to Garden State's business, was benefited. For this reason, we do not base jurisdiction over Hanover based on Garden State's acts. We therefore must consider jurisdiction over Hanover based on the allegations directed to it personally.
TJS alleges that Hanover regularly deals with Garden State, which regularly conducts business in Pennsylvania, and also that Hanover regularly deals through Garden State to conduct business in Pennsylvania. Hanover allegedly deals regularly with Garden State's sales force, including giving Garden State funds to pay its salesmen. Further, Hanover regularly stores goods belonging to Garden State's Pennsylvania-based customers, and goods it stores are regularly sent to Pennsylvania by Garden State.
We find that this is not enough to make Hanover subject to personal jurisdiction in Pennsylvania. TJS has not alleged that Hanover has direct ties to Pennsylvania on its own, as opposed to contacts which Garden State has that TJS has attributed to Hanover. Even if Garden State created its Pennsylvania ties, by paying for Garden State's Pennsylvania sales force, this is only an indirect contact by Hanover with Pennsylvania. Further, whether Hanover's customers sent products into Pennsylvania from Hanover's warehouse does not demonstrate any affirmative act by Hanover itself to enter into Pennsylvania. What Hanover's customers do with their goods once they are removed from Hanover's warehouse is not within Hanover's control. We will not attribute Hanover's customers' actions to Hanover. Instead, we find that there is no general personal jurisdiction over Hanover in Pennsylvania.
2. Specific Jurisdiction
TJS bases specific jurisdiction over Hanover in part on the theory that Hanover's acts caused economic harm to TJS in Pennsylvania. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5322 (3) and (4). TJS also bases jurisdiction on the allegations that through Garden State, and/or Cost Control, Hanover tortiously interfered with TJS's Pennsylvania-based customers, shippers and agents.
There are no allegations that Hanover itself, as opposed to Hanover through Garden State, acted to cause injury in Pennsylvania. Unlike Carteret Savings Bank v. Shushan, 954 F.2d 141, 147-48 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 817, 121 L. Ed. 2d 29, 113 S. Ct. 61 (1992), for example, there are no allegations that Hanover made any phone calls into the forum, entered into the forum at any time or took any other voluntary actions in Pennsylvania from which it could be reasonably said that "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice" are met. International Shoe, 326 U.S. at 316. For this reason, we find that Hanover is not subject to specific personal jurisdiction in Pennsylvania.
In the alternative, TJS has requested the opportunity to conduct discovery on the issue of jurisdiction. Motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction are frequently resolved after an opportunity for discovery. See e.g., Provident, 819 F.2d at 438; Modern Mailers, 844 F. Supp. at 1051. We will therefore grant this motion as to Defendant Hanover since we are at an early stage in the litigation.
II. MOTION TO TRANSFER
In the alternative, defendants seek to transfer venue to the Southern District of New York or to the District of New Jersey pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631 ("section 1631"). Since we have decided to allow plaintiffs to conduct discovery as to Defendant Hanover, it is premature for us to consider a motion to transfer as to that defendant. Nevertheless, as we have determined that Defendants Mahoney and Garden State are subject to this Court's jurisdiction, we consider this motion only as to those defendants.
In support of their motions to transfer, defendants allege that their documents and most of their witnesses are located outside Pennsylvania and therefore Pennsylvania is not as convenient a forum as either New York or New Jersey.
Defendants have not met their burden under section 1631. As a resident plaintiff, TJS's choice of forum is accorded great deference and defendants have the burden of proving the necessity of transfer. Shutte v. Armco Steel Corp., 431 F.2d 22, 25 (3d Cir. 1970) cert. denied, 401 U.S. 910, 27 L. Ed. 2d 808, 91 S. Ct. 871 (1971); Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995). TJS asserts that its witnesses and documents are in Pennsylvania. Defendants have not shown any special reason for transfer, they have only alleged that it is more convenient for them to conduct the trial in their home states, ignoring the fact that it is more convenient for the resident plaintiff in this case to conduct the trial here. Defendants have therefore failed to meet their burden to show that this case should be transferred.
Based upon the above, the Motions to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and Motions to Transfer of Defendants Mahoney and Garden State are denied. Discovery will be conducted within thirty days as to Defendant Hanover to determine if a sufficient basis for jurisdiction exists.
An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this 18th day of September, 1996, upon consideration of the Motion of Defendant Thomas P. Mahoney to Dismiss the complaint for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), or in the Alternative to Transfer Venue, and responses thereto, the Motion is hereby DENIED.
Upon consideration of Garden State Consolidating, Inc.'s Motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) to Dismiss the complaint for Lack of Jurisdiction and in the alternative, to Transfer Venue, and responses thereto, the Motion is hereby DENIED.
FURTHER, upon consideration of Defendant Hanover Warehouse Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss the complaint for Lack of Jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), and in the alternative to Transfer Venue, resolution of both motions is hereby STAYED and Plaintiff TJS Brokerage & Co., Inc. has thirty days to conduct discovery limited to the resolution of the issue of jurisdiction over Defendant Hanover.
BY THE COURT:
J. Curtis Joyner, J.
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