The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bartle, U.S. District Judge.
This is a products liability, negligence, and breach of warranty
action. Defendant and third-party plaintiff Ford Motor Company ("Ford")
has joined Manning Enterprises, Inc. and Manning Truck Modification,
Inc. ("Manning") as third-party defendants.*fn1 Before the court is the
motion of Manning Enterprises, Inc. and Manning Truck Modification, Inc.
to dismiss Ford's complaint under Rule 12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Plaintiff Joseph Portella allegedly sustained injuries when a ladder
attached to the side of the truck of his tractor-trailer broke after
Portella stepped onto its second rung. The injury occurred during a
temporary stop near a toll plaza in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.
Guaranteed Overnight Delivery, Portella's employer, had custom ordered
and purchased the truck from Bayshore Ford, a dealer located in New
Castle, Delaware. Bayshore Ford in turn had ordered it from Ford which
had manufactured the truck in its Louisville, Kentucky plant. Ford had
contracted with Manning to install the allegedly defective ladder on this
truck. The installation occurred in Manning's facility, also in
Manning did all of its business in Kentucky. It had no customers other
than Ford, and it received work orders exclusively and directly from
Ford. Manning did not advertise, produce product catalogs, or provide any
other product information to dealers or other purchasers of Ford trucks.
Manning never initiated contact with or directly delivered a vehicle to
any Ford dealer or customer. Many of the dealers and purchasers of trucks
built and sold by Ford and modified by Manning were Pennsylvania
residents, a fact made known to Manning only because Ford's work orders
included it, along with a lot of other information.
In this case, Ford contends that Manning purposefully placed its
products and services into the "stream of commerce" with the knowledge
that such products and services would reach Pennsylvania. Ford asserts
that this court may exercise either general or specific in personam
jurisdiction over Manning.
A federal district court may assert personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant to the extent authorized by the law of that state
in which the action is brought, consistent with the demands of the
Constitution. See Provident Nat'l Bank v. California Fed. Sav. & Loan
Ass'n, 819 F.2d 434, 436 (3d Cir. 1987) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(e)).
Pennsylvania law permits courts to "exercise personal jurisdiction over
nonresidents to the constitutional limits of the due process clause of
the fourteenth amendment." Mellon Bank (East) PSFS, Nat'l Ass'n v.
Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1221 (3d Cir. 1992); 42 Pa. Cons.Stat. Ann. §
5322(b). Once a jurisdictional issue has been raised, the plaintiff
bears the burden of establishing with reasonable particularity contacts
sufficient to support the court's exercise of personal jurisdiction. See
Provident Nat'l Bank, 819 F.2d at 437.
Ford asserts that Manning is subject to this courts' general personal
jurisdiction. The exercise of general jurisdiction does not require that
"the subject matter of the cause of action ha[ve] any connection to the
forum." Farino, 960 F.2d at 1221. Rather, a court has general
jurisdiction over a nonresident corporation only if the corporation's
contacts with the forum are continuous, systematic, and substantial. See
Provident Nat'l Bank, 819 F.2d at 437; 42 Pa. Cons.Stat. Ann. §
5301(a)(2)(iii). The standard for general jurisdiction "is not an easy one
to meet." Surgical Laser Technologies v. C.R. Bard, Inc.,
921 F. Supp. 281, 284 (E.D.Pa. 1996). In fact, only a showing of
"significantly more than mere minimum contacts" will suffice.
See Provident Nat'l Bank, 819 F.2d at 437.
It is undisputed that Manning did not do business in Pennsylvania. It
had no customers, agents, distributors, offices, or employees in
Pennsylvania. It did not advertise here. It never had any business
contact or communication with residents of the Commonwealth. While many
of the trucks which Manning modified as a result of its business dealing
with Ford did end up in Pennsylvania, such contact cannot be said to have
been continuous or systematic. The evidence does not demonstrate that any
contacts with Pennsylvania were a substantial part of Manning's overall
business operations. In sum, Ford has not established that Manning had
the "extensive and pervasive" contacts with
Pennsylvania necessary for general personal jurisdiction. Reliance Steel
Prods. Co. v. Watson, Ess, Marshall, & Enggas, 675 F.2d 587, 589 (3d
Ford also contends that Manning is subject to specific personal
jurisdiction within Pennsylvania. "Specific personal jurisdiction exists
when the defendant has `purposefully directed his activities at residents
of the forum and the litigation results from alleged injuries that "arise
out of or related to" those activities.'" BP Chems. Ltd. v. Formosa
Chem. & Fibre Corp., 229 F.3d 254, 259 (3d Cir. 2000) (quoting Burger
King, 471 U.S. at 472, 105 S.Ct. 2174). For a court properly to exercise
specific jurisdiction under the Due Process Clause, the plaintiff must
satisfy a two-part test. See IMO Industries, Inc. v. Kiekert AG,
155 F.3d 254, 259 (3d Cir. 1998). First, the plaintiff must demonstrate
that the defendant had the constitutionally sufficient "minimum contacts"
with the forum. Id.; see Burger King, 471 U.S. at 474, 105 S.Ct. 2174.
Second, the court, in its discretion, must determine that the ...