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Stubbs v. Collins

March 1, 2010



I. Introduction

Plaintiff, John C. Stubbs, a resident of Pennsylvania, filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 11) on November 12, 2008, which centers on certain allegedly erroneous information about Plaintiff posted on the official website for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections ("DRC"). Plaintiff is a convicted sex offender under Ohio law.*fn1 Defendant Terry J. Collins, is a resident of the state of Ohio and Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Defendant Cynthia B. Mausser, also a resident of Ohio, is the Chairperson of DRC's Ohio Adult Parole Authority ("APA").

Plaintiff's Complaint purports to raise various constitutional tort claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1981, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1988 arising from the posting of a "false" second conviction on the DRC's website, as follows:

"Claim # 1." Defendants' false posting constitutes retaliation, libel and slander, violating rights secured to him by the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments;

"Claim # 2." Defendants' false posting subjects the Plaintiff to libel, slander, cruel and/or unusual punishment and mental-emotional assault in violation of the 1st, 4th, 8th, 9th, and 14th Amendments;

"Claim # 3." Defendants' false posting subjects Plaintiff to undue discrimination violating the 1st, 4th, 8th, 9th, and 14th Amendments; and

"Claim # 4." Defendants engaged in a retaliatory conspiracy and acted "outside of their Executive function by exercising Judicial authority in recommitting Plaintiff to a 2nd confinement" violating the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 14th Amendments. Plaintiff's "Relief Requested" seeks a cease and desist order against any false postings about him on the DRC website, "political asylum" in Pennsylvania and other declaratory and injunctive relief, a minimum of $4 million compensatory damages ($1 million on each claim), and a minimum of $40 million in punitive damages ($10 million on each claim).

Before this Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 26) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2), on the grounds that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendants. After consideration of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff's response thereto, and Defendants' reply, this Court will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

II. Legal Standard - Rule 12(b)(2)

A. General Rule 12(b)(2)

Once a defendant has raised a lack of personal jurisdiction defense, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to prove that jurisdiction exists in the forum state. IMO Indus., Inc. v. Kiekert AG, 155 F.3d 254, 257 (3d Cir. 1998); Dayhoff Inc. v. H.J. Heinz Co., 86 F.3d 1287, 1302 (3d Cir. 1996). A court must construe all facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff when determining whether personal jurisdiction exists. Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 368 (3d Cir. 2002).

Nonetheless, a plaintiff may not rest solely on the pleadings to satisfy its burden. Carteret Sav. Bank, F.A. v. Shushan, 954 F.2d 141, 146 (3d Cir. 1992). Rather, a plaintiff must demonstrate "with reasonable particularity" contacts between the defendant and the forum sufficient to support a prima facie case in favor of the exercise of personal jurisdiction by the forum state. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1986); Mellon Bank v. Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1223 (3d Cir. 1992); Carteret Sav. Bank, 954 F.2d at 146. Thus, a Rule 12(b)(2) motion "requires resolution of factual issues outside the pleadings, i.e., whether in personam jurisdiction actually lies." Clark v. Matsushita Electric Indus. Co., Ltd., 811 F.Supp 1061, 1064 (MD. Pa. 1993) (quoting Time Share Vacation Club v. Atlantic Resorts, Ltd., 735 F.3d 61, 66 n. 9 (3d Cir. 1984)).

B. Pennsylvania Jurisdictional Standards

Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(e), a federal court may assert personal jurisdiction over a non-resident to the extent allowed by the law of the forum state in which the federal court sits. Remick v. Manfredi, 238 F.3d 248, 255 (3d Cir. 2001); Dayhoff, Inc., 86 F.3d at 1301; Farino, 960 F.2d at 1221. Courts must resolve the question of personal jurisdiction "based on the circumstances that the particular case presents." Brooks v. Bacardi Rum Corp., 943 F.Supp. 559, 562 (E.D.Pa. 1996) (citing Burger King, 471 U.S. at 485). Due process, then, is an individualized inquiry. Mellon Bank, 960 F.2d at 1224-25. Consistent with the requirements of due process, courts must ensure that a defendant is subjected to personal jurisdiction only where her activities have been ...

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