United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation, has brought this
action seeking a declaration that losses sustained by one of
its insured are covered by policies issued by AXA Insurance
Company (“AXA US”) and AXA Corporate Solutions
Assurance, S.A. (“AXA CS”). Before me is AXA
CS's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction
and improper forum pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2), 12(b)(3), and 12(b)(6) and
Plaintiff's response. I have also considered the
supplemental filings submitted after the completion of
jurisdictional discovery. For the reasons that follow, AXA
CS's motion will be granted.
U.S. is one of a family of companies whose parent, Ardagh
Global, is based in Luxemburg. AXA CS issued a policy to
Ardagh Global providing global excess coverage above local,
primary policies. This policy covered Ardagh Global's
subsidiary companies including Ardagh US.
U.S. is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Pennsylvania
that manufactures metal containers. In the course of its
business, Ardagh U.S. provided defective cans to a company
that sold tuna. As a result of the defect, the product had to
be recalled causing heavy losses to the tuna company and thus
to Ardagh US.
Surplus had issued a product recall insurance policy to
Ardagh US. AXA U.S. had issued a policy for
commercial liability as well as a commercial liability
umbrella policy to Ardagh US. Ardagh U.S. made a claim to
Liberty Surplus, which acknowledged coverage and paid an
amount in excess of $75, 000. Ardagh U.S. also forwarded a
claim to AXA U.S. which denied coverage based on exclusions
in its policy.
exercise personal jurisdiction over AXA CS, a non-resident
defendant, to the extent provided by Pennsylvania law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A). Under Pennsylvania's long-arm
statute, jurisdiction shall extend “to all persons . .
. to the fullest extent allowed under the Constitution of the
United States and may be based on the most minimum contact
with [Pennsylvania] allowed under the Constitution of the
United States. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. 5322(b). “The Due
Process Clause protects an individual's liberty interest
in not being subject to the binding judgments of a forum with
which he has established no meaningful ‘contacts, ties,
or relations.'” Burger King Corp. v.
Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 471-472 (1985) (citations
omitted). A “defendant's conduct and connection
with the forum state [must be] such that he should reasonably
anticipate being haled into court there.”
World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S.
286, 297 (1980). Here, AXA CS argues that this court lacks
personal jurisdiction because it has no connection with
Pennsylvania and could not have foreseen that it would be
forced to litigate in a Pennsylvania court.
jurisdiction may be based on either some from of consent to
personal jurisdiction, such as a contract forum selection
clause, or defendant's contacts with the forum.
Synthes, Inc. v. Emerge Medical, Inc., 887 F.Supp.2d
598, 606 (E.D. Pa. 2012). There are two types of personal
jurisdiction founded on a defendant's contact with this
forum, general and specific.
claims that it does not have the continuous or systematic
contacts with Pennsylvania to justify the exercise of general
jurisdiction and did not have contacts in Pennsylvania
pertaining to this case to satisfy specific jurisdiction. In
addition, AXA CS contends that I lack personal jurisdiction
because a forum selection clause governs and selects Ireland
as the forum.
jurisdiction may be exercised over a defendant if the
defendant's “‘affiliations with the State are
so ‘continuous and systematic' as to render [it]
essentially at home in the forum State.'”
Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 139 (2014)
(quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations v. Brown,
564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011)). That is not the case here.
Although it is an eligible surplus lines insurer and may have
had sporadic contacts in Pennsylvania, AXA CS has
“obtained no licenses, registrations, or authorizations
in or from the state of Pennsylvania.” See
Def.'s Reply Mem. at 6 (citing Mody Cert., Ex. 1 at 12).
AXA CS is not a foreign corporation authorized to do business
in Pennsylvania, is not a citizen of Pennsylvania, does not
maintain a principal place of business here, nor does it have
the requisite “continuous and systematic”
affiliations required for general jurisdiction. Daimler
AG, 571 U.S. at 139. As a result, I conclude Liberty
Surplus has failed to establish general jurisdiction.
jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant can be
established when a defendant “purposefully avails
itself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum
State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its
laws.” J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v.
Nicastro, 564 U.S. 873, 881-882 (2011). Here, Liberty
Surplus must show that AXA CS's conduct in this matter