United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is the motion to dismiss of the third party
defendant SCM Handling (“SCM”) made pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 12(b)(2). The motion argues that the
third party complaint, which defendant Keystone Maintenance
Services Corporation (“Keystone”) filed against
SCM, should be dismissed for lack of general and specific
personal jurisdiction over SCM, a foreign corporation.
Because the court does not have general or specific personal
jurisdiction over SCM, the motion will be
GRANTED, and Keystone's third party
complaint against SCM will be DISMISSED.
March 13, 2017, plaintiffs Cherlyn and Richard Rittinger
filed a complaint, (Doc. 1), which alleged that on March 17,
2015, while Cherlyn was an employee of Proctor & Gamble
Company (“P&G”) in its facility located in
Mehoopany, Pennsylvania, she was operating a polymanipulator
machine which caused severe and serious injuries to her back.
Plaintiffs allege that there was a dangerous and/or hazardous
condition of the machine, and that the machine was in
possession of, controlled and/or maintained by Keystone.
August 31, 2017, Keystone filed a third party complaint
against SCM, and alleged that the machine, which Cherlyn
Rittinger was operating at the time she was injured, was
negligently designed, fabricated, constructed, programmed,
assembled, installed, inspected, and tested by SCM. Keystone
also alleged that the manipulator at P&G's plant in
Mehoopany was “designed and/or manufactured and/or
provided certain parts by [SCM].” Thus, Keystone
alleged that SCM caused or failed to prevent Cherlyn
Rittinger's injuries. (Doc. 16).
January 18, 2018, SCM filed its motion to dismiss for lack of
jurisdiction. (Doc. 27). SCM's motion has been briefed
and exhibits were filed. Plaintiffs did not file a brief in
opposition to SCM's motion and therefore are deemed as
not opposing it under Local Rule 7.6, M.D.Pa.
12(b)(2) provides for the dismissal of a complaint if the
plaintiff fails to establish that the court has personal
jurisdiction over a party. Fed.R. Civ.P.12(b)(2). Rule
12(b)(3) in conjunction with 28 U.S.C. §1391, requires
the court to dismiss the case if the plaintiff fails to show
that the district in which the suit is brought is the proper
venue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3).
12(b)(2) requires the court to accept the truth of factual
allegations in the complaint relating to jurisdiction and the
reasonable inferences that flow therefrom unless the moving
party produces evidence tending to contradict the existence
of jurisdiction. In re Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust
Litigation, 674 F.Supp.2d 580, 595 (M.D.Pa. 2009). In
other words, a party may rely entirely on allegations unless
and until the moving party presents the court with actual
evidence to the contrary. Id.; Miller Yacht
Sales, Inc. v. Smith, 384 F.3d 93, 97 (3d Cir. 2004)
(“when the court does not hold an evidentiary hearing
on the motion to dismiss, . . . the plaintiff is entitled to
have its allegations taken as true and all factual disputes
drawn in its favor.”); but see, e.g., Rodi v. S.
New Eng. Sch. of Law, 255 F.Supp.2d 346, 348 (D.N.J.
2003) (“the plaintiff may not rely on the pleadings,
but rather must introduce sworn affidavits or other competent
moving party does submit competent evidence refuting
jurisdiction, the non-moving party shoulders the burden of
establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the
court has jurisdiction over the matter. In re Chocolate
Confectionary Antitrust Litigation, 674 F.Supp.2d at 595
(“Once these allegations are contradicted by an
opposing affidavit, however, plaintiffs must present similar
evidence in support of personal jurisdiction.”). At
this point, the plaintiff may not rely on bare pleadings but
must support those pleadings with “actual proofs, not
mere allegations.” Id. (quoting Patterson
by Patterson v. FBI, 893 F.2d 595, 603-04 (3d Cir.
1990)). As such, "although the burden of persuasion
always lies with the non-moving party, the burden of
production rests initially with the party moving for
dismissal under Rule 12(b)(2).” Id. at 595, n.
“[a] motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(2) ‘is inherently a matter which requires
resolution of factual issues outside the pleadings, i.e.,
whether in personam jurisdiction actually lies.'”
Farber v. Tennant Truck Lines, Inc., 84 F.Supp.3d
421, 426 (E.D.Pa. 2015) (citation omitted).
SCM and Keystone have filed evidence regarding the issue of
whether the court has personal jurisdiction over SCM. Thus,
Keystone cannot simply rely on bare pleadings in its third
party complaint to establish that the court has personal
jurisdiction over SCM.
federal district court may assert personal jurisdiction over
a nonresident of the state in which the court sits to the
extent authorized by the law of that state.” Farber, 84
F.Supp.3d at 426 (citation omitted). “The Pennsylvania
[long-arm] statute [42 Pa.Cons.Stat. §5322(b)] permits
the courts of that state to exercise personal jurisdiction
over nonresident defendants to the constitutional limits of
the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Mellon Bank (East) PSFS, Nat. Ass'n v. Farino,
960 F.2d 1217, 1221 (3d Cir. 1992). “The Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution
permits personal jurisdiction so long as the nonresident
defendant has certain minimum contacts with the forum such
that maintenance of the suit does not offend
“‘traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.'” Farber, 84 F.Supp.3d at 426
are two types of personal jurisdiction: general jurisdiction
and specific jurisdiction.” Plumbers' Local Union
No. 690 Health Plan v. Apotex Corp., 2017 WL
3129147, *4 (E.D.Pa. July 24, 2017) (citation omitted).
“A Plaintiff may demonstrate that a court's
exercise of personal jurisdiction is proper, by establishing
that a court has either general jurisdiction or specific
jurisdiction over the defendant, or by establishing that the
defendant has consented to jurisdiction.” Id.
(citation omitted). There is no claim in this case that SCM
has consented to the jurisdiction of this court. Rather,
Keystone contends that the court can exercise general and
specific personal jurisdiction over SCM. The court will first
address general jurisdiction.
to the case of Farber, 84 F.Supp.3d at 423, “[t]his
case concerns the impact of two recent United States Supreme
Court decisions, Goodyear DunlopTires
Operations, S.A. v. Brown,546 U.S. 915, 131 S.Ct. 2846
(2011), and Daimler AG v. Bauman,571 U.S. 117, 134
S.Ct. 746 (2014), on a federal court's authority to
exercise general jurisdiction over a nonresident corporate
defendant, consistent with the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” The
court will now address whether it can exercise general
jurisdiction over SCM in Pennsylvania, a foreign company
which is ...