Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rittinger v. Keyston Maintenance Services Corp.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 18, 2018

CHERLYN RITTINGER, and RICHARD RITTINGER, Plaintiffs
v.
KEYSTONE MAINTENANCE SERVICES CORPORATION, Defendant
v.
SCM HANDLING, : Third Party Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the court is the motion to dismiss of the third party defendant SCM Handling[1] (“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.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On 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.

         On 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).

         On 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.[2] 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.

         II. STANDARD

         Rule 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).

         Rule 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 evidence.”).

         If the 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. 21.

         Additionally, “[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).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Both 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.

         “A 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 (citations omitted).

         “There 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.

         1. General Jurisdiction

         Similar 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.