United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Richard Caputo United States District Judge
before me is a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 11) filed by
Defendants Prisoner Transport Services, LLC
(“PTS”); PTS of America, LLC (“PTS
America”); and Extradition Agent Button (collectively,
“Defendants”). Defendants seek dismissal for lack
of personal jurisdiction. (See Doc. 12 at 6).
Plaintiff Sean Kenny argues this Court has specific personal
jurisdiction over Defendants and thus their Motion should be
denied. (See Doc. 15 at 6). Kenny alternatively
argues that if personal jurisdiction is lacking, the case
should be transferred to the Middle District of Tennessee,
where PTS and PTS America are headquartered. (Id. at
13). Because this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over
Defendants, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss will be
granted; however, the case will instead be transferred to the
District of Arizona.
facts from Kenny's Complaint (Doc. 1), taken as true and
viewed in light most favorable to him, are as follows:
resides in Ambler, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶ 1). PTS
is a Tennessee limited liability corporation (LLC) with a
principal place of business in Whites Creek, Tennessee.
(Id. ¶ 2). PTS America is also a Tennessee LLC
with a principal place of business in Whites Creek,
Tennessee. (Id. ¶ 3). Finally, Button, an
employee of PTS and PTS America, is domiciled in Tennessee.
(Id. ¶ 4).
March 26, 2017 Kenny was housed at the Maricopa County Jail
in Phoenix, Arizona, awaiting his extradition to Monroe
County, Florida. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 10). Button
escorted Kenny into a transport van and instructed him to,
among other things, not ask to use the bathroom or for food.
(Id. ¶ 11). The van was “dirty, covered
in trash and smelled of body odor.” (Id.
¶ 14). While en route, the van stopped at a different
jail in Arizona to pick up another prisoner. (Id.
¶ 16). While there, Kenny spoke to a corrections officer
at the jail about the conditions on the van. (Id.
¶ 17). Upon hearing the conversation, Button pulled
Kenny aside, placed Kenny's hands behind his back, and
“cuffed both wrists very tightly and in an awkward
fashion.” (Id. ¶ 18). Button also moved
Kenny into a “segregation cage” in the van, where
he was held for six hours until he apologized.
then stopped in New Mexico to pick up another prisoner.
(Id. ¶ 19). Kenny asked Button about the
“cramped conditions” on the van, as it was now
carrying ten passengers. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 20).
In response, Button removed Kenny from the van,
“slammed him shoulder first into a brick wall, ”
and uncomfortably handcuffed him. (Id. ¶ 20).
During the ride, Kenny was “threatened, verbally
abused, harassed, denied food, denied restroom breaks, and
denied medical attention.” (Id. ¶ 23).
Other passengers on the van similarly suffered. (Id.
¶ 24). Kenny's “transport on the van
eventually ended at Shawnee County Department of Corrections
in Topeka, Kansas, on March 29, 2017.” (Id.
filed his Complaint on March 7, 2019, alleging federal and
state law causes of action for the abuse he suffered at the
hands of Button, acting in his capacity as an employee of PTS
and PTS America. Defendants subsequently filed this Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 11), arguing that if what Kenny alleges is
true, this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendants
for all claims alleged in the Complaint (see Doc.
12). The Motion has been fully briefed and is now ripe for
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) provides for dismissal of an
action where the court lacks personal jurisdiction over the
defendants. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2). In
deciding whether personal jurisdiction is lacking, accept
Kenny's jurisdictional allegations as true, because
Defendants are mounting a facial rather than factual attack.
See MobileMedia Ideas, LLC v. Apple Inc.,
885 F.Supp.2d 700, 705-06 (D. Del. 2012).
district courts are permitted to exercise personal
jurisdiction over a nonresident to the extent allowed under
the laws of the state where the district court sits.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(e); Pennzoil Prods. Co. v.
Colelli & Assocs., Inc., 149 F.3d 197, 200 (3d Cir.
1998). Pennsylvania's long-arm statute permits personal
jurisdiction over nonresident defendants “to the
constitutional limits of the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment.” 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5322;
see Mellon Bank (East) PSFS, Nat'l Ass'n v.
Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1221 (3d Cir. 1992).
jurisdiction comes in two forms: general and specific.
See Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown,
564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011). General jurisdiction allows a court
to “hear any and all claims against [parties] when
their affiliations with the State are so ‘continuous
and systematic' as to render them essentially at home in
the forum State.” Id. (citing Int'l
Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 317 (1945)). On
the other hand, specific jurisdiction depends on a
defendant's “minimum contacts” with a forum
state which led to the plaintiff's causes of action-not
the defendant's overall vulnerability to suit in a forum.
See id.; Int'l Shoe Co., 326 U.S. at
316. A plaintiff's causes of action must “arise out
of or relate to” the defendants' minimum contacts
for specific jurisdiction to exist. Burger King Corp. v.
Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472-73 (1985) (quotation
acknowledges that the Court lacks general jurisdiction over
Defendants. (See Doc. 15 at 6). I will therefore
only address whether the ...