United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
SHIRLYN B. KURZ Plaintiff
HOLIDAY HOSPITALITY FRANCHISING, LLC, et al. Defendants
I. QUIÑONES ALEJANDRO, J.
this Court is a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction and improper venue or, alternatively, to
transfer venue, filed by Defendants Holiday Hospitality
Franchising LLC (“Defendant Holiday
Hospitality”), and Prammish, LLC (“Defendant
Prammish”) (collectively “Defendants”),
[ECF 6], and the response in opposition thereto filed by
Plaintiff Shirlyn B. Kurz (“Plaintiff”). [ECF 7].
In their motion, Defendants primarily argue that this Court
lacks personal jurisdiction over them because they are not
“at home” in Pennsylvania, as required by the
seminal Supreme Court decision, Daimler AG v.
Bauman, 571 U.S. 117 (2014), and because Plaintiff's
negligence claims do not arise out of any contacts Defendants
have with Pennsylvania.
issues presented in the motion have been fully briefed and
are ripe for disposition. After careful consideration, for
the reasons set forth herein, Defendants' motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is granted.
November 29, 2018, and November 30, 2018, Plaintiff was a
guest at the Holiday Inn, located in Santee, South Carolina.
According to Plaintiff, the hotel was owned and/or operated
by Defendants. Sometime during Plaintiff's stay at the
hotel, she was the victim of a theft of several pieces of her
jewelry. Plaintiff alleges that the theft was the result of
Defendants' negligence. Plaintiff further alleges that
Defendant Holiday Hospitality maintains its principal place
of business in Atlanta, Georgia, and that Defendant Prammish
maintains its principal place of business in Santee, South
support of their motion to dismiss, Defendants attached the
affidavits of Jenny Tidwell, Vice President of Holiday
Hospitality Franchising, LLC, and Sheela Bivek, the owner and
operator of Prammish, LLC, to provide various jurisdictional
facts. In her affidavit, Ms. Tidwell attests that Defendant
Holiday Hospitality is incorporated in Delaware and confirms
that Defendant Holiday Hospitality's principal place of
business is located in Atlanta, Georgia. In her affidavit,
Ms. Bivek attests that Defendant Prammish, LLC, is
incorporated in and also confirms that it maintains its
principal place of business in South Carolina.
response to Defendants' motion, Plaintiff offers no
rebuttal to the jurisdictional facts set forth in the
above-referenced affidavits. Instead, Plaintiff points to the
numerous hotels within the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
purportedly owned, operated, franchised, and advertised by
Defendant Holiday Hospitality, as sufficient minimum contact
to support personal jurisdiction in this matter.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”)
12(b)(2), a defendant may move to dismiss a claim for lack of
personal jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). Once a
defendant has raised this jurisdictional defense, the burden
shifts to the plaintiff to present a prima facie
case establishing jurisdiction over the non-resident
defendant in the forum. Pinker v. Roche Holdings
Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 368 (3d Cir. 2002); see also
Miller Yacht Sales, Inc., v. Smith, 384 F.3d 93, 97 (3d
Cir. 2004) (“[W]hen the court does not hold an
evidentiary hearing on the motion to dismiss, the plaintiff
need only establish a prima facie case of personal
jurisdiction.”). A plaintiff has the burden to show,
“with reasonable particularity, ” enough contact
between the defendant and the forum state to support the
exercise of personal jurisdiction by the forum state.
Mellon Bank v. Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1223 (3d Cir.
1992) (internal citations omitted); see also Action Mfg.
Co. v. Simon Wrecking Co., 375 F.Supp.2d 411, 418 (E.D.
Pa. 2005) (“In order to establish a prima
facie case, the plaintiff must present specific facts
that would allow the court to exercise jurisdiction over the
determining the existence of personal jurisdiction, courts
“must accept all of the plaintiff's allegations as
true and construe disputed facts in favor of the
plaintiff.” Pinker, 292 F.3d at 368. Once the
plaintiff's “allegations are contradicted by an
opposing affidavit . . . [he or she] must present similar
evidence in support of personal jurisdiction.” In
re Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Litig., 602
F.Supp.2d 538, 556 (M.D. Pa. 2009). To counter opposing
affidavits, “[p]laintiffs may not repose upon their
pleadings in this manner. Rather, they must counter
defendant['s] affidavits with contrary evidence in
support of purposeful availment jurisdiction.”
Id. at 559. To that end, “[t]he plaintiff must
respond to the defendant's motion with ‘actual
proofs;' ‘affidavits which parrot and do no more
than restate [the] plaintiff's allegations . . . do not
end the inquiry.'” Lionti v. Dipna, Inc.,
2017 WL 2779576, at *1 (E.D. Pa. June 27, 2017) (quoting
Time Share Vacation Club v. Atl. Resorts, Ltd., 735
F.2d 61, 66, n.9 (3d Cir. 1984)); see also Lehigh Gas
Wholesale, LLC v. LAP Petro., LLC, 2015 WL 1312213, at
*2 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 23, 2015) (“Plaintiff carries the
burden to prove personal jurisdiction using ‘affidavits
or other competent evidence.'”) (quoting
Metcalfe v. Renaissance Marine, Inc., 566 F.3d 324,
330 (3d Cir. 2009)); In re Chocolate Confectionary,
602 F.Supp.2d at 556-57 (a plaintiff must present contrary
evidence in the form of “actual proofs[.]”).
noted, Defendants are corporate entities incorporated and
maintaining principal places of business outside
Pennsylvania. Defendants move to dismiss this action based on
the lack of requisite sufficient minimum contacts with
Pennsylvania to support personal jurisdiction in this forum.
Defendants have offered two sworn affidavits in support of
their motion in which the affiants attest that Defendants are
neither incorporated nor maintain a principal place of
business in Pennsylvania. Plaintiff has not contested these
jurisdictional facts but has instead relied on Defendant
Holiday Hospitality's purported ownership and/or
franchising of other hotels located in the Eastern District
of Pennsylvania to argue that these contacts are sufficient
to give rise to personal jurisdiction over Defendants.
Plaintiff, however, is mistaken.
federal court may assert jurisdiction over a nonresident of
the forum state to the extent authorized by the law of the
forum; here, Pennsylvania. Remick v. Manfredy, 238
F.3d 248, 255 (3d Cir. 2001). Pennsylvania's long-arm
statute grants jurisdiction coextensive with that permitted
by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the
United States Constitution. Id.; see also
42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §5322(b). Therefore, this Court's
analysis must ...