United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
DANIEL P. NEELON, Plaintiff,
BLAIR KRUEGER and DESERT EAGLE RESOURCES, LTD. f/k/a GARRISON INTERNATIONAL, LTD., Defendants.
ORDER ON RENEWED MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF
LAW FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION
TALWANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Blair Krueger and Desert Eagle Resources, Ltd. f/k/a Garrison
International Ltd. move, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P 50(b),
for judgment as a matter of law for lack of personal
jurisdiction. Defendants assert that Plaintiff did not
provide sufficient evidence at trial to establish that the
court had personal jurisdiction over Defendants. The court
finds that Plaintiff has met his burden at trial.
Accordingly, the court DENIES Defendants' motion.
not Defendants' first challenge to this court's
jurisdiction. At the outset of this litigation, Defendants
moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
[#18] for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). In considering the motion, the court
(Saylor, D.J.) applied the prima facie standard,
taking the specific facts affirmatively alleged by the
plaintiff as true. Mem. & Order on Defs.' Mot. Dismiss 7
[#43]. The court determined that Plaintiff had met his burden
of demonstrating that the exercise of jurisdiction was
consistent with the due process requirements of the United
States Constitution. Id. at 8-16. Defendants moved,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), to amend the decision
to state that there is a substantial ground for difference of
opinion and that an immediate appeal from the Order denying
the motion to dismiss may materially advance the ultimate
resolution of this litigation. Defs.' Mot. Amend Order,
Certify Appeal & Stay Proceedings Pending Appeal [#48]. The
court denied the motion. Electronic Order [#56].
the case was reassigned to the undersigned and following
discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment on several
grounds, including that Plaintiff failed to produce evidence
to support a finding of personal jurisdiction. Defs.'
Mot. Summ. J. [#321]. The court rejected Plaintiff's
contention that the issue of personal jurisdiction had been
finally resolved on the motion to dismiss. The court
explained that a finding of personal jurisdiction under the
prima facie standard is "an implicit deferral until
trial of the final ruling on [personal] jurisdiction."
Mem. & Order 19 [#368] (citing Boit v. Gar-Tec Prods.,
Inc., 967 F.2d 671, 678 (1st Cir. 1992) (stating that
resolution under the prima facie standard "avoids . . .
issues of . . . ‘law of the case'")). The
court treated the pre-trial motion as one for reconsideration
and denied it based on the record evidence previously cited
by the court in support of the prior finding of personal
jurisdiction under the prima facie standard.
case proceeded to trial on Plaintiff's cause of action
for defamation. After Plaintiff rested at trial, Defendants
moved for judgment as a matter of law based on a lack of
evidence to establish personal jurisdiction. Mot. J. Matter
Law Pl.'s Lack Evid. Establish Personal Jurisdiction
[#557]. The court denied the motion, finding that the
evidentiary proffer in Plaintiff's case-in-chief
sufficient to overcome the motion. Order Denying Mots. J.
Matter Law [#565]. At the conclusion of trial, Defendants
filed the Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law
Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b) Based on Plaintiff's Lack of
Evidence to Establish Personal Jurisdiction [#626]
("Renewed Motion"), now before the court.
Standard of Review
motion for judgment as a matter of law under Fed.R.Civ.P. 50
"may only be granted when, after examining the evidence
of record and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of
the non-moving party, the record reveals no sufficient
evidentiary basis for the verdict." Crowe v.
Bolduc, 334 F.3d 124, 134 (1st Cir. 2003) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
a party makes a motion post-trial re-alleging a lack of
personal jurisdiction, the party may request, or the judge
may determine on his own, to make the jurisdictional inquiry
in light of the facts that were revealed at trial using a
preponderance of the evidence standard." N. Laminate
Sales, Inc. v. Davis, 403 F.3d 14, 23 (1st Cir. 2005).
The court views Defendants' post-trial motion as making
such a request and accordingly, uses the preponderance of the
evidence standard in the inquiry as to the jurisdictional
facts revealed at trial.
establish personal jurisdiction over Defendants, Plaintiff
"must meet the requirements of both the Massachusetts
long-arm statute and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment." Cossart v. United Excel Corp., 804
F.3d 13, 18 (1st Cir. 2015). Plaintiff has done both.
context of specific jurisdiction, the Constitution requires
that a defendant have maintained "minimum contacts"
with the forum, "such that the maintenance of the suit
does not offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice." Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (internal quotation
marks omitted). Whether minimum contacts exist is assessed
through a tripartite test. First, "the litigation [must]
result from alleged injuries that ‘arise out of or
relate to'" the defendant's in-forum activities.
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472
(1985) (citations omitted). Second, there must be
"‘some act by which the defendant purposefully
avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities
within the forum . . . thus invoking the benefits and
protections of its laws.'" Id. at 475
(quoting Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253
(1958)). Third, the defendant's conduct and activities
much be such that it is "‘reasonable . . . to
require the [defendant] to defend'" a suit in the
chosen forum. World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v.
Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 292 (1980) (quoting Int'l
Shoe, 326 U.S. at 317).