United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, United States District Judge.
and Teresa Bonkowski (“Bonkowski”), New York
residents, bring this tort action in diversity against HP
Hood LLC, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of
business in Massachusetts. (Comp. (Doc. No. 1); Bonkowski
Mem. in Opp'n (“Bonkowski Opp'n”) (Doc.
No. 11-5) at 1 (ECF pagination).) Hood now moves to dismiss
this action, alleging that this Court lacks personal
jurisdiction over Hood, and seeks transfer to the District of
Massachusetts. (Hood Mot. (Doc. No. 12).) For the reasons
that follow, the Court agrees with Hood on both grounds.
following facts, taken from the parties moving papers, are
not in dispute. Hood produces and distributes milk and other
dairy and non-dairy products throughout the United States,
including in the State of New York. (Nightingale Aff. (Doc.
12-4 at 1.) To that end, Hood operates plants throughout the
country, including in the State of New York, and also
maintains an administrative office in the city of Binghamton,
New York. (Id.) Hood is a Delaware corporation with
its principal place of business in Massachusetts.
(Id.) Hood is authorized to do business in New York,
having registered with the New York Secretary of State and
appointing an entity for service of process and filing within
the state. (Bonkowski Aff. (Doc No. 11-4) at 1 and Ex. B.)
29, 2015, Tomasz Bonkowski, a truck driver with Foodliner,
Inc., was delivering goods to Hood from New York and was
injured after tripping over a raised metal plate at
Hood's Agawam, Massachusetts facility. (Bonkowski
Opp'n at 1.) He sustained injuries to his right shoulder,
and left hand and arm, and is receiving his medical treatment
in Brooklyn, which has, to date, included at least one
surgical procedure. (Id. at 2, 7.)
maintains that this Court may assert personal jurisdiction
over Hood because of Hood's contacts with New York and
because Hood has consented to such jurisdiction by virtue of
registering to do business in New York and by litigating in
New York courts. (See generally Bonkowski
Opp'n.) Hood maintains that following the Supreme
Court's decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134
S.Ct. 746, 748-49 (2014), none of the grounds alleged by
Bonkowski meets the requisites of the Due Process clause.
(See generally, Hood Mot.) As discussed more fully
below, the Court agrees with Hood. In addition, Hood seeks
transfer of this action to the District of Massachusetts
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) based on improper venue.
The Court grants that motion as well.
jurisdiction in a diversity case is determined by the law of
the state in which the district court sits.
Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Beech Aircraft
Corp., 751 F.2d 117, 120 (2d Cir. 1984). Plaintiff bears
the burden of demonstrating that the Court may exercise
personal jurisdiction over defendants. See DiStefano v.
Carozzi N. Am., Inc., 286 F.3d 81, 84 (2d Cir. 2001).
“In deciding a pretrial motion to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction a district court has considerable
procedural leeway. It may determine the motion on the basis
of affidavits alone; or it may permit discovery in aid of the
motion; or it may conduct an evidentiary hearing on the
merits of the motion.” Blau v. Allianz Life Ins.
Co. of N. Am., 124 F.Supp.3d 161, 170 (E.D.N.Y. 2015)
(quoting Dorchester Fin. Sec., Inc. v. Banco BRJ,
S.A., 722 F.3d 81, 84 (2d Cir. 2013)). Where, as here,
the issue of personal jurisdiction “is decided
initially on the pleadings and without discovery, the
plaintiff need show only a prima facie case”
of jurisdiction on a motion under Rule 12(b)(2).
Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft, 751 F.2d at 120;
accord Tamam v. Fransabank Sal, 677 F.Supp.2d 720,
725 (S.D.N.Y. 2010). In considering a Rule 12(b)(2) motion,
the pleadings and affidavits are to be construed in the light
most favorable to plaintiff, the non-moving party, and all
doubts are to be resolved in plaintiff's favor. See
DiStefano, 286 F.3d at 84.
may exercise either general or specific personal
jurisdiction. Daimler AG, 134 S.Ct. at 751;
Brown v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 814 F.3d 619, 624-25
(2d Cir. 2016). General jurisdiction allows a court to
adjudicate “any and all” claims against a
defendant, regardless of whether the claims are connected to
the forum state. Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A.
v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915 (2011); Brown, 814 F.3d
at 624. Specific jurisdiction renders a defendant amenable to
suit only with respect to claims “arising out of or
relating to the defendant's contacts with the
forum.” Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A.
v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 n.8 (1984);
Goodyear, 131 S.Ct. at 2851; Brown, 814
F.3d at 624-25. “Whether specific or general, however,
the exercise of personal jurisdiction over a defendant is
informed and limited by the U.S. Constitution's guarantee
of due process, which requires that any jurisdictional
exercise be consistent with ‘traditional notions of
fair play and substantial justice.'”
Brown, 814 F.3d at 625 (quoting International
Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945)).
Bonkowski relies solely on New York Civil Practice Law and
Rules section 301, New York's general jurisdiction
statute. It provides that a New York court “may
exercise jurisdiction over persons, property, or status as
might have been exercised heretofore.” New York courts
have interpreted Section 301 to exercise jurisdiction over an
out-of-state corporation that “has engaged in such a
continuous and systematic course of ‘doing
business' in New York that a finding of its presence in
New York is warranted.” Sonera Holding B.V. v.
Cukurova Holding A.S., 750 F.3d 221, 224 (2d Cir. 2014)
(alterations and internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting
Landoil Res. Corp. v. Alexander & Alexander
Servs., 77 N.Y.2d 28, 33 (1990)). A corporation is
“doing business” in New York if it “does
business in New York not occasionally or casually, but with a
fair measure of permanence and continuity.” Wiwa v.
Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 226 F.3d 88, 95 (2d Cir.
2000) (internal quotation marks omitted).
after Daimler, the relevant inquiry is not whether a
corporation's activities within a forum are “in
some sense continuous and systematic, ” but rather
“whether that corporation's affiliations with the
State are so continuous and systematic as to render [it]
essentially at home in the forum State.” 134 S.Ct. 746,
749 (quoting Goodyear, 131 S.Ct. at 2851); see
also, Brown, 814 F.3d at 626-27; Chatwal Hotels
& Resorts LLC v. Dollywood Co., 90 F.Supp.3d 97,
103-04 (S.D.N.Y. 2015). And after Daimler,
“[e]xcept in a truly exceptional case, a corporate
defendant may be treated as essentially at home only where it
is incorporated or maintains its principal place of business
- the ‘paradigm' cases.” Brown, 814
F.3d at 627 (internal citation and quotation marks omitted);
Gucci America, Inc. v. Weixing Li, 768 F.3d 122, 135
(2d. Cir 2014).
case, Hood's contacts with New York state do not comport
with Daimler's due process standards and thus
are not sufficient to give rise to personal jurisdiction over
Hood in this Court. New York is neither Hood's place of
incorporation, nor its principal place of business, and this
case falls outside the “paradigm” established by
Daimler. As such, Bonkowski “bears a heavy
burden when he asserts that [Hood's] presence in [New
York] presents such an ‘exceptional case.'”
Brown, 814 F.3d 627. Bonkowski has failed to carry
has not sought discovery here and relies solely on the
factual averments contained in Hood's motion regarding
the extent of Hood's operations. (See generally,
Bonkowski Opp'n.) He points to the fact that Hood is a
national company with manufacturing operations across the
United States, some of which are located in New York.
Otherwise, Hood's presence in New York is limited to an
administrative office located in Binghamton, New York. As
Daimler counsels, in assessing the extent of a
corporation's contacts in a state for general
jurisdiction purposes, we must assess the company's local
activity not in isolation but in the context of the
company's overall activity.” Brown,
814 F.3d at 629 (emphasis in original). Bonkowski does not
even attempt to analyze Hood's amount of business in New
York as compared with its overall national presence. See
Ritchie Capital Mgmt., LLC v. Costco Wholesale Corp.,
2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176994 at *12 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 21,
2015). Indeed, while Hood's contacts are not
insubstantial, they appear to be a small portion of its
entire operations. A corporation “that operates in many
places can scarcely be deemed at home in all of them.”
Daimler, 134 S.Ct. at 761, n.20; see also,
Gucci America, Inc. 768 F.3d at 135 (holding branch
offices of bank incorporated and headquartered elsewhere
insufficient to establish personal jurisdiction after
Daimler); Ritchie Capital Mgmt., at *18-19
(finding that only 2.53% of the ...