United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 13)
Sorokin United States District Judge.
sue for injuries they suffered while on vacation in Belize,
allegedly due to the negligence of their resort and of a
resort employee. The resort has moved to dismiss. The Court
is sympathetic to Plaintiffs but concludes it lacks personal
jurisdiction. Thus, the Court ALLOWS the Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 13) and DISMISSES this action.
February 16, 2016, Plaintiffs Karen Badia, Jared Badia, Susan
Badia, I.B. (a minor), and Joan Dillon filed a Complaint
against Defendants Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort
(“Resort”) and Emeiliano Sho. Doc. 1. Karen and
Jared Badia are residents of Massachusetts. Id. at
1. Susan Badia, I.B. and Ms. Dillon are residents of New
York. Id. Defendants are located in Belize.
Id. at 2. Plaintiffs assert jurisdiction based upon
the diversity of the parties. Id.
allege the following: On or about February 22, 2013, they were
guests of the Resort and “took part in activities
featured, advertised and solicited by [the Resort], including
but not limited to providing transportation for hotel guests
to and from various locations.” Id. at 3.
Defendant Emeiliano Sho “was retained by [the Resort]
to work as a driver and tour guide.” Id. Sho
operated a Resort-owned van in order to transport Plaintiffs
to Tikal, Guatemala. Id. Sho operated the van
“at an unreasonable rate of speed and collided with a
vehicle and trailer, causing the airbags to deploy, the
windshield to shatter, and significant damage to the
van.” Id. at 3-4. Each of the Plaintiffs
sustained significant injuries, including fractures.
Id. at 4-5.
claim Sho was negligent in his operation of the van, and the
Resort was negligent for entrusting the vehicle to Sho, its
employee. Id. at 5. They seek compensatory damages.
Id. at 6.
Resort moves to dismiss for ineffective service of the
Complaint, lack of personal jurisdiction, and forum non
conveniens. Doc. 13.
argue that the Court has specific personal jurisdiction over
the Resort. Doc. 20 at 7. The Resort disagrees. Doc.
14 at 8.
plaintiff has the burden of establishing that jurisdiction
over the defendant lies in the forum state.”
Baskin-Robbins Franchising LLC v. Alpenrose Dairy,
Inc., 825 F.3d 28, 34 (1st Cir. 2016) (citation
omitted). “Faced with a motion to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction, a district court may choose from among
several methods for determining whether the plaintiff has met
its burden, ” the “most common” being the
prima facie method. Id. (citations, internal
quotation marks, and alterations omitted); A Corp. v. All
American Plumbing, 812 F.3d 54, 58 n.5 (1st Cir. 2016)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Under that
method, the plaintiff must “proffer evidence which,
taken at face value, suffices to show all facts essential to
personal jurisdiction.” Baskin-Robbins, 825
F.3d at 34 (citations omitted). “It is not enough for
[a plaintiff] to rely on unsupported allegations in its
pleadings.” A Corp., 812 F.3d at 58 (citations
and internal quotation marks omitted). “Rather, [the
plaintiff] must put forward evidence of specific facts to
demonstrate that jurisdiction exists.” Id.
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted); see
also Carreras v. PMG Collins, LLC, 660 F.3d 549, 552
(1st Cir. 2011) (“A court need not . . . credit bald
allegations or unsupported conclusions.”). The Court
“must accept [Plaintiffs'] properly documented
evidentiary proffers as true and construe them in the light
most favorable to [their] jurisdictional claim.” A
Corp., 812 F.3d at 58 (citations omitted). The Court
will “also consider facts offered by [the Resort], to
the extent that they are not disputed.” Id.
determining whether a non-resident defendant is subject to
its jurisdiction, a federal court exercising diversity
jurisdiction is the functional equivalent of a state court
sitting in the forum state.” Baskin-Robbins,
825 F.3d at 34 (citations and internal quotation marks
omitted). Thus, Plaintiffs must show that the Court's
“assertion of personal jurisdiction over [the Resort]
would satisfy the requirements of both the Due Process Clause
of the federal Constitution and the Massachusetts long-arm
statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 223A, §
Badia accessed the Resort's website through a linked
advertisement on the website TripAdvisor. Doc. 20-2 at 1.
The Resort's website contains “numerous boastful
testimonials from Massachusetts residents who stayed at the
resort which are intended to attract additional Massachusetts
residents to the resort.” Doc. 20 at 12 (citing Doc.
20-9). The Resort's website directed Mr. Badia to enter
his contact information so that it could contact him
“for purposes of discussing services and travel
packages it offered.” Doc. 20-2 at 1. A Resort
representative then sent Mr. Badia an email, communicating to
him the Resort's ...