United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
TALWANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Paul Ryan Barous's Complaint [#1] against
Defendant Ariel Z. Emanuel asserts claims of defamation and
breach of contract. Defendant responded with a Motion to
Dismiss the Complaint [#10] for lack of personal
jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) and for
failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
As set forth below, the court lacks personal jurisdiction
over Defendant. Accordingly, Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss the Complaint [#10] is ALLOWED.
faced with a motion to dismiss for want of personal
jurisdiction, a district court may adjudicate the claim by
one of three methods. Boit v. Gar-Tec Products,
Inc., 967 F.2d 671, 674 (1st Cir. 1992). Regardless of the
method used, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing
the court's personal jurisdiction over defendants.
Daynard v. Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson &
Poole, P.A., 290 F.3d 42, 50 (1st Cir. 2002);
Boit, 967 F.2d at 674-75. The most commonly used
method is the “prima facie standard.”
Boit, 967 F.2d at 675. Under this standard, the
district court must decide whether “the plaintiff has
proffered evidence that, if credited, is enough to support
findings of all facts essential to personal jurisdiction,
” and if so, his burden is met. See id.;
Ealing Corp. v. Harrods Ltd., 790 F.2d 978, 979 (1st
Cir. 1986). The district court does not act as a factfinder,
but rather “accepts properly supported proffers of
evidence by a plaintiff as true and makes its ruling as a
matter of law.” United States v. Swiss Am. Bank,
Ltd., 274 F.3d 610, 619 (1st Cir. 2001). The district
court may consider “facts put forward by the
defendants, to the extent that they are
uncontradicted.” Mass. Sch. of Law at Andover, Inc.
v. Am. Bar Ass'n, 142 F.3d 26, 34 (1st Cir. 1998).
The court need not “credit conclusory allegations or
draw farfetched inferences.” Ticketmaster-N.Y.,
Inc. v. Alioto, 26 F.3d 201, 203 (1st Cir. 1994).
matters such as this one, which has been brought before the
district court under diversity jurisdiction, the district
court “is the functional equivalent of a state court
sitting in the forum state.” Id. at 204. To
prove that the court has personal jurisdiction over
Defendant, 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).
assert personal jurisdiction over a defendant, the
Constitution requires that a defendant have “minimum
contacts” with the forum state “such that the
maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions
of fair play and substantial justice.”
International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310,
316 (1945) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
“A district court may exercise authority over a
defendant by virtue of either general or specific
jurisdiction.” Mass. Sch. of Law, 142 F.3d at
34. Plaintiff does not specify which theory of jurisdiction
he seeks to assert, and the court will therefore analyze
have general jurisdiction over an individual defendant when
(1) the defendant is domiciled in the state in which the
court sits, or (2) when the defendant's activities in
that state are “substantial” or “continuous
and systematic.” Helicopteros Nacionales de
Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414-16 (1984). The
defendant's contacts must be “so substantial and of
such a nature as to justify suit against [that defendant] on
causes actions arising from dealings entirely different from
those activities.” International Shoe, 326
U.S. at 318.
individual defendant's status as a corporate officer is
insufficient to establish general personal jurisdiction over
that individual defendant, even where the court has personal
jurisdiction over the corporation. See Calder v.
Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 790 (1984); see, e.g., M-R
Logistics, LLC v. Riverside Rail, LLC, 537 F.Supp.2d
269, 279-80 (D. Mass. 2008); Roy v. Roy, 47
Mass.App.Ct. 921 (1999). Rather, “[e]ach
defendant's contacts with the forum state must be
assessed individually.” Calder, 465 U.S. at
these principles, the court concludes that it does not have
general jurisdiction over Defendant. Plaintiff brings claims
against Defendant, a California resident, in Defendant's
individual capacity. Compl. 2 [#1]. In his Opposition to
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff asserts
that Defendant is CEO of Endeavor LLC, whose entertainment
subsidiaries occasionally perform in
Massachusetts. Pl.'s Opp'n at 4 [#18]. Plaintiff
further claims that Defendant attended a single event of one
of Endeavor's subsidiaries in Boston, Massachusetts. But,
the court does not gain personal jurisdiction over an
individual defendant simply by the fact that the
defendant's employer solicited business in Massachusetts,
see Noonan v. Winston Co., 135 F.3d 85, 92-93 (1st
Cir. 1998), or because the defendant made a single trip to
Massachusetts, see Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277,
285-86 (2014). Defendant's contacts with Massachusetts
fall far short of those necessary to justify suit against
Defendant based upon allegations wholly unrelated to
Defendant's in-forum activities. See International
Shoe, 326 U.S. at 318.
general jurisdiction is lacking, a district court may still
have jurisdiction over a defendant if the allegations in the
case “relate sufficiently to, or arise from, a
significant subset of contacts between the defendant and the
forum.” Phillips Exeter Acad. v. Howard Phillips
Fund, Inc., 196 F.3d 284, 288 (1st Cir. 1999). To assess
whether the court has specific jurisdiction, the court
employs 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) (quoting Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at
414). 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
International Shoe, 326 U.S. at 317).
court first asks whether there is “a demonstrable nexus
between a plaintiff's claims and a defendant's
forum-based activities, such as when the litigation itself is
founded directly on those activities.” Mass. Sch.
of Law at Andover, 142 F.3d at 34; see also Burger
King, 471 U.S. at 472-73 (quoting Helicopteros,
466 U.S. at 414 (1984)); Harlow v. Children's
Hosp., 432 F.3d 50, 60-61 (1st Cir. 2005) (“The
evidence produced to support specific jurisdiction must show
that the cause of action either arises directly out of, or is
related to, the defendant's forum-based
contacts.”). In Harlow, the First Circuit
explained that this first prong “requires a showing of
a material connection, ” and that “the
defendant's [forum]-state conduct must form an
‘important, or [at least] material, element of
proof' in the plaintiff's case.” 432 F.3d at 61
(second alteration in original) (quoting United Elec.,
Radio, and Mach. Workers of Am. V. 163 Pleasant St.
Corp., 960 F.2d 1080, 1089 (1st Cir. 1992)).
falters at the first step of this tripartite test. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant breached an “agreement or
contract” that the parties made “on/in the early
2000's, ” and that “defendant, systematically
orchestrated (more than a decade ago before what is going on
now in Hollywood) vicious false PR campaigns against the
Plaintiff.” Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges
further that both he and Defendant resided in California at
all relevant times described in the Complaint. Compl. 2, 5
[#1] (Plaintiff “lived in California for decades[, ]
until the last three years as of . . . 06-29-2018”).
Defendant's purported actions all took place in
California and did not target ...