United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT JIMMY
FLYNT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
a breach of contract action arising from the alleged failure
of Defendants Hustler Cincinnati, Inc.
(“Hustler”) and Jimmy Flynt (“Flynt”)
to pay Plaintiff Nalpac, Ltd. (“Nalpac”) for
certain goods. Presently before the Court is Flynt's
motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, filed
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) on April
8, 2016. (ECF No. 3.) The motion has been fully briefed. (ECF
Nos. 5, 7.) Finding the facts and legal arguments
sufficiently presented in the parties' briefs, the Court
is dispensing with oral argument pursuant to Eastern District
of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f). For the reasons that follow,
the Court is granting Flynt's motion.
is a Michigan corporation, with its principal place of
business in Ferndale, Michigan. (Notice of Removal ¶ 3,
ECF No. 1; Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 1-1.) Hustler is an Ohio
corporation, with its principal place of business in
Cincinnati, Ohio. (Notice of Removal ¶ 3; Compl. ¶
2.) Flynt is a citizen of Kentucky. (Notice of Removal ¶
Complaint, Nalpac alleges that Hustler and Flynt applied for
and received a credit line to obtain goods from Nalpac.
(Compl. ¶ 7.) The credit application, dated March 1,
2010, is signed by Flynt as “owner” of Hustler.
(Compl., Ex. A.) Nalpac claims that Hustler and Flynt
thereafter ordered goods, but failed to pay the principal sum
due of $52, 186.75. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9, 11.)
Pursuant to the terms of the credit application, Nalpac also
claims interest on that amount at a rate of 18% per annum.
February 17, 2016, Nalpac initiated this lawsuit in Michigan
state court to collect the unpaid amount. (ECF No. 1-1.)
Flynt removed the action to federal court based on diversity
jurisdiction on April 4, 2016. (ECF No. 1.)
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the existence of
personal jurisdiction. Air Prods. & Controls, Inc. v.
Safetech Int'l, Inc., 503 F.3d 544, 549 (6th Cir.
2007) (citing Serras v. First Tenn. Bank Nat'l
Ass'n, 875 F.2d 1212, 1214 (6th Cir. 1989)). The
district court may address a Rule 12(b)(2) motion on the
parties' submissions or permit limited discovery and hold
an evidentiary hearing. Id. Where, as here, the
court does not conduct an evidentiary hearing and relies only
on written submissions and affidavits to resolve the motion,
“ ‘the plaintiff need only make a prima facie
showing of jurisdiction. In this situation, [the court] will
not consider facts proffered by the defendant that conflict
with those offered by the plaintiff, and [it] will construe
the facts in a light most favorable to the nonmoving
party.' ” Indah v. SEC, 661 F.3d 914, 920
(6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Bird v. Parsons, 289 F.3d
865, 871 (6th Cir. 2002)). Additionally, in this situation,
the burden on the plaintiff is “relatively
slight.” Air Prods. & Controls, 503 F.3d
at 549 (citing Am. Greetings Corp. v. Cohn, 839 F.2d
1164, 1169 (6th Cir. 1988)).
courts may exercise personal jurisdiction in diversity cases
only if such jurisdiction is (1) authorized by the law of the
state in which the court sits; and (2) is consistent with the
Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Youn v.
Track, Inc., 324 F.3d 409, 417 (6th Cir. 2003); see
also Calphalon Corp. v. Rowlette, 228 F.3d 718, 721 (6th
Cir. 2000) (“The exercise of personal jurisdiction is
valid only if it meets both the state long-arm statute and
constitutional due process requirements.”). When the
state's long-arm statute has been interpreted to be
“coterminous with the limits on personal jurisdiction
imposed by the due process clause[, ]” the two
inquiries merge and the court need only determine whether the
assertion of personal jurisdiction comports with due process.
Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d 605, 616 (6th
Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
“Under Michigan's long-arm statute, the state's
jurisdiction extends to the limits imposed by federal
constitutional due process requirements and thus, the two
questions become one. Mich. Coalition of Radioactive
Material Users v. Griepentrog, 954 F.2d 1174, 1176 (6th
Cir. 1992) (citing Chandler v. Barclays Bank PLC,
898 F.2d 1148, 1150 (6th Cir. 1990))
process requires that a defendant have ‘minimum
contacts . . . with the forum State . . . such that he should
reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.'
” Schneider v. Hardesty, 669 F.3d 693, 701
(6th Cir. 2012) (quoting WorldWide Volkswagen Corp. v.
Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 291 (1980)). This requirement
ensures that the exercise of jurisdiction does not
“offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.” Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945); Neal v.
Jannsen, 270 F.3d 328, 331 (6th Cir. 2001).
“Depending on the type of minimum contacts in a case,
personal jurisdiction can either be specific or
general.” Air Products & Controls, 503
F.3d at 549-50 (citing Reynolds v. Int'l Amateur
Athletic Fed'n, 23 F.3d 1110, 1116 (6th Cir. 1994)).
jurisdiction requires the defendant to have
“continuous, substantial, and systematic”
contacts with the forum State. Daimler AG v. Bauman,
__ U.S. __, 134 S.Ct. 746, 769 (2014). As the Supreme Court
has articulated, the defendant's “affiliations with
the State [must be] so ‘continuous and systematic'
as to render [the defendant] essentially at home in the forum
State.” Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v.
Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011). Contacts in the forum
resulting from the “unilateral activity” of
another party or person are insufficient to support the
exercise of general personal jurisdiction over a defendant.
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 US. 462, 475
(1985) (“The purposeful availment requirement ensures
that a defendant will not be haled into a jurisdiction solely
as a result of random, fortuitous, or attenuated contacts, or
of the unilateral activity of another party or a third
‘[S]pecific jurisdiction is confined to adjudication of
issues deriving from, or connected with, the very controversy
that establishes jurisdiction.' ” Indah,
661 F.3d at 920 (quoting Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 919).
In other words, “[w]hen the cause of action at issue
‘arises out of or relates to' [the defendant's]
contacts [with the forum], a court may properly assert
personal jurisdiction, even if those contacts are
‘isolated and sporadic.' ” Red Wing Shoe
Co. v. Hockerson-Halberstadt, Inc., 148 F.3d 1355, 1359
(Fed. Cir. 1998) (quoting Burger King, 471 U.S. at
472-73). The Sixth Circuit has identified three requirements
which must be satisfied to exercise specific jurisdiction:
First, the defendant must purposefully avail himself of the
privilege of acting in the forum state or causing a
consequence in the forum state. Second, the cause of action
must arise from the defendant's activities there.
Finally, the acts of the defendant or consequences caused by
the defendant must have a substantial enough connection with