United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT WATCH SYSTEM, L.L.C.'s
MOTION TO DISMISS [#55]
HONORABLE DENISE PAGE HOOD, JUDGE
Motion to Dismiss [#55], Defendant Watch Systems, L.L.C.
(“Watch”) asserts that Plaintiff's cause of
action should be dismissed as it relates to Watch because the
Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Watch. Watch's
Motion to Dismiss was fully briefed, and the Court held a
hearing on the Motion to Dismiss on September 14, 2016. For
the reasons that follow, the Court denies Watch's Motion
forth in the memo pertaining to Marinoff's and
Kelly's Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff has sued numerous
defendants as the result of being wrongfully arrested and
convicted on two occasions for failure to register pursuant
to the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act
is a Louisiana limited liability company that offers software
solutions for sex offender registries to law enforcement and
state agencies around the country. (Am. Compl., Dkt. #22,
¶ 25; Dkt. #55, PgID #525) Since at least 2012, Watch
has had an agreement with the Michigan State Police
(hereinafter “MSP”) to accurately and reliably
provide and maintain sex offender registry database software
(the “Agreement”) consistent with the duties of
the MSP under MCL § 28.728. (Am. Compl., Dkt. #22,
¶ 25) After entering the Agreement, Watch provided
training in Michigan to MSP staff regarding the use of
Watch's product, and it provides ongoing maintenance and
service of its product used by the MSP. (Dkt. #55, PgID
525-26) Any other facts pertinent to Watch will be set forth
in the discussion below.
APPLICABLE LAW & ANALYSIS
procedure for deciding a motion to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) in the
Sixth Circuit is set forth in Serras v. First Tennessee
Bank National Association, 875 F.2d 1212, 1214 (6th Cir.
1989). The court may determine the motion on the basis of the
submitted affidavits alone, it may permit discovery in aid of
the motion, or it may conduct an evidentiary hearing, either
pretrial or during trial, on the merits of the motion.
Id. (quoting Marine Midland Bank, N.A. v.
Miller, 664 F.2d 899, 904 (2nd Cir. 1981)). If the
written submissions raise disputed issues of fact or require
determinations of credibility, the court may order a hearing.
See Id . The plaintiff then must prove that
jurisdiction exists by the same standard that would apply if
the matter were deferred to trial: the preponderance of the
evidence. Serras, 875 F.2d at 1214 (citing Welsh
v. Gibbs, 631 F.2d 436, 439 (6th Cir. 1980), cert.
denied, 450 U.S. (1981) (stating that “the
plaintiff must show by a preponderance of the evidence that
the court rules on written submissions alone, it must
‘consider the pleadings and affidavits in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff.'” Id.
(quoting Welsh, 631 F.2d at 436). Plaintiff
“may not rest on his or her pleadings to answer
affidavits submitted by the movant, but must set forth,
‘by affidavit or otherwise[, ] . . . specific facts
showing that the court has jurisdiction.'”
Serras, 875 F.2d at 1214 (citation omitted).
However, Plaintiff's burden is merely to make a prima
facie showing that personal jurisdiction exists. See
Id . If plaintiff meets that burden, the motion to
dismiss should be denied, “notwithstanding any
controverting presentation by the moving party.”
Id. (quoting Marine Midland Bank, 664 F.2d
issue of whether a federal court has personal jurisdiction
over a defendant is determined by applying the law of the
state in which the court sits. See Erie Railroad Co. v.
Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938) (noting that
“Except in matters governed by the Federal Constitution
or by acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is
the law of the state.”). In addition, the court must
consider whether constitutional due process permits personal
jurisdiction. Theunissen v. Matthews, 935 F.2d 1454,
1459 (6th Cir. 1991). The relevant inquiry is whether the
facts of the case demonstrate that the non-resident defendant
possesses such minimum contacts with the forum state that the
exercise of jurisdiction would comport with
“traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” International Shoe Co. v. State of
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945).
state of Michigan's long-arm statute on personal
jurisdiction over corporations provides that limited or
“specific” jurisdiction may be exercised where a
specified relationship exists between a corporation and the
forum. M.C.L. 600.715, provides:
The existence of any of the following relationships between a
corporation or its agent and the state shall constitute a
sufficient basis of jurisdiction to enable the courts of
record of this state to exercise limited personal
jurisdiction over such corporation and to enable such courts
to render personal judgments against such corporation ...