United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION 
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Randall Woods filed a complaint against Defendants Ty Barker
and Craig Hunter for breach of contract and conversion.
Barker and Hunter filed a motion to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction and improper venue. For the reasons
below, the Court will grant the motion and dismiss the case.
resident Woods placed an advertisement online in the Wyoming
"Craigslist" classifieds to sell equipment located
in Wyoming. Texas residents Barker and Hunter called Woods on
the telephone to inquire. The parties agreed to terms of sale
over the telephone, and Woods emailed Barker a quote for the
sale of the equipment. Barker signed the quote in Texas and
emailed it back to Woods in Michigan.
the terms of the agreement, Barker and Hunter agreed to pick
up the equipment in Wyoming, and transport it back to Texas.
Barker and Hunter also agreed to wire three installment
payments to Woods's Michigan bank account. After Barker
and Hunter paid the first two installments, however, a
dispute arose. They refused to pay the final installment
payment. Woods filed suit in Michigan. Barker's and
Hunter's motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction and improper venue followed.
a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2), the plaintiff has the burden of
proving the court's jurisdiction over the
defendant." SFS Check, LLC v. First Bank of
Delaware, 990 F.Supp.2d 762, 769 (E.D. Mich. 2013).
"[I]n the face of a properly supported motion for
dismissal, the plaintiff may not stand on his pleadings but
must, by affidavit or otherwise, set forth specific facts
showing that the court has jurisdiction." Id.
"Presented with a properly supported 12(b)(2) motion and
opposition, the court has three procedural alternatives: it
may decide the motion upon the affidavit alone; it may permit
discovery in aid of deciding the motion; or it may conduct an
evidentiary hearing to resolve any apparent factual
questions." Theunissen v. Matthews, 935 F.2d
1454, 1458 (6th Cir. 1991).
a motion to dismiss for improper venue, the plaintiff bears
the burden of proving that venue is proper." Audi AG
& Volkswagen of Am., Inc. v. Izumi, 204 F.Supp.2d
1014, 1017 (E.D. Mich. 2002). "The court may examine
facts outside the complaint but must draw all reasonable
inferences and resolve factual conflicts in favor of the
plaintiff." Id. "If a defendant prevails
on a Rule 12(b)(3) challenge, the court has the discretion to
decide whether the action should be dismissed or transferred
to an appropriate court." Id.
federal court's exercise of personal jurisdiction in a
diversity of citizenship case must be both (1) authorized by
the law of the state in which it sits, and (2) in accordance
with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment." Neogen Corp. v. Neo Gen
Screening, Inc., 282 F.3d 883, 888 (6th Cir. 2002).
If both requirements are not met, the Court lacks personal
jurisdiction. Id. Michigan's long-arm statute
"bestow[s] the broadest possible grant of personal
jurisdiction consistent with due process." The
Sports Authority Michigan, Inc. v. Justballs, Inc., 810
(E.D. Mich. 2000). The statute authorizes limited personal
jurisdiction over nonresidents involved in "[t]he
transaction of any business within the state." Mich.
Comp. Laws § 600.715. "[E]ven the slightest act of
business in Michigan" satisfies the statute, so long as
the alleged cause-of-action arose from that act. Lanier
v. American Board of Endodontics, 843 F.2d 901 (6th
and telephone communication with a Michigan party and receipt
of payment in Michigan may constitute the "transaction
of business." See, e.g., id. at 907
("[D]efendants are clearly mistaken in asserting that
phone calls and mailings cannot constitute 'transacting
business'" under Michigan's long-arm statute.).
Here, Barker and Hunter communicated with Woods through
e-mail and telephone calls to Michigan, and wired payment to
Woods's Michigan bank account. Woods alleges causes of
action that arise from the communications and payment.
Viewing the facts in a light most favorable to Woods, Barker
and Hunter transacted business in Michigan within the meaning
of Michigan's long-arm statute. See ECF 1, PgID
4. Thus, the Court finds that Woods has met his burden to
show that Michigan's statute authorizes personal
jurisdiction over Barker and Hunter.
Michigan's long-arm statute is broad, the due process
clause limits its reach. To satisfy due process, Woods must
demonstrate that Barker and Hunter have sufficient
"minimum contacts" with Michigan such that finding
personal jurisdiction will not offend "traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice."
Neogen Corp., 282 F.3d at 889 (quoting Int'l
Shoe v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)).
Specifically, three requirements must be met: (1) "the
defendant must purposely avail himself of the privilege of
acting in the forum state or causing a consequence in the
forum state"; (2) "the cause of action must arise
from the defendant's activities there"; (3)
"the acts of the defendant or consequences caused by the
defendant must have a substantial enough connection with the
forum state to make the exercise of personal jurisdiction
over the defendant reasonable." Neogen, 282
F.3d at 890.
availment is "the 'constitutional touchstone' of
personal jurisdiction[.]" Id. (quoting
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475
(1985)). The standard requires that the defendant engage in
intentional, purposeful contact with the forum state which
invokes the "benefits and protections" of the forum
laws. Kerry Steel, Inc. v. Paragon Indus., Inc., 106
F.3d 147, 150 (6th Cir. 1997) (quoting Burger King,
471 U.S. at 475). Ultimately, purposeful availment requires a
"substantial connection" between the
defendant's conduct and the state which would cause the
defendant to "reasonably anticipate being haled into
court there." Neogen, 282 F.3d at 889 (quoting
Burger King, 471 U.S. at 475). "The requirement
'ensures that a defendant will not be haled into a
jurisdiction solely as a result of "random, "
"fortuitous" or "attenuated"
contacts.'" Kerry Steel, 106 F.3d at 150
(quoting Burger King, 471 U.S. at 475).
has not met his burden to show that Barker and Hunter
purposefully availed themselves of the benefits and
protection of Michigan law. Barker and Hunter do not reside
in Michigan, do not employ persons in Michigan, do not have
offices or property in Michigan, have not been to Michigan,
and do not have regular business contacts with individuals in
Michigan. Although Barker and Hunter entered into a contract
with a Michigan resident, "'an individual's
contract with an out-of-state party alone' cannot
'automatically establish minimum contacts.'"
Id. at 151 (quoting Burger King, 471 U.S.
at 478); see also Alisoglu v. Cent. States Thermo King of
Oklahoma, Inc., No. 12-CV-10230, 2012 WL 1666426, at *8
(E.D. Mich. May 11, 2012) (finding no purposeful ...