AP Fabrications LLC et al v. Woofter Construction and Irrigation Inc
ORDER granting deft's 3 Motion to Dismiss; pltf's complaint is hereby dismissed without prejudice. Signed by Judge Brian S. Miller on 11/30/11. (vjt)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
AP FABRICATIONS, LLC and
AGRI PROCESS INNOVATIONS, INC.
CASE NO. 4:11CV00327 BSM
WOOFTER CONSTRUCTION & IRRIGATION, INC.
Defendant Woofter Construction & Irrigation, Inc. (“Woofter”) moves to dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). [Doc. No. 3]. Plaintiffs AP
Fabrications (“APF”) and Agri Process Innovations, Inc. (“API”) object [Doc. No. 6]. For
the reasons set forth below, Woofter’s motion is granted.
Woofter moves to dismiss the complaint arguing that API and APF cannot establish
personal jurisdiction over Woofter, and even if they could, that venue is not proper here.
Woofter is a Kansas corporation, Complaint ¶ 5, and was referred to API by an Illinois
corporation. Affidavit of Larry McDonald, ¶¶ 5, 6. Woofter made contact with API and an
API representative came to Woofter’s offices in Kansas. McDonald Aff., ¶¶ 7, 8. Woofter
learned that API’s sister company, APF, performs construction services and hired API to
perform design and engineering services and hired APF to perform construction services in
Kansas and Colorado. McDonald Aff., ¶¶ 9-11; Affidavit of Steven D. Danforth, ¶ 3(c).
Woofter has no employees in Arkansas and did not travel to Arkansas to meet with any
representatives of either API or APF. McDonald Aff., ¶¶ 12, 14.
API and APF argue that this court has jurisdiction and that venue is proper because
Woofter “advertises and offers its services to the residents of the state of Arkansas through
the use of various media including the World Wide Web” and that Arkansas is “the
convenient jurisdiction for all parties involved.” Danforth Aff., ¶¶ 3(f), 3(g).
Woofter’s motion to dismiss is granted. Plaintiffs’ claims against Woofter must be
dismissed as personal jurisdiction does not exist over Woofter. Further, even if that
jurisdiction did exist, venue is not proper.
As a preliminary matter, plaintiffs argue that if affidavits or other documents outside
the pleadings are to be considered, then the motion to dismiss should be treated as a motion
for summary judgment and analyzed under Rule 56 [Doc. No. 7]. A court, however, can
examine affidavits and matters outside the pleadings when personal jurisdiction is
challenged. Stevens v. Redwing, 146 F.3d 538, 543 (8th Cir. 1998) (citing Land v. Dollar,
330 U.S. 731, 735 n. 4 (1947)); see also Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 730 (8th
Cir. 1990) (stating “there is substantial authority that the trial court is free to weigh the
evidence and satisfy itself as to the existence of its power to hear the case.”).
A federal court sitting in a diversity action may assume jurisdiction over a non-
resident defendant to the extent permitted by the long arm statute of the forum state. Bell
Paper Box, Inc. v. U.S. Kids, Inc., 22 F.3d 816, 818 (8th Cir. 1994). Personal jurisdiction
can be exercised to the fullest extent of due process, so long as Woofter has “certain
minimum contacts” with Arkansas that do not “offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.” Anderson v. Dassault Aviation, 361 F.3d 449, 451 (8th Cir. 2004)
(quoting International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). A non-resident
defendant’s conduct and connection with the forum state must be such that it “should
reasonably anticipate being haled into court there” and that there be some act whereby the
defendant “purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the
forum State[.]” Guinness Import Co. v. Mark VII Distributors, Inc., 153 F.3d 607, 614 (8th
Cir. 1998). Since personal jurisdiction is challenged, plaintiffs have the burden of showing
that jurisdiction exists. Dever v. Hentzen Coatings, Inc., 380 F.3d 1070, 1072 (8th Cir.
2004). Plaintiffs must make a prima facie showing, but that showing must be tested, not by
the pleadings alone, but by the affidavits and exhibits presented with the motions and
There are five factors to be examined when analyzing personal jurisdiction over a
defendant: (1) nature and quality of the defendant’s contacts with the forum state; (2) the
quantity of those contacts; (3) the relation of the cause of action to the contacts; (4) the
interest in the forum state in providing a forum for its residents; and (5) the convenience of
the parties. Digi-Tel Holdings, Inc. v. Proteq Telecommunications, 89 F.3d 519, 522 (8th
The nature and quality of Woofter’s contacts with Arkansas are minimal because it
simply contacted plaintiffs to work on projects in Kansas and Colorado. Danforth Aff., ¶¶
3(c). The quantity of its contacts with Arkansas is minimal as it sought out plaintiffs via one
telephone call to conduct the work in Kansas and Colorado. Danforth Aff., ¶¶ 3(c). The
relation of the cause of action to the contacts is again minimal as it seems the only argument
for jurisdiction is that plaintiffs reside in Arkansas and that Woofter has a website that can
be accessed by residents of Arkansas. See Danforth Aff., ¶¶ 3(f), 3(g). The State of
Arkansas’s interest in providing a forum for plaintiffs is a factor to consider but is not one
that weighs heavily because all states have an interest in providing a forum for their
residents. Further, it appears that plaintiffs traveled to Kansas to solicit the work and then
performed the work in Kansas and Colorado. Danforth Aff., ¶¶ 3(c). Indeed, the state of
Arkansas’s interest in providing a forum for its residents who solicit business out of state
and then travel out of state to perform the work is not great. Finally, the convenience of the
parties is not clear but likely would be best served by a forum where the work was
performed, and thus where relevant witnesses and evidence are located. In short, plaintiffs
have not met their burden of a prima facie showing that Woofter has purposefully availed
itself of the privileges of conducting activities in Arkansas.
Even if personal jurisdiction could be exercised over Woofter, venue is not proper
here. Diversity suits may be brought only (1) where any defendant resides, if all defendants
reside in the same state, (2) where a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise
to the claim occurred, (3) where any defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction at the time
the action is commenced, if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be
brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a) (emphasis added). By plaintiffs’ own admission, Woofter is
a Kansas corporation, Complaint, ¶ 5, and contracted with plaintiffs to perform work in
Kansas and Colorado. Danforth Aff., ¶¶ 3(c). Under the venue statute, venue is proper in
either Kansas or Colorado and would only be proper in Arkansas if no other proper venue
For the reasons stated above, defendants’ motion to dismiss [Doc. No. 4] is granted.
Plaintiffs’ complaint is hereby dismissed without prejudice
Dated this 30th day of November 2011.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?