P.A.M Transport, Inc. v. Faurecia Automotive Seating, Inc. et al
ORDER granting 7 Motion to Dismiss Case or, in the Alternative, Transfer Venue. CASE DISMISSED for want of jurisdiction. Signed by Honorable Jimm Larry Hendren on October 26, 2011. (src)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
P.A.M. TRANSPORT, INC.
Case No. 11-5130
FAURECIA AUTOMOTIVE SEATING, INC.;
FAURECIA USA HOLDINGS, INC.;
FAURECIA INTERIOR SYSTEMS, USA, INC.;
and FAURECIA RIVERSIDE, LLC
Alternative, Transfer Venue (doc. #7) and the response and reply
The Court, being well and sufficiently advised, finds
and orders as follows:
Faurecia Riverside, LLC.
The complaint is brought under both federal question and
diversity jurisdiction and asserts claims for breach of contract,
action on account, and failure to pay interstate transportation
The instant motion to dismiss asserts that the Court
matter for improper venue pursuant to a forum selection clause.1
“When personal jurisdiction is challenged, plaintiff
has the burden to show that jurisdiction exists.”
Industries Inc. v. Maples Industries, 97 F.3d 1100, 1102 (8th
Cir. 1996) (citation omitted).
“[T]he burden does not shift to
the party challenging jurisdiction."
Gould v. P.T. Krakatau
Steel, 957 F.2d 573, 575 (8th Cir.), cert. denied 506 U.S. 908
(1992), citing Newhard, Cook & Co. v. Inspired Life Centers,
Inc., 895 F.2d 1226, 1228 (8th Cir. 1990).
P.A.M., as the plaintiff asserting it, has the burden of
making a prima facie showing of this Court’s jurisdiction over
See First National Bank of Lewisville, Arkansas
v. First National Bank of Clinton, Kentucky, 258 F.3d 727, 729
(8th Cir. 2001); Falkirk Min. Co. v. Japan Steel Works, Ltd., 906
F.2d 369, 373 (8th Cir. 1990).
To ascertain whether jurisdiction exists, one must determine
"(1) whether a forum’s long-arm statute permits the assertion of
jurisdiction and (2) whether assertion of personal jurisdiction
Pursuant to the parties’ Notice of Stipulation (document #21) which was filed on October 7, 2011, the following
defendants have been dismissed from this action: Faurecia USA Holdings, Inc., Faurecia Interior Systems USA, Inc.,
and Faurecia Riverside, LLC. The instant motion will, therefore, be analyzed with respect to the only remaining
defendant, Faurecia Automotive Seating, Inc.
violates federal due process.”
Graphics Controls Corp. v. Utah
Med. Prods., Inc., 149 F.3d 1382, 1385 (Fed. Cir. 1998)(footnote
Arkansas’ long-arm statute permits the assertion of
jurisdiction to the extent permitted by the Due Process Clause.
Ark. Code Ann. § 16-4-101(B) (Supp. 1995); see also Kilcrease v.
Butler, 293 Ark. 454, 455, 739 S.W.2d 139 (1987).
sole inquiry this Court need make is whether the exercise of
personal jurisdiction is consistent with the due process clause2.
See 3D Systems, Inc. V. Aarotech Laboratories, Inc., 160 F.3d
1373, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 1998); see also Epps v. Stewart Information
Services Corp., 327 F.3d 642, 647 (8th Cir. 2003).
“The Due Process Clause protects an individual’s liberty
interest in not being subject to the binding judgments of a forum
with which he has no meaningful ‘contacts, ties, or relations.’”
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 471-72
Due process requires sufficient
“minimum contacts” between the defendant and the forum state so
that “maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions
of fair play and substantial justice.”
Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 291-92 (1980).
Courts are to apply the “minimum contacts” standard developed in International Shoe and its progeny. Hilderbrand
v. Steck Mfg. Co., Inc., 279 F.Supp.2d 1351, 1355 (Fed.Cir. Feb. 7, 2002).
To satisfy its burden, a plaintiff asserting jurisdiction
must establish either specific jurisdiction or general
Merck & Co., Inc. v. Barr Lab., Inc., 179
F.Supp.2d 368, 371 (D.Del. 2002); Mason v. Mooney Aircraft Corp.,
2003 WL 21244160 (W.D. Missouri)(Slip Opinion)(May 8,
2003)(explaining differences in two concepts).
General Personal Jurisdiction -- General jurisdiction
arises when the defendant has continuous and systematic contacts
with the state, irrespective of whether defendant’s connections
are related to the particular cause of action.
Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 (1984).
Specific Personal Jurisdiction – Specific personal
jurisdiction is distinguished from general personal jurisdiction
in that specific jurisdiction usually refers to a “situation in
which the cause of action arises directly from the defendant’s
contacts with the forum State.”
Viam Corp. v. Iowa Export-Import
Trading Co., 84 F.3d 424 (C.A. Fed. 1996).
It appears to the Court that PAM is asserting
jurisdiction under both general and specific jurisdiction
Accordingly, the Court will analyze the contentions
together and make distinctions when and where appropriate.
Due process focuses on the fundamental fairness of
exercising jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant, and
therefore, "it is essential in each case that there be some act
by which the defendant purposefully avails itself of the
privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus
invoking the benefits and protections of its laws."
Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253 (1958).
The United States Supreme Court has held that to maintain
general jurisdiction over a foreign defendant, the facts must
establish “substantial” or “continuous and systematic general
business contacts” with the forum state.
Helicopteros, 466 U.S.
Such affiliations are construed in light of the Due
Process Clause which permits the Court to exercise jurisdiction
only if doing so would not “offend traditional notions of fair
play and substantial justice." International Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945).
That is, a defendant must
“reasonably anticipate being haled into court” in the remote
World-Wide Volkswagon Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297
While lack of physical presence in a state cannot alone
defeat jurisdiction, “random,” “fortuitous,” or “attenuated”
contacts do not count in the minimum contacts calculus.
King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475 (1985).
If a party is
amenable to general jurisdiction, then it can be said that it has
such numerous contacts with the forum that it may be haled into
court in that forum even for a suit not arising out of its forum
See Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 416.
A showing of contacts alone, however, is not enough; a
foreign defendant may still defeat jurisdiction by marshaling a
compelling case that its exercise would be unreasonable or
contrary to concepts of fair play and substantial justice.
Corp., 84 F.3d at 429.
“The test of unreasonableness is a
multi-factored balancing test that weighs any burdens on the
defendant, against various countervailing considerations,
including the plaintiff’s interest in a convenient forum and the
forum state’s interest in resolving conflicts flowing from instate events.”
U.S. at 477.
Id., citing Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471
For these reasons, a “plaintiff must show
significantly more than mere minimum contacts to establish
Molnlycke Health Care AB v. Dumex Medical
Surgical Prod., Ltd., 64 F.Supp.2d 448, 450 (E.D. Pa. 1999).
Once a defendant’s contacts with the forum have been
established, the Court considers the following factors in
deciding whether to exercise jurisdiction:
the nature and quality of defendant’s contacts
with the forum state;
the quantity of such contacts;
the relation of the cause of action to the
the interest of the forum state in providing a
forum for its residents; and
the convenience of the parties.
Epps, 327 F.3d at 648, citing Burlington Industries, Inc. v.
Maple Industries, Inc., 97 F.3d 1100, 1102 (8th Cir. 1996)(addt’l
In applying these factors, the central
inquiry is the “relationship among the defendant, the forum and
Land-O-Nod Co. v. Bassett Furniture, Inc., 708
F.2d 1338, 1340 (8th
Cir. 1983)(quoting Shaffer v. Heitner, 433
U.S. 186, 204 (1977)).
Finally, even where a jurisdictional threshold can be
established, “personal jurisdiction may be defeated if its
exercise would be unreasonable” and in making this determination,
the Court considers factors such as
(a) the burden on the defendant; (b) the
interest of the forum state; © the
plaintiff’s interest in obtaining relief; (d)
the interstate judicial system’s interest in
obtaining the most efficient resolution of
controversies; and (e) the shared interest of
the several states in furthering fundamental
substantive social policy.
Asahi, 480 U.S. at 113-14; Falkirk Mining Co. v. Japan Steel
Works, Ltd., 906 F.2d 369, 374 (8th Cir. 1990).
The plaintiff’s complaint asserts that Faurecia
Automotive Seating, Inc.
(hereinafter “Faurecia”) is in breach
of contract for failure to pay certain charges related to
interstate transportation services which P.A.M. provided to
The complaint states that “Faurecia conducts business
in Arkansas and is subject to personal jurisdiction in Arkansas.”
In response, Faurecia contends that it lacks
sufficient contacts with the State of Arkansas to be subjected to
personal jurisdiction in this Court.
In support of this
contention, Faurecia argues3:
* that it was “not involved in business in Arkansas;”
that the relationship between the parties originated via
a third-party logistics firm out of Ohio; and,
that although PAM provided interstate transportation
services transporting Faurecia materials to and from various
Faurecia facilities, Faurecia had no Arkansas facilities.
PAM counters by asserting -- through affidavit
* that Faurecia and PAM negotiated extensively through
electronic mail and other communications concerning the terms of
a Master Transportation Service Agreement;
* that Faurecia was regularly engaged in communications with
Hopkins, who is PAM’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing and
located in PAM’s corporate headquarters in Tontitown, Arkansas,
about the interstate transportation services provided by PAM;
* that PAM hauled at least 60 of the unpaid shipments
identified in its Complaint from Mexico to Sterling Heights,
The defendants’ statements concerning their lack of contacts with the State of Arkansas are made solely in their
briefing and are not supported by affidavit testimony.
Michigan, or from Sterling Heights, Michigan, to Mexico and all
shipments traveled extensively in the State of Arkansas; and,
* that at least 73 of the unpaid shipments upon which PAM
makes claim for detention charges also traveled this same route
and extensively in the State of Arkansas.
The foregoing assertions appear to focus on the contention
that the Court has specific personal jurisdiction over Faurecia.
PAM further argues that Faurecia has contacts with
the State of Arkansas sufficient to support general personal
* Faurecia is the sixth largest auto parts supplier in the
world; and is the 9th largest automotive supplier in North
* Faurecia’s North America sales exceeded $3.4 billion in
* Faurecia’s own web site proclaims “Every Car Has A Bit of
The Court will first discuss the argument asserting
general personal jurisdiction.
Although PAM argues that general
personal jurisdiction is satisfied because auto parts
manufactured by Faurecia are ultimately included in cars sold
extensively in the State of Arkansas, this “stream of commerce”
argument is not an adequate basis for the exercise of general
jurisdiction and the Court rejects it.
As established by
Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, “[s]uch a
connection does not establish the ‘continuous and systematic’
affiliation necessary” for general jurisdiction.
the Court rejects this contention.
The Court now turns to an analysis of PAM's arguments
asserting specific personal jurisdiction.
PAM argues that specific personal jurisdiction is
present due to the contract negotiations between the parties.
This contention is not persuasive.
Applicable case law
indicates that “‘[m]erely entering into a contract with a forum
resident does not provide the requisite contacts between a
(nonresident) defendant and the forum state.’” Scullin Steel Co.
v. National Ry. Utilization Corp., 676 F.2d 309, 313 (C.A. Mo.
1982)(citing Iowa Electric Light & Power Co. v. Atlas Corp., 603
F.2d 1301, 1303)).
And, “[c]ontact by phone or mail is
insufficient to justify exercise of personal jurisdiction under
the due process clause.”
Porter v. Berall, 293 F.3d 1073, 1076
(8th Cir. 2002).
PAM further argues that, since it hauled the
shipments of Faurecia’s products extensively through the State of
Arkansas, those activities provide sufficient contacts with the
State to support jurisdiction.
However, the case law again
counsels otherwise -- holding that “[t]he unilateral activity of
those who claim some relationship with a nonresident defendant
cannot satisfy the requirement of contact with the forum State.”
Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253 (1958).
relationship is that ‘among the defendant, the forum, and the
Scullin Steel, 676 F.2d at 313 (quoting Shaffer v.
Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 204 (1977)). 131 S.Ct. 2846, 2851 (2011).
The Court, therefore, concludes that the arguments advanced
by PAM in support of either general or specific jurisdiction are
unavailing and that it does not, in fact, have jurisdiction of
Faurecia in this matter.
Faurecia also argues that the plaintiff’s complaint
should be dismissed or transferred for improper venue pursuant to
FRCP 12(b)(3) and/or 12(b)(6) based on a forum selection clause.
Because the Court has concluded that personal jurisdiction
is lacking, it will not address this argument but, rather, leave
it for a court with proper jurisdiction.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that defendants’ Motion to Dismiss
or, in the Alternative, Transfer Venue (doc. #7) is hereby
GRANTED and that this case is dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Jimm Larry Hendren
JIMM LARRY HENDREN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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