DUARTE v. NOLAN
ORDER denying 20 Plaintiff's Motion to Alter/Amend Judgment. (SEE ORDER FOR FULL DETAILS.) Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 7/20/2016. (lccrc2)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Case No. 15-cv-01396 (CRC)
MICHAEL EDWARD NOLAN, et al.,
On May 17, 2016, the Court granted both Defendants’ motions to dismiss, because Plaintiff
Pamela Duarte had failed to plead sufficient facts to enable the Court to exercise general or specific
personal jurisdiction over either Defendant. Defendant Michael Edward Nolan, a citizen of
California, allegedly struck Duarte’s car while working on a project for his employer, Defendant
Helix Electric, Inc. (“Helix”), in Richmond, Virginia. Helix was alleged to be a national
corporation with its principal place of business in San Diego, California and an office in Northern
Virginia. As relevant to the issue of personal jurisdiction, Duarte claimed that Helix maintained a
“Contact Us” page with its Chantilly, Virginia office address listed under the descriptor
“Washington, D.C.”; that its website listed four job openings in “Washington, D.C.”; and that Helix
had both sued and been sued in D.C. Superior Court in the last year.
The Court declined to exercise general personal jurisdiction over Helix, finding the above
allegations far too meager to demonstrate that Helix’s affiliations with the District were “so
constant and pervasive as to render [it] essentially at home here.” Duarte v. Nolan, No. 15-cv01396 (CRC), 2016 WL 2885872, at *4 (D.D.C. May 17, 2016) (quoting Daimler AG v. Bauman,
134 S. Ct. 746, 751 (2014)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court also denied as futile
Duarte’s motion to conduct jurisdictional discovery, since determining whether Helix “conducts
business in Washington, D.C.,” “employs personnel in the District of Columbia,” or “maintains an
office in Washington, DC” would hardly have established whether it was “essentially at home” in
the District. Id. at *5. As the Court emphasized, “this standard requires a plaintiff to show more
than that a defendant ‘engages in a substantial, continuous, and systematic course of business’ in a
particular state, as many large corporations do throughout the entire nation.” Id. at *4 (quoting
Daimler AG, 134 S. Ct. at 761); see also Daimler AG, 134 S. Ct. at 761 (rejecting this formula as
“unacceptably grasping”); Int’l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 318 (1945) (stating that
“continuous activity of some sorts within a state is not enough to support the demand that the
corporation be amenable to suits unrelated to that activity”). All-purpose jurisdiction, then, does
not exist in every state in which a defendant’s business activities are “sizable.” Daimler AG, 134 S.
Ct. at 761.
Duarte has now moved to alter or amend the Court’s order of dismissal, invoking Rule 59(e)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. She asserts that “this Court can exercise general
jurisdiction over Defendant Helix based upon . . . newly discovered evidence.” Mem. Supp. Pl.’s
Mot. Alter Amend J. (“Pl.’s Mot. Alter Amend”) 7, ECF No. 20. All of this evidence—for
example, that Helix maintains an “Active” status with D.C.’s Department of Consumer and
Regulatory Affairs, biennially submits required reports on its organizational structure, and has
performed electrical work in the District—would of course tend to show that Helix conducts some
“business activity . . . in the District of Columbia.” Id. at 9. But the Court plainly held that merely
“conduct[ing] business in Washington, D.C.” would not satisfy the Supreme Court’s moredemanding “at home” standard for exercising general personal jurisdiction. Duarte, 2016 WL
2885872, at *5. Duarte has made no effort to satisfy the standard that the Court must actually
apply, despite quoting it at length. As a result, her “newly discovered evidence”—even considered
cumulatively, and charitably assuming its timeliness—could not change the Court’s calculus on this
Duarte alternatively reargues that D.C. Code § 13-423(a)(4) authorizes the Court to exercise
specific personal jurisdiction over Helix. That provision permits personal jurisdiction “as to a claim
for relief arising from” a defendant’s “causing tortious injury in the District of Columbia by an act
or omission outside the District of Columbia if he regularly does or solicits business [or] engages in
any other persistent course of conduct . . . in the District of Columbia” (emphasis added). This
argument is baseless, given that—by Duarte’s own admission—“Helix’s contacts did not give rise
to the claim in the case at hand.” Pl.’s Mot. Alter Amend 9. And as the Court also made clear in its
previous opinion, Defendants were “alleged to have caused tortious injury outside the District,”
Duarte, 2016 WL 2885872, at *4, not “in the District of Columbia,” D.C. Code § 13-423(a)(4).1
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby
ORDERED that  Plaintiff’s Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment be DENIED. The
Court will accept no further filings in this case.
July 20, 2016
CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER
United States District Judge
Because the Court has at all times considered Duarte’s most recently proffered allegations in the
light most favorable to her, it will not entertain her alternative argument that she was prejudiced by
Helix’s purported “scheme to defraud the court” through deliberate misrepresentations. Pl.’s Mot.
Alter Amend 13.
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