GODFRIED v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY
ORDER ON SCOPE OF JURISDICTIONAL DISCOVERY. By MAGISTRATE JUDGE JOHN C. NIVISON. (MFS)
Case 1:19-cv-00372-NT Document 38 Filed 10/13/20 Page 1 of 2
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MAINE
FORD MOTOR COMPANY,
ORDER ON SCOPE OF JURISDICTIONAL DISCOVERY
During a telephonic hearing to address several discovery issues, the Court directed
the parties to file written argument on Plaintiff’s request to conduct jurisdictional discovery
regarding Defendant’s contacts with or activity in states other than Maine. (Order, ECF No.
When the plaintiff makes a colorable case for the existence of personal jurisdiction,
the plaintiff may be entitled to “a modicum of jurisdictional discovery.” United States v.
Swiss Am. Bank, Ltd., 274 F.3d 610, 625 (1st Cir. 2001). The court has broad discretion to
award or deny jurisdictional discovery. Id.
In this case, where Plaintiff asserts specific jurisdiction, the Court has permitted
Plaintiff to conduct jurisdictional discovery. Defendant objects, however, to Plaintiff’s
request for discovery regarding Defendant’s activity, including its marketing activity, in
other New England states.
“[F]or a state court to exercise specific jurisdiction, ‘the suit’ must ‘aris[e] out of or
relat[e] to the defendant’s contacts with the forum.’” Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Super.
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Ct., 137 S.Ct. 1173, 1780 (2017) (emphasis in original) (quoting Daimler AG v. Bauman,
134 S. Ct. 746, 754 (2014)). Plaintiff contends that given the proximity of the New England
states to Maine and given that Defendant has identified a distributor of Ford tractors in
Hartford, Connecticut (Def. Ans. to Int. 10, ECF No. 37-2), Defendant’s activity in
Connecticut and the other New England states is relevant to the jurisdictional issue.
Plaintiff’s argument would in most cases effectively expand jurisdictional discovery
to permit a plaintiff to discover information about the defendant’s activity in neighboring
or nearby states. Such an expansion would be inconsistent with the First Circuit’s guidance
(“a modicum of jurisdictional discovery”), the fact that under Bristol-Myers, the focus of
the specific jurisdiction issue is the defendant’s contact with forum state, and the
proportionality requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b). The Court is not
persuaded that such an expansion is warranted in this case.
The Court, therefore, denies Plaintiff’s request for further information in discovery
regarding Defendant’s activity in states other than Maine.1
Any objections to this Order shall be filed in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil
/s/ John C. Nivison
U.S. Magistrate Judge
Dated this 13th day of October, 2020.
As referenced above, in discovery, Defendant revealed that while it has not identified any distributors that
purchased the model of tractor that is the subject to this action during the relevant period, a Hartford,
Connecticut location distributed Ford tractors during the period. (Def. Ans. to Int. 10, ECF No. 37-2). In a
discovery order, the Court directed Defendant to advise Plaintiff whether Defendant provided any
promotional materials to the distributors and, if so, to identify the materials. (Order, ECF No. 35.) If the
information provided by Defendant suggests that that additional information regarding the Hartford location
is relevant to Defendant’s activity in Maine, Plaintiff can renew his request.
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