REDI-DATA, INC. v. THE SPAMHAUS PROJECT
OPINION. Signed by Judge John Michael Vazquez on 8/2/2022. (jd,)
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Not for Publication
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Case No. 20-cv-17484
THE SPAMHAUS PROJECT a/k/a
THE SPAMHAUS PROJECT LTD.,
John Michael Vazquez, U.S.D.J.
This action arises out of Plaintiff’s allegations that Defendant, a foreign nonprofit
organization, defamed Plaintiff and tortiously interfered with its business. Currently pending
before the Court is Defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. D.E. 15. The
Court reviewed the parties’ submissions 1 in support and in opposition and decided the motion
without oral argument, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b) and L. Civ. R. 78.1(b). For the reasons
that follow, Defendant’s motion is denied without prejudice so that the parties may conduct limited
Plaintiff, Redi-Data, Inc. (“Redi-Data”), is a New Jersey corporation with its principal
place of business in New Jersey. D.E. 1 (“Compl.”) ¶ 6. Redi-Data is a list broker providing direct
mail and email marketing services to health-science industry clients in the United States. Id. ¶¶
12-17. To conduct its business, Redi-Data routes its clients’ marketing communications through
Defendant’s brief in support of its motion to dismiss, D.E. 15-1, will be referred to as “Br.”;
Plaintiff’s brief opposing the motion, D.E. 22, will be referred to as “Opp.”; and Defendant’s reply
brief in further support of its motion, D.E. 23, will be referred to as “Reply.”
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two internet domain names, “redimail.com” and “redidata.com,” and their associated internet
protocol (“IP”) addresses. Id. ¶¶ 13, 16. These domains and IP addresses are serviced by various
internet service providers (“ISPs”). See D.E. 22-14 (“Buckley Decl.”) at 5 n.1. Redi-Data
maintains full compliance with all federal and state laws, including the CAN-SPAM Act, 15 U.S.C.
§§ 7701-13, 2 in electronically distributing its commercial marketing communications. Compl. ¶¶
Defendant The Spamhaus Project (“Spamhaus”) is a not-for-profit limited liability
company. D.E. 15-2 (“Linford Decl.”) ¶ 4. Spamhaus tracks spam and related cyberthreats such
as phishing, malware, and botnets. Compl. ¶ 22. Spamhaus provides cybersecurity data to “the
majority of the Internet’s ISPs, email service providers, corporations, universities, governments[,]
and military networks.” D.E. 22-2 (“Carbone Decl.”) Ex. A at 1. Spamhaus is presently
headquartered in and incorporated under the laws of the Principality of Andorra. Linford Decl. ¶
4. Prior to 2019, Spamhaus was headquartered in and organized as the same under the laws of the
United Kingdom. Id. ¶¶ 3-4.
Spamhaus maintains blocklists, which are used by internet service and hosting services
providers to prevent Spamhaus users from receiving certain emails. Compl. ¶ 23. When Spamhaus
detects that an entity has distributed unsolicited bulk email (“spam”), it places the corresponding
domains and IP addresses on its blocklists, either automatically or manually by one its researchers.
Id. ¶¶ 25-28. This occurs regardless of the email’s legality or compliance with the CAN-SPAM
The CAN-SPAM Act governs the transmission of all commercial email and generally prohibits
the transmission of false or deceptive messages. See generally CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance
Guide for Business, FED. TRADE COMM’N (Jan. 2022), https://www.ftc.gov/businessguidance/resources/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business. The Act also requires commercial
emails to contain certain disclosures. Id. For example, messages must include the sender’s
physical postal address and explain how the recipient may opt out of receiving future messages.
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Act. Linford Decl. ¶ 9. Removal from the blocklists may be pursued and obtained through
procedures established by Spamhaus. Id. ¶ 15.
The blocklists, as well as all Spamhaus data, are hosted on Spamhaus servers and may be
accessed from the Spamhaus webpage. Id. ¶¶ 7-8. These resources are available, free of charge,
to all internet users who wish to use them. Id. ¶ 8. In fact, Spamhaus provides no commercial
goods or services whatsoever, not even to ISPs or other entity users. D.E. 23-12 (“Marin Decl.”)
¶¶ 5-8. Spamhaus does, however, maintain a “strategic partner,” Spamhaus Technology LTD
(“Spamhaus Technology”). Id. ¶ 9. Spamhaus Technology and Spamhaus are legally separate
entities: they share no income, governing authority, or power to bind or obligate each other
contractually. Id. ¶¶ 9-12. Spamhaus Technology, unlike Spamhaus, offers commercial services.
Id. ¶ 9. Among them is a fee-based, managed blocklist “datafeed” service, which is offered in
North America through Spamhaus Technology’s independent contractor, Security Zones. Id. ¶¶
In April 2016, Spamhaus added Redi-Data’s IP addresses to its blocklists; in April 2018,
Spamhaus added Redi-Data’s domain names as well. Compl. ¶¶ 3-4. Redi-Data maintains that
these additions were either intentionally or recklessly erroneous and substantially harmed its
business operations. Id. ¶¶ 31-36. Specifically, Redi-Data alleges that it has suffered “lost good
will, a tarnished reputation, lost opportunities, lost customers, and lost profits,” among other
injuries. Id. ¶¶ 5, 33-34. Upon Redi-Data’s request, Spamhaus removed the domain names from
the blocklists in June 2018. Id. ¶¶ 37-38. Later that same month, Spamhaus reinstated Redi-Data’s
domain names to its blocklists. Id. ¶ 39. Thereafter, Redi-Data repeatedly requested removal and
served a letter on Spamhaus demanding the same. Id. ¶¶ 40-42; Ex. A. Redi-Data did not receive
an “adequate response” to this letter, and Spamhaus has not removed Redi-Data’s domains or IP
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addresses from its blocklists. Id. ¶¶ 43-44. Moreover, Redi-Data alleges that Spamhaus has
expressly refused to remove Redi-Data’s domain names from the blocklists. Id. ¶¶ 44, 48, 59.
Redi-Data asserts that the sum of these harms warrants the award of injunctive and monetary relief.
Id. ¶ 53.
Redi-Data filed its Complaint on November 30, 2020, asserting the following four counts:
(1) preliminary and permanent injunctive relief; (2) interference with prospective economic
advantages and/or business relations; (3) tortious interference with contractual relationships; and
(4) defamation. D.E. 1. Spamhaus’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2)
followed. D.E. 15.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 12(b)(2) permits a party to move to dismiss a case for lack of personal jurisdiction.
In such a motion, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating “sufficient facts to establish that
jurisdiction is proper.” Mellon Bank PSFS Nat’l Ass’n v. Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1223 (3d Cir.
1992). In reviewing a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, a court “must accept all
of the plaintiff’s allegations as true and construe disputed facts in favor of the plaintiff.” Carteret
Sav. Bank, FA v. Shushan, 954 F.2d 141, 142 n.1 (3d Cir. 1992). But when a defendant raises a
jurisdictional defense, “a plaintiff bears the burden of proving by affidavits or other competent
evidence that jurisdiction is proper.” Dayhoff Inc. v. H.J. Heinz Co., 86 F.3d 1287, 1302 (3d Cir.
Thus, to withstand a Rule 12(b)(2) motion, a plaintiff may not rely on the pleadings alone,
as it “is inherently a matter which requires resolution of factual issues outside the pleadings.” Time
Share Vacation Club v. Atl. Resorts, Ltd., 735 F.2d 61, 66 n.9 (3d Cir. 1984). In conducting this
jurisdictional analysis, district courts may rely upon the parties’ declarations for relevant factual
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support. See, e.g., Shnayderman v. Cell-U-More, Inc., Civ. No. 18-5103, 2018 WL 6069167, at
*11 (D.N.J. Nov. 20, 2018) (using information from the plaintiff’s complaint and declaration to
determine that the defendant did not travel to the forum state or solicit a loan from the plaintiff in
the forum state); Pausch LLC v. Ti-Ba Enters., Civ. No. 13-6933, 2014 WL 5092649, at *6-7
(D.N.J. Oct. 8, 2014) (using declarations from both parties to conclude that contacts with the forum
were insufficient for personal jurisdiction).
Therefore, in determining whether personal
jurisdiction exists, the Court looks beyond the pleadings to all relevant evidence and construes all
disputed facts in favor of the plaintiff.
“[A] federal district court may assert personal jurisdiction over a nonresident of the state
in which the court sits to the extent authorized by the law of that state” so long as the jurisdiction
comports with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Marten v. Godwin, 499
F.3d 290, 296 (3d Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). The inquiry thus involves a twostep process: first looking to the state requirements and then to the constitutional requirements.
IMO Indus., Inc. v. Kiekart AG, 155 F.3d 254, 259 (3d Cir. 1998). New Jersey’s long-arm
jurisdiction law provides that courts may “exercise jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant to
the uttermost limits permitted by the United States Constitution.” Nicastro v. McIntyre Mach.
Am., Ltd., 201 N.J. 48, 72 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted), rev’d on other grounds sub
nom., J. McIntyre Mach., Ltd. v. Nicastro, 564 U.S. 873 (2011). Accordingly, the two steps are
collapsed into one and a court “ask[s] whether, under the Due Process Clause, the defendant has
certain minimum contacts with [New Jersey] such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend
traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” O’Connor v. Sandy Lane Hotel Co., 496
F.3d 312, 316 (3d Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). In other words, to establish
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personal jurisdiction, the Due Process Clause requires (1) minimum contacts between the
defendant and the forum; and (2) that jurisdiction over the defendant comports with “‘fair play and
substantial justice.’” Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 476 (1985) (quoting Int’l
Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 320 (1945)).
The “constitutional touchstone remains whether the defendant purposefully established
‘minimum’ contacts in the forum State.” Id. at 474 (citing Int’l Shoe Co., 326 U.S. at 316). A
defendant must have “fair warning” that its conduct will subject it to the jurisdiction of a foreign
court. Id. at 472. A defendant’s conduct and connection with the forum state must be such that
the defendant should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there. World-Wide Volkswagen
Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980). Mere foreseeability that the defendant’s conduct
may cause injury in a forum state is not enough to satisfy the Due Process Clause in this respect.
Burger King, 471 U.S. at 474.
Once a plaintiff presents a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction by establishing
minimum contacts, the burden shifts to the defendant. Carteret Sav. Bank, 954 F.2d at 150 (citing
Burger King, 471 U.S. at 477). When sufficient minimum contacts have been established,
jurisdiction is “presumptively constitutional.” O’Connor, 496 F.3d at 324. In turn, a defendant
“must present a compelling case that the presence of some other considerations would render
jurisdiction unreasonable.” Burger King, 471 U.S. at 477.
Personal jurisdiction may be established by means of general jurisdiction or specific
jurisdiction over a defendant. 3 Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915,
Personal jurisdiction may also be exercised on other grounds, including consent, waiver, and instate service on an individual defendant. See Jasper v. Bexar Cty. Adult Det. Ctr., 332 F. App’x.
718, 719 (3d Cir. 1999) (regarding consent); In re Asbestos Prods. Liab. Litig. (No. VI), 921 F.3d
98, 104-05 (3d Cir. 2019) (regarding waiver); Burnham v. Superior Ct. of Cal., 495 U.S. 604, 628
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919 (2011). If a defendant is subject to a forum’s general jurisdiction, it can be sued there on any
matter. Id. If, however, a defendant is solely subject to specific jurisdiction, it may only face suit
in the forum if its activities concerning the forum are related to the claims in the suit. Id.
A. General Personal Jurisdiction
“To achieve general jurisdiction over an individual or corporation, affiliations with the
forum state must be ‘so continuous and systematic as to render them essentially at home in the
forum State.’” Koch v. Pechota, 744 F. App’x 105, 110 (3d Cir. 2018) (quoting Daimler AG v.
Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 127 (2014)). A corporation’s place of incorporation and principal place
of business are the quintessential forums for exercising general jurisdiction. Daimler, 571 U.S. at
118 (citing Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 919). If “a defendant’s contacts ‘plainly [do] not approach’ the
quantity required for general jurisdiction, [the] Court need not inquire as to the other means by
which a defendant can satisfy general jurisdiction.” Allaham v. Naddaf, 635 F. App’x 32, 38 (3d
Cir. 2015) (first alteration in original) (quoting Daimler, 571 U.S. at 139 n.19).
Here, the Court cannot exercise general personal jurisdiction over Spamhaus. Spamhaus
is incorporated in the Principality of Andorra and also maintains its principal place of business
there. Linford Decl. ¶ 4. Prior to 2019, Spamhaus was incorporated under the laws of, and
maintained its principal place of business in, the United Kingdom. Id. ¶ 3.
no information supporting a finding of general jurisdiction. See Opp. at 7 n.1. Because Redi-Data
has not demonstrated that Spamhaus’ contacts with New Jersey are “so continuous and systematic”
as to render Spamhaus essentially at home in the state, the Court finds that Spamhaus is not subject
to general personal jurisdiction. Daimler, 571 U.S. at 127.
(1990) (regarding in-state service); see also Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute, 499 U.S. 585,
590-97 (1991) (regarding consent via a forum selection clause).
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B. Specific Personal Jurisdiction
Specific jurisdiction may be exercised if the defendant “purposefully directed [its]
activities at residents of the forum and the litigation results from alleged injuries that arise out of
or relate to those activities.” Burger King, 471 U.S. at 472 (internal citations and quotation marks
omitted). The minimum contacts analysis depends upon “the relationship among the defendant,
the forum, and the litigation.” Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 204 (1977). However, actual
“[p]hysical presence within the forum is not required to establish personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant.” IMO Indus., Inc., 155 F.3d at 259.
The Third Circuit has laid out a three-part test to determine whether specific jurisdiction
exists as to a particular defendant. O’Connor, 496 F.3d at 317. First, the defendant must have
“purposefully directed [its] activities at the forum.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). This
factor has also been characterized as “purposeful availment,” and focuses on contacts that the
defendant itself generated within the forum state. Burger King, 471 U.S. at 475. The “purposefully
directed” or “purposeful availment” requirement is designed to prevent a defendant from being
haled into a forum “solely as the result of random, fortuitous, or attenuated contacts,” or due to the
“unilateral activity of another party or third person.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing
Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U.S. 770, 774 (1984); World-Wide Volkswagen, 44 U.S. at
299; Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 417 (1984)).
Second, the litigation must “arise out of or relate to at least one of those activities.”
O’Connor, 496 F.3d at 317 (internal quotation marks omitted). This has been described as the
“relatedness” element. To establish causation, the “causal connection can be somewhat looser
than the tort concept of proximate causation, but it must nonetheless be intimate enough to keep
the quid pro quo proportional and personal jurisdiction reasonably foreseeable.” Id. at 323
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(citation omitted). The relatedness requirement is a “necessarily fact-sensitive” inquiry designed
to “keep the jurisdictional exposure that results from a contact closely tailored to that contact’s
accompanying substantive obligations.” Id; see also Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial
District Court, - U.S. -, 141 S. Ct. 1017, 1026-28 (2021) (analyzing the “relate to” prong).
Third, if the first two requirements are met, the exercise of jurisdiction must “otherwise
comport with fair play and substantial justice.” Id. at 317 (internal quotation marks omitted). To
overcome the presumption of constitutionality, “the defendant must present a compelling case that
the presence of some other considerations would render jurisdiction unreasonable.” Id. at 324
(internal quotation marks omitted).
A specific jurisdiction analysis is claim-specific. Remick v. Manfredy, 238 F.3d 248, 255
(3d Cir. 2001). Thus, variations of the O’Connor test may apply depending on the nature of the
action and its factual circumstances. For instance, as in the present case, when jurisdictional
contacts are allegedly based upon Internet activity, courts have used different approaches for
analyzing the “purposeful availment” requirement. Toys “R” Us, Inc. v. Step Two, S.A., 318 F.3d
446, 451-52 (3d Cir. 2003). Foremost among them is the “sliding scale” approach, pursuant to
which “the propriety of exercising jurisdiction depends on where on a sliding scale of commercial
interactivity the web site falls.” Id. at 452 (citing Zippo Mfg. Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc., 952 F.
Supp. 1119, 1124 (W.D. Pa. 1997)). Consistent with the traditional purposeful ailment analysis,
this approach to analyzing personal jurisdiction based on internet activity requires that the
defendant intentionally directed its activity towards the forum state. Id. at 452. Accordingly, the
Third Circuit has required “something more,” beyond the maintenance of a globally accessible
commercial website, to evidence purposeful availment of the forum state.
Id. at 452-53.
“Something more” may include a defendant’s intentional and knowing transaction of business with
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residents of the forum state and significant non-internet contacts with the forum state, such as
business trips, telephone and fax communications, purchase contracts, and advertisements. Id. at
The claim-specific jurisdictional inquiry may take yet another form where, again as in the
instant case, a defendant is alleged to have committed an intentional tort. O’Connor, 496 F.3d at
317 n.2 (citing Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 789-90 (1984)). The Calder effects test “can
demonstrate a court’s jurisdiction over a defendant even when the defendant’s contacts with the
forum alone  are far too small to comport with the requirements of due process under [a]
traditional analysis.” Marten, 499 F.3d at 297 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also
Machulsky v. Hall, 210 F. Supp. 2d 531, 541 (D.N.J. 2002) (explaining that minimum contacts
may be found to be sufficient under either the traditional analysis or Calder). Under Calder, “an
intentional tort directed at the plaintiff and having sufficient impact upon [the plaintiff] in the
forum may suffice to enhance otherwise insufficient contacts with the forum such that the
‘minimum contacts’ prong of the Due Process test is satisfied.” IMO Indus., Inc., 155 F.3d at 260.
The Third Circuit held that the Calder effects test requires a plaintiff to show the following:
(1) The defendant committed an intentional tort; (2) The plaintiff
felt the brunt of the harm in the forum such that the forum can be
said to be the focal point of the harm suffered by the plaintiff as a
result of that tort; (3) The defendant expressly aimed his tortious
conduct at the forum such that the forum can be said to be the focal
point of the tortious activity[.]
Id. at 265-66 (footnote omitted). To satisfy the third prong of the Calder effects test, “the plaintiff
must show that the defendant knew that the plaintiff would suffer the brunt of the harm caused by
the tortious conduct in the forum, and point to specific activity indicating that the defendant
expressly aimed its tortious conduct at the forum.” Id. at 266.
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The Zippo and Calder analyses are not mutually exclusive. See Christie v. Nat’l Inst. for
Newman Stud., 258 F. Supp. 3d 494, 500 (D.N.J. 2017). Stated differently, “whether tortious
conduct is committed via the Internet or in more traditional means, does not change the inquiry of
the location where [d]efendants purposefully aimed their alleged cyberactivity.” Id. (citing
Verizon Online Servs., Inc. v. Ralsky, 203 F. Supp. 2d 601, 612-17 (E.D. Va. 2002); accord Zippo,
952 F. Supp. at 1124 (explaining that determinations of minimum contacts should not lead
to “[d]ifferent results. . . simply because business is conducted over the Internet”)). In fact, both
the Third and Ninth Circuits have analyzed internet-based torts under the Calder effects test. See
Remick, 238 F.3d at 257-59; Panavision Int’l, L.P. v. Toeppen, 141 F.3d 1316, 1321-22 (9th Cir.
1998). Accordingly, the Court considers the facts of the instant case through both frameworks.
1. Purposeful Availment
Under the traditional minimum contacts analysis, the Court first analyzes whether
Spamhaus purposefully directed its activities at New Jersey. See O’Connor, 496 F.3d at 317.
Again, Redi-Data bears the burden to present a prima facie case in support of the exercise of
jurisdiction. Carteret Sav. Bank, 954 F.2d at 150. Here, Redi-Data has not met its burden of
showing that Spamhaus purposefully availed itself of New Jersey.
Redi-Data first argues that the global reach of Spamhaus’ data and services constitutes
purposeful availment of New Jersey. Id. at 8-9. Specifically, Redi-Data contends that because
Spamhaus provides information to over three billion users, “[l]ogically, the foregoing includes
businesses located in or operating in New Jersey and New Jersey Residents.” Opp. at 8-9.
However, “‘the mere operation of a commercially interactive website’ does not confer jurisdiction
wherever that website may be accessed.” Kim v. Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd., 513 F. Supp. 3d 462,
470-71 (D.N.J. 2021) (quoting Toys “R” Us, 318 F.3d at 454). Moreover, even if Spamhaus
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purposefully availed itself of a larger forum that includes New Jersey within it, this does not equate
to purposeful availing itself of New Jersey. See J. Mcintyre Mach. Ltd. v. Nicastro, 564 U.S. 873,
886 (2011) (plurality opinion) (rejecting the argument that purposeful availment of the United
States in its entirety is equivalent to purposeful availment of each of the fifty states). 4 Thus, that
users located in New Jersey—among other users worldwide—may access Spamhaus’ information
is insufficient to establish personal jurisdiction.
Similarly, Redi-Data points to specific ISPs, email service providers, and corporations
operating in New Jersey that use Spamhaus’ information and services. Opp. at 10; Buckley Decl.
¶¶ 6-21; Carbone Decl. Ex. D, Ex. E. The Court is not convinced that this confers personal
jurisdiction over Spamhaus. Redi-Data provides no authority to support its proposition that New
Jersey entities’ use of Spamhaus’ free information and services is tantamount to Spamhaus
purposefully directing its conduct toward New Jersey. The Order in DatabaseUSA.com LLC v.
The Spamhaus Project, Civ. No. 19-423 (D. Neb.) cited by Redi-Data is inapposite, as there, the
Court found that the defendant was subject to personal jurisdiction in Nebraska because it
“knowingly engaged in activities in the State of Nebraska by selling internet services to providers
who do business in Nebraska.” Opp. at 11; Carbone Decl. Ex. G (emphasis added). 5 Moreover,
at least one district court has held that “where there is absolutely no degree of commercial activity
The plurality also held that “a defendant may in principle be subject to the jurisdiction of the
courts of the United States but not of any particular State,” J. Mcintyre Mach. Ltd. v. Nicastro
564 U.S. 873, 884 (2011), but Redi-Data makes no such argument here.
Additionally, the court made such a finding in the context of a motion for default judgment, and
the parties had not briefed the issue of personal jurisdiction. See Carbone Decl. Ex. G at 2-3. RediData also references e360 Insight et al. v. The Spamhaus Project, Civ. No. 06-3958 (N.D. Ill.), a
case in which the defendant was held to have waived its personal jurisdiction. See e360 Insight v.
Spamhaus Project, 500 F.3d 594, 600 (7th Cir. 2007) (holding that personal jurisdiction had been
waived). Spamhaus has not waived personal jurisdiction here.
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that actually occurred,” the existence of a website that can be accessed by forum residents is
“particularly insufficient to justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction.” A.W.L.I. Grp., Inc. v.
Amber Freight Shipping Lines, 828 F. Supp. 2d 557, 569 (E.D.N.Y. 2011).
Redi-Data further argues that Spamhaus “actively investigates business, including…New
Jersey businesses.” Opp. at 12. In support of this contention, Redi-Data notes that Spamhaus
reviewed the website of Redi-Data, a New Jersey company. Id. at 13. However, Redi-Data fails
to explain how merely reviewing the websites of various businesses, some of which are located in
New Jersey, constitutes purposeful availment in the state. Indeed, another district court has found
that “the act of visiting a website…does not purposefully avail the user of the protection and benefit
of the server state’s laws.” NTE LLC v. Kenny Constr. Co., Civ. No. 14-9558, 2015 WL 6407532,
at *3 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 21, 2015).
Redi-Data additionally notes that “Defendant engaged in electronic communications with
companies located in or operating in New Jersey.” Opp. at 13. Specifically, Redi-Data refers to
communications between Spamhaus, Redi-Data, and ISPs doing business in New Jersey. Id. at
14; Buckley Decl. ¶¶ 6-21; Compl. at ¶¶ 37-39. However, these communications were initiated
by Redi-Data or its ISPs, not Spamhaus. See Buckley Decl. ¶¶ 6-21 (detailing the communications
initiated by Redi-Data and noting that Spamhaus’ normal procedure was to have the ISP contact
Spamhaus). Because minimum contacts “must arise out of contacts that the defendant himself
creates with the forum State,” these communications are insufficient to establish personal
jurisdiction. Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 284 (2014) (quoting Burger King, 471 U.S. at 475)
(emphasis in original); see also Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 417 (“Such unilateral activity of another
party or a third person is not an appropriate consideration when determining whether a defendant
has sufficient contacts with a forum State to justify an assertion of jurisdiction.”).
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As to the Zippo sliding-scale approach, Redi-Data argues that Spamhaus maintains an
interactive, rather than passive, website because people or entities may contact Spamhaus through
email or Twitter and because Spamhaus offers services to business operating in New Jersey. Opp.
at 9. These “interactive aspects,” according to Redi-Data, weigh in favor of finding personal
jurisdiction. Id. (citing Zippo, 952 F. Supp. at 1123-24). In the Third Circuit, “interactivity” has
been applied to commercial and contractual engagements. Toys “R” Us, 318 F.3d at 450 (finding
interactivity where a website allowed users to purchase merchandise through it); Ameripay, LLC
v. Ameripay Payroll, Ltd., 334 F. Supp. 2d 629, 63 (D.N.J. 2004) (finding insufficient interactivity
to permit personal jurisdiction where the website was incapable of executing contracts and forum
state users were limited to strictly non-commercial interactions). Here, Spamhaus’ website cannot
be deemed “interactive” because Spamhaus offers no commercial services and has no commercial
contracts. Marin Decl. ¶¶ 5-8; Linford Decl. ¶¶ 18-19. 6 Redi-Data further argues that Spamhaus’
website presents users with a link to follow it on Twitter. Opp. at 9; Carbone Decl. Ex. A at 1.
However, Redi-Data cites to no authority demonstrating that such a link renders Defendant’s
website “interactive.” And one district court has found that a website is passive even when it
displays the company’s contact information. See Lifestyle Lift Holding, Inc. v. Prendiville, 768 F.
Supp. 2d 929, 934 (E.D. Mich. 2011)). Plotted on the Zippo sliding scale, Spamhaus’ website falls
closer to the passive end of the spectrum. Zippo, 952 F. Supp at 1124 (noting that “[a]t one end of
Redi-Data establishes that an email contact form and fee-based “Datafeed” services are available
from the website of Spamhaus Technology. Opp. at 10; Carbone Ex. D at 3-7. However, these
commercial services were offered only by Spamhaus Technology, not Defendant. See Reply at 56; Carbone Decl. Ex. B. Conduct attributable to Spamhaus Technology, rather than Defendant, is
not relevant. Redi-Data does not allege Spamhaus Technology to be the Defendant’s “alter ego,”
nor does Redi-Data “provide any facts alleging joint decision-making, shared corporate structure,
or ‘whether the independence of the separate corporate entities were disregarded.’” Levy v. Jaguar
Land Rover N. Am., LLC, Civ. No. 19-13497, 2020 WL 563637, at *5 (D.N.J. Feb. 4, 2020).
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the spectrum are situations where a defendant clearly does business over the internet,” and at the
opposite, passive end are “situations where a defendant has simply posted information on an
Internet Web site which is accessible to users in foreign jurisdictions”). Indeed, a Spamhaus
blocklist is akin to a passive “listserv” in that it is freely available to users who wish to have its
data interact with their inboxes. See Linford Decl. ¶ 16; Barrett v. Catacombs Press, 44 F. Supp.
2d 717, 728 (E.D. Pa. 1999). Absent “something more,” the Court cannot exercise jurisdiction
over Spamhaus based on its website or blocklists. Toys “R” Us, 318 F.3d at 453 (citing Cybersell,
Inc. v. Cybersell, Inc., 130 F.3d 414, 418 (9th Cir. 1997)). Ultimately, Redi-Data has not shown
that Spamhaus’ internet activity constitutes purposeful availment of New Jersey under Zippo’s
sliding scale approach.
In sum, the Court finds that Redi-Data has not met its burden of establishing that Spamhaus
purposefully availed itself of New Jersey.
Where purposeful availment has not been shown, the Court need not continue its analysis
under O’Connor. However, even assuming Spamhaus purposefully availed itself of New Jersey,
Redi-Data has not satisfied the second prong of the specific jurisdiction inquiry. This prong, the
relatedness requirement, asks whether the litigation arises out of or relates to at least one of the
defendant’s contacts with the forum state. See Ford Motor Co., 141 S. Ct. at 1026. Regarding the
defamation and tortious interference claims, Redi-Data has not shown that they are so closely
connected to Spamhaus’ contacts with New Jersey so as stay within the “real limits” necessary to
“adequately protect defendants foreign to a forum.” Id. The Court agrees that Redi-Data’s claims
broadly relate to Spamhaus’ blocklists. Opp. at 15-16 n.9. However, submitting Spamhaus to the
jurisdiction of any forum based on the global accessibility of these lists would far exceed the
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foreseeability contemplated in O’Connor and “completely erode ‘the traditional due process
principles governing a State’s jurisdiction over persons outside of its borders.’” Triestman v.
Tuerkheimer, Civ. No. 17-8187, 2018 WL 2433595, at *3 (D.N.J. May 11, 2018) (citing Young v.
New Haven Advoc., 315 F.3d 256, 263 (4th Cir. 2002)) (holding that placing information on the
internet alone is insufficient to subject that person to personal jurisdiction in each State in which
the information is accessed). Likewise, even if the Court were to find sufficient minimum contacts
established through the interactivity of Spamhaus’ website, Redi-Data does not allege that its
claims arise from or relate to the Twitter link provided on the website. See Opp. at 9; Reply at 5
n.4. Thus, Redi-Data has not carried its burden of establishing a prima facie case of relatedness
between the alleged contacts and claims. 7
3. Calder Effects Test
Because Redi-Data brings intentional tort claims, the Court also considers whether
personal jurisdiction may be exercised under the Calder effects test. 8 See IMO Indus., Inc., 155
F.3d at 260 (“[U]nder Calder an intentional tort directed at the plaintiff and having sufficient
impact upon it in the forum may suffice to enhance otherwise insufficient contacts with the forum
such that the ‘minimum contacts’ prong of the Due Process test is satisfied.”) (internal citation
omitted). As an initial matter, Spamhaus does not contest whether the first two prongs of the
Calder test are met. Rather, it argues that the third prong is not satisfied because Redi-Data cannot
Because the Court finds that Redi-Data fails to satisfy both the purposeful availment and
relatedness prongs, the Court need not address O’Connor’s final requirement: that the exercise of
jurisdiction is consistent traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. See O’Connor, 496
F.3d at 317 (“[I]f the [first] two requirements are met, a court may consider whether the exercise
of jurisdiction otherwise comports with fair play and substantial justice.”) (internal quotation
Tortious interference and defamation are intentional torts. See MaxLite, Inc. v. ATG Elecs., Inc.,
193 F. Supp. 3d 371, 388, 390 (D.N.J. 2016) (tortious interference); Marten, 499 F.3d at 298-99
Case 2:20-cv-17484-JMV-JBC Document 24 Filed 08/02/22 Page 17 of 19 PageID: 413
show that Spamhaus expressly aimed it tortious conduct at New Jersey. Br. at 16-18; Reply at 1114.
The third prong of the Calder analysis requires a plaintiff to “show that the defendant knew
that the plaintiff would suffer the brunt of the harm caused by the tortious conduct in the forum,
and point to specific activity indicating that the defendant expressly aimed its tortious conduct at
the forum.” IMO Indus., Inc., 155 F.3d at 266. Spamhaus argues that there is no allegation that it
knew Redi-Data was located in New Jersey or that it intentionally targeted New Jersey. Br. at 16.
In support of this argument, Spamhaus points to the Demand Letter sent by Redi-Data’s counsel
which does not mention New Jersey or indicate that Redi-Data was incorporated and located there.
Id. at 17. Redi-Data counters that Spamhaus was aware of its location as early as May 2016
because Redi-Data’s New Jersey address is listed in its signature blocks; Spamhaus actively
communicated with Redi-Data and ISPs operating in New Jersey and investigated Redi-Data’s
website, which prominently displays the company address; and the New Jersey address of RediData’s counsel was clearly displayed in the demand letter sent to Spamhaus. Opp. at 20.
Construing the facts in favor of Redi-Data, see Carteret Sav. Bank, 954 F.2d at 142 n.1, it can
fairly be inferred that Spamhaus was aware that Redi-Data was located in New Jersey. 9 However,
The Court notes that merely receiving a demand letter indicating the plaintiff’s location is likely
insufficient to show that the defendant expressly aimed its tortious conduct at the forum state. For
instance, in Mobile Anesthesiologists Chi., LLC v. Anesthesia Assocs. of Hous. Metroplex, 623
F.3d 440, 446-47 (7th Cir. 2010), the plaintiff argued that “express aiming” could be inferred from
the defendant’s receipt of a lawyer’s cease-and-desist letter that indicated both the nature of the
harm and the plaintiff’s location. Id. at 444. The Seventh Circuit rejected this argument and
affirmed the Northern District of Illinois’ dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. Id. at 447.
In addition to the lack of authority, the court reasoned that exercising personal jurisdiction on these
grounds would be impermissible because it “would make any defendant accused of an intentional
tort subject to personal jurisdiction in the plaintiff's home state as soon as the defendant learns
what that state is. Calder requires more.” Id.; see Telemedecine Sols. LLC v. WoundRight Techs.,
LLC, 27 F. Supp. 3d 883, 891 (N.D. Ill. 2014) (“[Maintenance of a website accessible in a forum
state does not satisfy Calder] even where the defendant maintains its website after being placed
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Redi-Data has not shown that Spamhaus was aware that Redi-Data “would suffer the brunt of the
harm caused by the tortious conduct in the forum.” IMO Indus., Inc., 155 F.3d at 266. To the
contrary, the harm appears to have been geographically dispersed across the United States and
international borders. Spamhaus’ blocklist allegedly caused problems with ISPs based in New
York, Seattle, Toronto, Philadelphia, Texas, Massachusetts, and Arizona, see Buckley Decl. ¶¶ 721; D.E. 23-1 ¶¶ 3-15, and with clients “throughout the United States,” Compl. ¶ 66.
Even if Spamhaus knew that Plaintiff would suffer the brunt of the harm in New Jersey,
Redi-Data must additionally “point to specific activity indicating that [Spamhaus] expressly aimed
its tortious conduct at the forum,” “such that the forum can be said to be the focal point of the
tortious activity.” IMO Indus., Inc., 155 F.3d at 266. Here, Spamhaus’ blocklists were published
on a website accessible to internet users anywhere in the world. Linford Decl. ¶ 23. Simply put,
the publication of Spamhaus’ blocklists seems more like an “aimless projection into cyberspace”
and less like a deliberate action targeted at New Jersey. Christie, 258 F. Supp. 3d at 506. Thus,
Redi-Data has not shown that Spamhaus expressly aimed its tortious conduct at New Jersey or that
New Jersey is the focal point of the tortious activity. See Realuyo v. Villa Abrille, Civ. No. 0110158, 2003 WL 21537754, at *10 (S.D.N.Y. July 7, 2003), aff’d, 93 F. App’x 297 (2d Cir. 2004)
(finding no personal jurisdiction where defendant’s Internet post was not directed towards a
potential audience in the forum state “so as to defame the plaintiff in the forum state”).
In sum, Plaintiff likewise has failed to establish under the Calder effects test that the Court
may exercise personal jurisdiction over Spamhaus.
on notice of the allegedly harmed entity’s identity, location, and ownership of a similar
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C. Jurisdictional Discovery
Redi-Data requests in the alternative that the Court grant jurisdictional discovery. Opp. at
23-24. “Although the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating facts that support personal
jurisdiction, courts are to assist the plaintiff by allowing jurisdictional discovery unless the
plaintiff’s claim is clearly frivolous.” Toys “R” Us, 318 F.3d at 456 (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted). “If a plaintiff presents factual allegations that suggest with reasonable
particularity the possible existence of the requisite contacts between the party and the forum state,
the plaintiff’s right to conduct jurisdictional discovery should be sustained.” Id. (internal citations
and quotation marks omitted). Moreover, the Third Circuit, in considering jurisdictional discovery
requests concerning entity defendants, has recognized the utility of such discovery and expressed
a preference for granting it. Metcalfe v. Renaissance Marine, Inc., 566 F.3d 324, 336 (3d Cir.
2009) (citing Compagnie Des Bauxites de Guinee v. L’Union Atlantique S.A. d’Assurances, 723
F.2d 357, 362 (3d Cir. 1983)). Accordingly, the Court will permit jurisdictional discovery.
Following discovery, Redi-Data will be given leave to file an amended complaint, and Spamhaus
may renew its motion to dismiss.
For the reasons set forth above, Spamhaus’ motion to dismiss is DENIED without
prejudice so that the parties may conduct jurisdictional discovery.
An appropriate Order
accompanies this Opinion.
Dated: August 2, 2022
hael Vazquez, U.S.D
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