EDDYSTONE RAIL COMPANY, LLC v. BRIDGER LOGISTICS, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE ROBERT F. KELLY ON 7/19/17. 7/19/17 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(kw, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
EDDYSTONE RAIL COMPANY, LLC,
BRIDGER LOGISTICS, LLC, JULIO RIOS,
JEREMY GAMBOA, FERRELLGAS
PARTNERS, L.P., and FERRELLGAS, L.P.,
ROBERT F. KELLY, Sr. J.
JULY 19, 2017
Presently before this Court are the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants, Julio Rios
(“Rios”) and Jeremy Gamboa (“Gamboa”), the Motion to Dismiss filed by Bridger Logistics,
LLC (“Bridger Logistics”), Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. and Ferrellgas, L.P. (collectively,
“Ferrellgas”), the Response in Opposition to Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss filed by Plaintiff,
Eddystone Rail Company, LLC (“Eddystone”), and all of the Replies and Sur-Replies thereto.
For the reasons set forth below, Defendants’ Motions are denied. 1
I. FACTS 2
Eddystone seeks to recover from the owners and controlling persons of Bridger Transfer
Services, LLC (“BTS”), who allegedly used BTS as a sham entity to defraud Eddystone out of
more than $140 million that it spent to build a transloading facility on the banks of the Delaware
Rios and Gamboa joined in the other Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. No. 34.)
For purposes of expediency, we have used the Introduction from Eddystone’s Response in Opposition to
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss as the factual background. (See Pl.’s Response Opp’n Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss.)
River. Bridger Logistics and its principals, Rios and Gamboa, developed a business plan to
deliver North Dakota crude oil by railcar to Eddystone, Pennsylvania, transload it to river barges,
and deliver it to a refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania. 3 To accomplish this, Eddystone alleges that
they induced it to spend over $170 million to construct a transloading facility that was essential
to their plan in return for a contractual commitment that they would transload a minimum
volume of crude oil at Eddystone’s facility over five years. Eddystone entered into a Rail
Facilities Services Agreement (“RSA” or “Eddystone Contract”) to build the facility with BTS,
which Rios and Gamboa held out as a bona fide independent entity with substantial business.
Eddystone alleges that BTS was a sham - a shell entity with no employees and no
independent revenue dominated entirely by Rios and Gamboa. According to Eddystone, BTS
made the transloading capacity it obtained from Eddystone (at a substantial cost and in return for
a five-year minimum volume commitment) exclusively available to Bridger Logistics without
obtaining any written contract or opportunity for profit in return. Despite securing and providing
the critical transloading capacity at great expense, Eddystone alleges that BTS did not share in
any of the profits Bridger Logistics earned from its refinery client. It further asserts that Bridger
Logistics directly paid the amounts due under the Eddystone Contract with BTS, including
deficiency payments in months when the minimum volume commitment was not met, for as long
as it needed Eddystone’s transloading capacity. Eddystone states that, as soon as the economics
of Bridger Logistics’ shipping arrangement began to fail, Bridger Logistics, Rios, Gamboa, and
Bridger Logistics’ new parent, Ferrellgas, 4 came up with a scheme to saddle Eddystone with the
cost of the transloading facility that they had induced Eddystone to build.
The refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania, is owned and operated by Monroe Energy LLC (“Monroe”). (Compl. ¶ 24.)
The Complaint states that Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. and Ferrellgas, L.P. are the parents of Bridger Logistics.
(Compl. ¶ 3.)
Eddystone states that Defendants stripped BTS of all of the assets on its balance sheet
and transferred them to Ferrellgas entities. Then, according to Eddystone, they abrogated the
arrangement by which Bridger Logistics had paid amounts BTS owed under the Eddystone
Contract. Eddystone further alleges that, in order to put distance between them and BTS before
the inevitable default on its obligations to Eddystone, they sold BTS to Jamex Transfer Holdings
(“JTH”), a newly formed shell company. Under the sale agreement, Eddystone asserts that this
asset-less and revenue-less new company assumed the obligation to fund minimum volume
commitment payments in the future. Eddystone further asserts that Defendants knew that JTH
had no ability to fund minimum volume commitment payments. Stripped of its assets and cut off
from its source of funding, Eddystone states that BTS promptly defaulted on its obligations to it.
Eddystone filed its Complaint on February 2, 2017. 5 The Complaint includes the
following counts: Count I - Alter Ego; Count II - Intentional Fraudulent Transfer (12 Pa. C.S.
§ 5104(a)); Count III - Constructive Fraudulent Transfer (12 Pa. C.S. § 5105); and Count IV Breach of Fiduciary Duties of Care and Loyalty to Creditors. (See Compl.) It alleges that
Defendants’ supposed manipulation of a shell entity as an instrumentality for the purpose of
obtaining the fruits of the Eddystone Contract without bearing any of its burdens makes them
liable as alter egos of BTS. Moreover, it claims that Defendants’ alleged decision to strip BTS
of its assets, abrogate the course of dealing by which Bridger Logistics paid the minimum
volume commitment charges of BTS, and then purport to transfer that obligation to an insolvent
entity gives rise to fraudulent transfer liability. Furthermore, it alleges that, because BTS was
“Under the United States Constitution, the federal judicial power encompasses ‘all Cases of admiralty and maritime
Jurisdiction.’” Hargus v. Ferocious & Impetuous, LLC, 840 F.3d 133, 136 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting U.S. Const. art.
III, § 2, cl. 1.). “Congress codified that jurisdiction at 28 U.S.C. § 1333(1), which provides that federal district
courts have original jurisdiction over ‘[a]ny civil case of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction.’” Id. (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 1333(1)).
purportedly well within the zone of insolvency with obligations to Eddystone far in excess of its
actual assets or cash flow, Defendants owed fiduciary duties to manage BTS in the interests of its
creditor, Eddystone. Instead, Defendants supposedly used their control over BTS to exploit it for
their own benefit, and to the detriment of Eddystone, in violation of their fiduciary duties.
Rios and Gamboa deny Eddystone’s allegations, and move to dismiss Eddystone’s
Complaint on several grounds, which include a failure to state a claim and lack of personal
jurisdiction. Regarding personal jurisdiction, Defendants assert that they both are residents of
Texas who have not paid taxes in Pennsylvania, own no real or personal property in
Pennsylvania, and maintain no bank accounts or licenses in Pennsylvania. (Defs.’ Mot. to
Dismiss at 8) (citing Ex. A (Declaration of Julio Rios) (“Rios Decl.”) ¶ 2; Ex. B (Declaration of
Jeremy Gamboa) (“Gamboa Decl.”) ¶ 2.) 6 They also argue that they are shielded by the
fiduciary shield doctrine because Eddystone’s claims are asserted against them solely in their
corporate roles, and their only contacts with Pennsylvania were in their corporate capacities.
For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss by Rios and Gamboa based upon a
lack of personal jurisdiction is denied. Likewise, Rios and Gamboa’s Motion to Dismiss based
Rios and Gamboa move for dismissal based on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). (Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss
at 5.) Once a defendant raises a jurisdictional defense, the plaintiff “must prove by affidavits or other competent
evidence that jurisdiction is proper.” Metcalfe v. Renaissance Marine, Inc., 566 F.3d 324, 330 (3d Cir. 2009)
(citation omitted). Where, as here, the district court does not hold an evidentiary hearing, “a plaintiff need only
establish a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction and the plaintiff is entitled to have its allegations taken as true
and all factual disputes drawn in its favor.” Miller Yacht Sales, Inc. v. Smith, 384 F.3d 93, 97 (3d Cir. 2004).
However, the plaintiff may not rely on the pleadings alone and “must sustain its burden of proof in establishing
jurisdictional facts through sworn affidavits or other competent evidence.” Patterson by Patterson v. F.B.I., 893
F.2d 595, 604 (3d Cir. 1990). In this case, Eddystone has submitted a sworn declaration of Jeffrey M. Theodore,
Esq. (“Theodore Decl.”), an attorney representing Eddystone who reviewed emails between Rios, Gamboa and
Eddystone personnel, attesting to the facts that form the basis of the jurisdictional analysis below. (See Pl.’s
Response Opp’n Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss; Theodore Decl.) As a result, Eddystone has provided sufficient evidence
to overcome Defendants’ Motion.
upon a failure to state a claim, as well as the Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim filed
by Bridger Logistics and Ferrellgas, are denied as meritless at this stage of the litigation.
A. Motion to Dismiss For Lack of Personal Jurisdiction
1 . Specific Jurisdiction
“Federal courts . . . may exercise personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants to the
extent provided by the law of the state in which the federal court sits.” Penco Prods., Inc. v.
WEC Mfg., LLC, 974 F. Supp. 2d 740, 746 (E.D. Pa. 2013) (citation omitted). “Pennsylvania’s
Long-Arm Statute allows personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants to the constitutional
limits of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Id. (citing 42 Pa. Cons. Stat.
Ann. § 5322(b); Mellon Bank (East) PSFS, Nat’l Ass’n v. Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1221 (3d Cir.
1992)). “Under this standard, nonresident defendants are required to have minimum contacts
with Pennsylvania so as not to offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Id.
(citing Marten v. Godwin, 499 F.3d 290, 296 (3d Cir. 2007); Int’l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326
U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). “There are two types of personal jurisdiction: general and specific.” 7 Id.
(citing Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414-15 & n.9 (1984)).
Regarding specific jurisdiction, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
(“Third Circuit”) has provided a clear summary of this jurisdictional analysis, noting:
[t]he inquiry as to whether specific jurisdiction exists has three
parts. First, the defendant must have “purposefully directed [its]
activities” at the forum. Second, the litigation must “arise out of or
relate to” at least one of those activities. And third, if the prior two
requirements are met, a court may consider whether the exercise of
jurisdiction otherwise “comport[s] with fair play and substantial
The parties only argue about specific jurisdiction; therefore, we limit our analysis to specific jurisdiction.
O’Connor v. Sandy Lane Hotel Co., Ltd., 496 F.3d 312, 317 (3d Cir. 2007) (internal citations
Eddystone has made a prima facie showing of specific jurisdiction over Rios and
Gamboa for each claim. 8 First, it is clear that Rios and Gamboa both purposefully directed their
activities at Pennsylvania. As set forth by Eddystone, “Rios and Gamboa devised and managed
an entire shipping operation in the state.” (Pl.’s Response Opp’n Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at 42.)
Eddystone goes on to argue that both Rios and Gamboa:
(1) developed and carried out a plan to transport oil into
Pennsylvania, transload it at the Pennsylvania transloading facility
at issue in this litigation, and deliver it to a refinery in Trainer,
Pennsylvania, Compl. ¶ 3; (2) negotiated and executed a series of
contracts with Eddystone and Monroe in Pennsylvania to
accomplish this, Compl. ¶¶ 2, 21–25, 36; (3) executed a series of
transactions to [allegedly] impede a Pennsylvania creditor from
collecting its lawful debts, Compl. ¶¶ 7–10, 48–50; (4) repeatedly
visited and toured the Eddystone facility and Monroe refinery in
Pennsylvania and had extensive telephonic and email
communications with Eddystone personnel, [Canopy Prospecting,
Inc.] personnel, and Monroe personnel in Pennsylvania to manage
their business shipping crude oil through the state, negotiate with
railroads and other counter-parties, market the capacity Bridger
controlled at the Facility, and, ultimately, [allegedly] structure the
transactions designed to prevent Eddystone from recovering the
sums due under the RSA. 9
“Though specific jurisdiction must ordinarily be analyzed claim-by-claim, it is not ‘necessary to do so in all
multiple claim cases.’” Phila. Prof’l Collections, LLC v. Young, No. 10-724, 2010 WL 5257651, at *4 n.59 (E.D.
Pa. Dec. 22, 2010) (quoting Remick v. Manfredy, 238 F.3d 248, 255-56 (3d Cir. 2001)). Here, Eddystone’s claims
for Alter Ego, Intentional Fraudulent Transfer (12 Pa. C. S. § 5104(a)), Constructive Fraudulent Transfer (12 Pa.
C.S. § 5105), and Breach of Fiduciary Duties of Care and Loyalty to Creditors all factually overlap since each claim
is based upon the Eddystone Contract and the alleged orchestration of a series of transactions to prevent Eddystone
from recovering the amounts it was supposedly due under that agreement. Consequently, it is unnecessary to
conduct a separate jurisdictional inquiry as to each claim. Id. (citing O’Connor, 496 F.3d at 318 n.3 (loss of
consortium claim factually overlaps with, and is derivative of, negligence claim and does not require separate
analysis); CDV Mgmt., LP v. Integrated Airline Servs., No. 04-4173, 2005 WL 230630, at *1, *4-5 (E.D. Pa. Jan.
31, 2005) (analyzing specific jurisdiction for breach and unjust enrichment claims together)). Nevertheless, we
conclude that there is specific jurisdiction over both Rios and Gamboa regarding each individual claim because their
contacts show that they purposely directed their activities towards Pennsylvania, each claim arises out of those
activities, and exercising personal jurisdiction comports with the notions of fair play and substantial justice. See
O’Connor, 496 F.3d at 317.
Eddystone also points out the following:
(Id. at 41; Theodore Decl.; Exs. 1-11.) Specifically, the Theodore Declaration, which includes
exhibits of various relevant emails, states that “Rios and Gamboa directed dozens or hundreds of
email exchanges as well as telephone calls to Eddystone personnel in Pennsylvania, and made
several in-person visits to the state.” (Id. ¶ 2.) According to Theodore, “[t]hese emails reflect
that Rios and Gamboa travelled to Pennsylvania repeatedly in order to meet with Eddystone,
give tours of the facility, and direct the operations of Bridger Transfer Services and its affiliates.”
(Id. ¶ 3.) Significantly, neither Rios nor Gamboa contest the veracity of the claims made in the
Theodore Declaration or its exhibits. In light of the aforementioned, we conclude that the first
prong is met because Rios and Gamboa purposefully directed their activities at Pennsylvania.
Second, regarding the “arise out of or relate to” prong, there is no doubt that Eddystone’s claims
all arise out of those activities and transactions in Pennsylvania.
Third, the extension of personal jurisdiction comports with fair play and substantial
justice because Rios and Gamboa’s alleged actions represent a concerted effort to engage
Eddystone in Pennsylvania and to induce it to take specific actions that they knew would cause
harm in its home state. 10 In determining whether exercising jurisdiction over Rios and Gamboa
[Defendants] make no affirmative denial that they had contacts with Pennsylvania during the 2016
time period in which they wound up their crude oil operation in the state and made plans to sell
BTS to Jamex Transfer Holdings. Rios and Gamboa’s counterparty was the Monroe Energy
refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania. Compl. ¶¶ 24, 25. The contract that they negotiated to suspend
in 2016 was a contract to deliver crude oil to that Pennsylvania refinery. Compl. ¶¶ 24, 36, 47.
BTS, the entity that they [allegedly] cut off from funding and transferred, was transloading crude
oil in Pennsylvania and the RSA obligations that Rios and Gamboa were thereby [allegedly]
evading were to a transloading facility in Eddystone, Pennsylvania. Compl. ¶¶ 22, 23.
(Pl.’s Surreply at 18-19.)
Rios and Gamboa do not present any substantive argument pertaining to the “fair play and substantial justice”
prong. (Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at 15.) (“Because Rios and Gamboa do not have sufficient minimum contacts to
warrant exercising personal jurisdiction over them in this court under the first two elements of the specific
jurisdiction test, no fair-play inquiry is necessary.”) In their Reply, they argue that “[f]ar from not disputing that the
exercise of jurisdiction would comport with fair play and substantial justice, any exercise of jurisdiction would
comports with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice, the following four factors
are generally addressed: “‘the burden on the defendant; the forum State’s interest in adjudicating
the dispute; the plaintiff’s interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution of controversies; and
the shared interest of the several States in furthering fundamental substantive social policies.’”
Miller Yacht Sales, Inc., 384 F.3d at 97 (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462,
477 (1985)). “Pennsylvania has a strong interest in deterring actors from committing torts within
its territory.” FFR SE, LLC v. Sanborn, No. 14-5439, 2015 WL 3970923, at *6 (E.D. Pa. June
30, 2015) (citing Sullick v. United Pet Grp., Inc., No. 14-2950, 2015 WL 3643988, at *8 (E.D.
Pa. June 12, 2015)). We acknowledge that it will be a burden for Rios and Gamboa, who are
from Texas, to litigate in Pennsylvania; however, “allowing [them] to reap the benefit of
conducting business in Pennsylvania ‘while leaving an injured plaintiff remediless is
fundamentally unjust.’” Id. (citing Merced v. Gemstar Grp., Inc., No. 10-3054, 2011 WL
5865964, at *5 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 22, 2011)).
Rios and Gamboa could reasonably foresee that their contacts with Eddystone in
Pennsylvania would cause its injuries there; therefore, they could reasonably foresee being haled
into a Pennsylvania court. See Provident Nat’l Bank v. California Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n, 819
F.2d 434, 437 (3d Cir. 1987) (“The nature of these contacts must be such that the defendant
should be reasonably able to anticipate being haled into court in the forum state.”). Their
contacts with Pennsylvania were instrumental in both the formation of the Eddystone Contract
(which created a continuing relationship with Eddystone within Pennsylvania for more than five
years) and the alleged scheme to get out of the agreement, both of which form the foundation of
this case. Each claim involved in this litigation arises from the activities of Rios and Gamboa in
constitute such a violation of fair play and substantial justice that the Court can resolve the jurisdictional issue
before even reaching this second level of inquiry.” (Defs.’ Am. Reply at 13.)
Pennsylvania, and the exercise of jurisdiction in this case comports with fair play and substantial
justice. While Rios and Gamboa may face some inconvenience since their home state is Texas,
we find that Eddystone’s interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution of its controversies, as
well as Pennsylvania’s interest in adjudicating this dispute, favor Pennsylvania as a reasonable
forum. See O’Connor, 496 F.3d at 324-25 (“[W]hen minimum contacts exist, due process
demands no more than a reasonable forum.”). As such, Rios and Gamboa have not presented
any evidence to support a showing of unfairness, and they have failed to meet their burden of
presenting a compelling case that jurisdiction is unreasonable. Therefore, we hold that
jurisdiction in Pennsylvania “comport[s] with fair play and substantial justice.” See id.at 496
F.3d at 317; Burger King, 471 U.S. at 476.
We conclude that Rios and Gamboa have significant minimum contacts with
Pennsylvania to support personal jurisdiction. They purposely directed their activities towards
Pennsylvania, Eddystone’s claims arise out of those activities, and exercising personal
jurisdiction comports with the notions of fair play and substantial justice. Consequently, we find
that we have personal jurisdiction over Rios and Gamboa regarding all of the claims in this
2. Fiduciary Shield Doctrine
Rios and Gamboa additionally argue that jurisdiction over them is improper because of
the “fiduciary shield doctrine,” which sets forth “[a]s a general rule, individuals performing acts
in a state in their corporate capacity are not subject to personal jurisdiction of the courts of that
state of those acts.” 11 D & S Screen Fund II, A v. Ferrari, 174 F. Supp. 2d 343, 347 (E.D. Pa.
“The fiduciary shield doctrine is not established law in [the] Third Circuit. . . .” Schley v. Microsoft Corp., No.
08-3589, 2008 WL 5075266, at *11-12 (D.N.J. Nov. 24, 2008), amended, No. 08-3589, 2009 WL 197568 (D.N.J.
Jan. 23, 2009); compare Cerciello v. Canale, 563 F. App’x 924, 927-28 (3d Cir. 2014) (“This so-called ‘corporate
shield’ doctrine sometimes protects defendants who are thus sued in their individual capacities for what are
2001) (citation omitted). “Where, however, the corporate officer engages in tortious conduct in
his or her corporate capacity in the forum state, personal liability may attach.” Id. (citations
omitted); see also Mendelsohn, Drucker & Assocs. v. Titan Atlas Mfg., Inc., 885 F. Supp. 2d
767, 785 (E.D. Pa. 2012) (finding personal jurisdiction over chief executive officer for alleged
participation in torts). “Accordingly, courts have refused to permit a corporate officer to invoke
the shield when the officer was involved in tortious conduct for which he or she could be held
personally liable.” Id. (citation omitted). “Using a case-by-case approach to determine whether
corporate contacts should be considered for personal jurisdiction over an officer, courts analyze
the following factors: (1) the officer’s role in the corporate structure; (2) the quality of the
officer’s contacts; and (3) the nature and extent of the officer’s participation in the alleged
tortious conduct.” Id. (citations omitted).
With respect to the roles of Rios and Gamboa in the corporate structure, at the time of the
alleged conduct, both Defendants held senior level positons. “Gamboa was employed at
Ferrellgas, Inc. - the General Partner of Ferrellgas, L.P. - initially as a Senior Vice-President,
then later as an Executive Vice-President, and was also employed as the Chief Operating Officer
of Bridger Logistics. . . . Rios was employed by Ferrellgas, Inc. as an Executive Vice President,
and by Bridger Logistics as President and Chief Executive Officer.” (Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at
8) (citing Gamboa Decl. ¶ 3; Rios Decl. ¶ 3.)
Regarding the quality of Rios and Gamboa’s contacts with Pennsylvania, the Complaint
sets forth that Rios and Gamboa were the top executives at BTS and Bridger Logistics and highcorporate acts.”), with FlagHouse, Inc. v. ProSource Dev., Inc., 528 F. App’x 186, 189 n.4 (3d Cir. 2013) (“Because
New Jersey law provides for personal jurisdiction to the fullest extent allowed by the Due Process Clause, and
because the Supreme Court has held that it does not violate due process to find personal jurisdiction based solely on
contacts made in an employee’s official capacity, there is no basis for the fiduciary shield doctrine to apply in this
case and no need to undertake the participation theory analysis engaged in by the District Court.”). However, even
in courts where the fiduciary shield doctrine has been applied, it would not necessarily bar the extension of
jurisdiction over Rios and Gamboa because of the tort exception, which applies in our case.
ranking executives at Ferrellgas with responsibility over this matter. (Compl. ¶¶ 31-77.)
According to the Theodore Declaration, Rios and Gamboa sought to exercise complete personal
control over the transloading business at Eddystone and the relationship with Monroe. (Pl.’s
Response Opp’n Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at 45; Theodore Decl. ¶ 12; Ex. 11.) As pointed out by
Eddystone, “[b]oth engaged in extensive negotiations with Eddystone in Pennsylvania, made
repeated trips to the state, marketed the facility, and directed their efforts into Pennsylvania.”
(Id.) (citing Theodore Decl.; Exs. 1-11.) We find these contacts are sufficient to weigh in favor
of the exercise of personal jurisdiction by this Court.
As for the third factor, Rios and Gamboa argue that their contacts with Pennsylvania
pertaining to the creation of the RSA, and the management of the relationship therefrom,
preceded the asset transfer and have no relevance to the claims in this case. (Defs.’ Am. Reply at
10-12.) However, as Eddystone correctly points out, “[t]he claims in this case arise out of the
breach of the obligations in the RSA, which [allegedly] occurred when the economics of Rios
and Gamboa’s crude oil business soured and they came up with a scheme to avoid the
obligations that they had negotiated with Eddystone in Pennsylvania.” (Pl.’s Surreply at 18.)
(citing Pl.’s Response Opp’n Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at ¶¶ 4-12.) It further points out that “[t]he
asset transfer was [allegedly] only the culmination of Rios and Gamboa’s years-long scheme to
make use of Eddystone’s transloading capacity for their own purposes while evading the
obligations in the RSA.” (Id.) (citing Compl. ¶¶ 21, 32, 48-50.) According to Eddystone,
“[u]sing their authority as CEO and COO of Bridger Logistics, and then as the Ferrellgas
Executive Vice Presidents responsible for Bridger Logistics’ business, Rios and Gamboa
[allegedly] directed the entire scheme.” (Pl.’s Surreply at 17.) (citing Pl.’s Response Opp’n
Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss at 45-46; Compl. ¶¶ 19, 21, 28, 32, 35, 37, 38, 46, 53, 58, 63, 64, 66.)
It is clear that both Rios and Gamboa had quality contacts with Pennsylvania, and
directly participated in or directed the tortious conduct alleged in the Complaint. We reject the
corporate shield defense; therefore, Rios and Gamboa are subject to this Court’s personal
jurisdiction in their individual capacities for their personal participation in the tortious conduct
B. Motions to Dismiss For Failure to State A Claim
Regarding the dismissal of Eddystone’s Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), we have thoroughly examined all of the arguments presented by the parties,
including, inter alia, the piercing of the corporate veil argument. 12 After carefully considering
all of the arguments, and accepting all of the factual allegations in the Complaint as true, we
conclude that the Complaint clearly and adequately alleges claims against each Defendant for
Alter Ego, Intentional Fraudulent Transfer (12 Pa. C. S. § 5104(a)), Constructive Fraudulent
Transfer (12 Pa. C. S. § 5105), and Breach of Fiduciary Duties of Care and Loyalty to Creditors.
Finding that the Complaint clearly alleges colorable claims after drawing all reasonable
inferences from the Complaint in favor of Eddystone, we deny Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss
at this stage of the litigation.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the
plaintiff has failed to set forth a claim from which relief may be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). “To survive a
motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). “[F]acial plausibility” exists “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556).
We have specific jurisdiction over Rios and Gamboa; therefore, their Motion to Dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction is denied. After careful consideration of the Motions to Dismiss
based upon a failure to state a claim filed by Rios and Gamboa, as well as Bridger Logistics and
Ferrellgas, we find that Eddystone’s Complaint clearly and adequately alleges colorable claims
against each Defendant for Alter Ego, Intentional Fraudulent Transfer (12 Pa. C. S. § 5104(a)),
Constructive Fraudulent Transfer (12 Pa. C.S. § 5105), and Breach of Fiduciary Duties of Care
and Loyalty to Creditors. As such, Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss are denied.
An appropriate Order follows.
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?