United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Hanks, Jr. United States District Judge
the Court is Defendants Rolls-Royce North America Holdings,
Inc.'s and Rolls-Royce Corporation's Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction. Dkt. 22. Based on
the pleadings; the motion, response, and reply; and the
applicable law, the motion to dismiss the Rolls-Royce
Defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction is
GRANTED. The reasons for the ruling are
relevant facts in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff
are as follows. Rory J. Bourgeois died when the Bell 206-L-4
helicopter in which he was a passenger crashed into the Gulf
of Mexico. Bourgeois's estate ("Bourgeois")
brought a negligence claim against Bell Helicopter Textron,
Inc., the helicopter's manufacturer. At issue here,
Bourgeois also brought claims negligence and products
liability claims against Rolls-Royce North America Holdings,
Inc. and Rolls-Royce Corporation (together, "Rolls"
or "the Rolls Defendants"). Dkt. 6. According to
Bourgeois, the Rolls Defendants were liable for these claims
because they had purchased the Allison Divisions of General
Motors-the original manufacturers of the helicopter's
engine. The Rolls Defendants are both incorporated in
Delaware. They have principal places of business in Virginia
and Indiana, respectively. Bourgeois alleged that the Rolls
Defendants breached their duty when it "placed in the
stream of commerce the Engine and all components and systems
which were dangerous and unsafe for their intended
uses." Dkt. 6, ¶ 4.5.
requested a Pre-Motion Conference in accordance with this
Court's procedures to discuss their anticipated motion to
dismiss. Dkt. 12. The Court held a Pre-Motion Conference,
granting Rolls leave to file their motion. Dkt. 20. They
filed the instant motion four days later. Dkt. 22. According
to Rolls, the Court has neither general nor specific personal
jurisdiction over the foreign entities.
Response was due on November 18, 2016. Two days prior to this
deadline, Bourgeois filed an unopposed motion for a two-week
extension to respond to Rolls' motion. Dkt. 25. The
motion was granted. Dkt. 26. On the date of the amended
deadline, Bourgeois filed another motion for an extension of
time-here, requesting an extra sixty-two days to file his
Response. Dkt. 27. Rolls opposed the second request. Dkt. 28.
The Court granted Bourgeois's motion in part, extending
the deadline by an additional twenty-eight days. Dkt. 29.
Response claimed that his request for jurisdictional
discovery was "essentially denied with the Court's
Order [granting twenty-eight additional days]." Dkt. 30,
p. 3. The Response further stated that Bourgeois
"respectfully request[s] the opportunity to conduct
jurisdictional discovery prior to the final resolution of
Defendants' Motion, if any." Id. Bourgeois made
two arguments in support of personal jurisdiction: 1) Rolls
purchased the company that manufactured and sold the engine,
succeeding in tort liability under Delaware law; and 2) the
Court has general jurisdiction over Rolls because their
contacts with the forum state make them essentially 'at
home' in Texas. Bourgeois supported this contention with
Rolls' promotional material showing that "these two
defendants currently have several offices, divisions, and/or
sales and service centers within the state of Texas
...." Dkt. 30, p. 7.
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the "plaintiff
bears the burden of establishing a district court's
[personal] jurisdiction over a non-resident."
Johnston v. Multidata Sys. Int'l Corp., 523 F.3d
602, 609 (5th Cir. 2008). When the Court rules on a motion to
dismiss for lack of jurisdiction without conducting an
evidentiary hearing, the Plaintiff may satisfy this burden by
"presenting a prima facie case of jurisdiction."
Felch v. Transposes Lar-Mex SA DE CV, 92 F.3d 320,
326 (5th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted). A court must take a
plaintiffs uncontroverted allegations as true. Bullion v.
Gillespie, 895 F.2d 213, 217 (5th Cir. 1990). It must
further resolve all conflicts in favor of the plaintiff when
determining whether a prima facie case for personal
jurisdiction exists. Id.
federal court sitting in diversity may exercise personal
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant (1) as allowed
under the state's long-arm statute; and (2) to the extent
permitted by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment." Mullins v. TestAmerica, Inc., 564
F.3d 386, 398 (5th Cir.2009). The Texas long-arm statute
extends to the limits of due process. Id. To satisfy
due process, the plaintiff must demonstrate "(1) that
the non-resident purposefully availed himself of the benefits
and protections of the forum state by establishing
'minimum contacts' with the state; and (2) that the
exercise of jurisdiction does not offend 'traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice.'"
Johnston, 523 F.3d at 609.
defendant establishes minimum contacts with a state if
'the defendant's conduct and connection with the
forum state are such that it should reasonably anticipate
being haled into court there.'" Nuovo Pignone,
SpA v. STORMAN ASIA M/V, 310 F.3d 374, 379 (5th
Cir.2002) (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz,
471 U.S. 462, 474 (1985)). "There are two types of
'minimum contacts': those that give rise to specific
personal jurisdiction and those that give rise to general
personal jurisdiction." Lewis v. Fresne, 252
F.3d 352, 358 (5th Cir.2001). Here, Bourgeois argues that
general-rather than specific-jurisdiction exists. A court has
general jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant "to
hear any and all claims" against him when his contacts
with the state are so '"continuous and
systematic' as to render it essentially at home in the
forum." Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations v.
Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011).