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Landreneau v. Forest River Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

June 15, 2018

ANTHONY LANDRENEAU and LEAH LANDRENEAU, Plaintiffs,
v.
FOREST RIVER, INC., MOTOR HOME SPECIALIST, LP, CAMPING WORLD RV SALES, LLC, ALLIANT CREDIT UNION, AND DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SIDNEY A. FITZWATER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In this action, defendant Camping World RV Sales, LLC (“Camping World”) moves to dismiss for lack of in personam jurisdiction. Plaintiffs Anthony Landreneau and Leah Landreneau (the “Landreneaus”) have not responded to the motion. For the reasons that follow, the court grants Camping World's motion to dismiss for lack of in personam jurisdiction and dismisses the Landreneaus' action against Camping World without prejudice by judgment filed today.

         I

         The Landreneaus, residents of Louisiana, sued defendants Camping World, Forest River, Inc., Motor Home Specialist, LP (“Motor Home Specialist”), Alliant Credit Union, and Daimler Trucks North America LLC for allegedly violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq., breach of express warranties, breach of implied warranties, and negligent repair. These claims arise from the Landreneaus' purchase and subsequent repairs of a new 2015 Forest River Berkshire XL motor home from Motor Home Specialist in Alvarado, Texas. After the Landreneaus experienced issues with the motor home, Camping World performed warranty repairs on the vehicle in 2017 at its dealership located in Lafayette, Louisiana. All transactions between the Landreneaus and Camping World occurred in Louisiana.

         In the Landreneaus' second amended complaint, they allege a negligent repair claim against Camping World and several other defendants.[1] On April 23, 2018 Camping World filed the instant motion to dismiss. The Landreneaus' response to the motion was due on May 14, 2018. See N.D. Tex. Civ. R. 7.1(e). The Landreneaus have not responded to the motion, and it is now ripe for decision.

         II

         “When a nonresident defendant presents a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the district court's jurisdiction over the nonresident.” Stuart v. Spademan, 772 F.2d 1185, 1192 (5th Cir. 1985) (citing Thompson v. Chrysler Motors Corp., 755 F.2d 1162, 1165 (5th Cir. 1985); D.J. Invs., Inc. v. Metzeler Motorcycle Tire Agent Gregg, Inc., 754 F.2d 542, 545 (5th Cir. 1985)). The determination whether a federal district court has in personam jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant is bipartite. The court first decides whether the long-arm statute of the state in which it sits confers personal jurisdiction over the defendant. If it does, the court then resolves whether the exercise of jurisdiction is consistent with due process under the United States Constitution. See Mink v. AAAA Dev. LLC, 190 F.3d 333, 335 (5th Cir. 1999). Because the Texas long-arm statute extends to the limits of due process, the court need only consider whether exercising jurisdiction over Camping World would be consistent with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See id.; Alpine View Co. v. Atlas Copco AB, 205 F.3d 208, 214 (5th Cir. 2000).

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment permits the exercise of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant when (1) that defendant has purposefully availed [itself] of the benefits and protections of the forum state by establishing “minimum contacts” with the forum state; and (2) the exercise of jurisdiction over that defendant does not offend “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” To comport with due process, the defendant's conduct in connection with the forum state must be such that [it] “should reasonably anticipate being haled into court” in the forum state.

Latshaw v. Johnston, 167 F.3d 208, 211 (5th Cir. 1999) (footnotes omitted). To determine whether exercising jurisdiction would satisfy traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice, the court examines (1) the defendant's burden, (2) the forum state's interests, (3) the plaintiff's interest in convenient and effective relief, (4) the judicial system's interest in efficient resolution of controversies, and (5) the states' shared interest in fundamental social policies. Ruston Gas Turbines, Inc. v. Donaldson Co., 9 F.3d 415, 421 (5th Cir. 1993).

         A defendant's contacts with the forum may support either specific or general jurisdiction over the defendant. Mink, 190 F.3d at 336. “Specific jurisdiction exists when the nonresident defendant's contacts with the forum state arise from, or are directly related to, the cause of action. General jurisdiction exists when a defendant's contacts with the forum state are unrelated to the cause of action but are ‘continuous and systematic.'” Id. (citations omitted).

         “The district court usually resolves the jurisdictional issue without conducting a hearing.” Ham v. La Cienega Music Co., 4 F.3d 413, 415 (5th Cir. 1993) (footnote omitted). “When a court rules on a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction without holding an evidentiary hearing, it must accept as true the uncontroverted allegations in the complaint and resolve in favor of the plaintiff any factual conflicts posed by the affidavits. Therefore, in a no-hearing situation, a plaintiff satisfies his burden by presenting a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction.” Latshaw, 167 F.3d at 211 (footnotes omitted).

         III

         In the Landreneaus' second amended complaint, they plead the predicate for the court's exercise of in personam jurisdiction as follows: “Venue is proper in this district under 28 U.S.C. §1391(a)(3) because Plaintiffs purchased the subject vehicle in Johnson County and the Defendants are subject to personal jurisdiction in this district and there is no other district where the suit may be brought.” 2d. Am. Compl. ¶ 9. The allegations of the second amended complaint make clear that the Landreneaus' claims rely on specific (not general) jurisdiction.[2]

         Camping World posits that the court does not have in personam jurisdiction over it because its transactions with the Landreneaus occurred exclusively in Louisiana.[3] Ca mping World also maintains that it had no connection to the original purchase of the motor home in Johnson County, Texas. As such, Camping World's contacts with Louisiana form the ...


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