Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
GOLDEN PEANUT COMPANY, LLC D/B/A GOLDEN PEANUT AND TREE NUTS, Appellant
GIVE AND GO PREPARED FOODS CORP., Appellee
Appeal from the 101st Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. DC-17-13535
Justices Bridges, Partida-Kipness, and Carlyle
L. CARLYLE JUSTICE
case reads like a law school exam: a Canadian confectioner
sued a Georgia-based nut supplier and a Texas-based nut
supplier in Dallas County. Texas pecans are at the center of
the controversy unless they aren't. Weevils found their
way into some pecans somewhere, which was a problem.
Canadian corporation Give and Go, sued appellant, Georgia LLC
Golden Peanut, in Dallas County claiming that Golden Peanut
delivered, from its Georgia plant to Give and Go's
Canadian plant, weevil-infested pecan pieces, some or all of
which may have come from Texas. The trial court denied Golden
Peanut's special appearance but didn't provide its
reasoning. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 296. We reverse and
render judgment, dismissing Give and Go's claims against
Golden Peanut because Texas courts lack jurisdiction over
Golden Peanut in this particular case. Because all issues are
settled in law, we issue this memorandum opinion.
See Tex. R. App. P. 47.4.
and Go alleged (1) beginning in late 2016, Golden Peanut
"supplied Plaintiff with small pecan pieces containing
whole and partial pecan weevil larvae visible to the human
eye"; (2) Give and Go "had no choice but to engage
in a . . . recall of the Pecans," which caused Give and
Go to "suffer significant property damage and associated
economic damages"; and (3) the trial court "has
personal jurisdiction over the Defendants because Defendants
do business in Dallas County, Texas."
Peanut filed a special appearance, contending (1) it "is
not a Texas resident"; (2)"general personal
jurisdiction is lacking as Golden Peanut is not 'at
home' in Texas because it is a Georgia limited liability
company with its principal place of business in
Georgia"; and (3)specific personal jurisdiction is
lacking because "Plaintiff's lawsuit does not arise
from any Golden Peanut conduct in Texas" and "there
is no nexus between Plaintiff's allegations against
Golden Peanut and Golden Peanut's connections to
Texas." In an affidavit attached to the special
appearance, Kevin J. Kramer, Golden Peanut's Vice
President of Tree Nuts, stated, "All of the pecans
associated with [Give and Go's] Orders were shipped from
Golden Peanut's shelling plant in Camilla, Georgia to
Give and Go in Canada." The record indicates that once
pecans arrive at the Camilla shelling plant, they are mixed
together such that tracing shelled pecans' origins
becomes near impossible.
response to the special appearance, Give and Go contended (1)
Golden Peanut is subject to personal jurisdiction in Texas
and (2) Golden Peanut submitted to personal jurisdiction by
"compelling merits-based discovery and participating in
other non-jurisdictional matters and hearings."
Following the special appearance hearing, both parties filed
supplemental briefs. Golden Peanut asserted it is not subject
to general jurisdiction in Texas because (1) Georgia is its
state of incorporation and principal place of business; (2)
"[f]or a company with locations in five states and three
countries, Golden Peanut's limited Texas facilities are
insufficient"; and (3) "Texas employees making up
13% of a company's worldwide workforce is
insufficient." Golden Peanut attached and cited another
Kramer affidavit, which included an exhibit describing Golden
Peanut's "global footprint" as consisting of
its corporate headquarters and regional office in Georgia;
eight "peanut facilities," one of which is a
shelling and storage facility in Texas; four "pecan
facilities," one of which is a shelling and packaging
facility in Texas; and two "tree nut facilities" in
and Go's supplemental brief stated (1) "Golden
Peanut concedes that potentially all of Golden
Peanut's pecans at issue in this case could have come
from its Texas pecans suppliers" and (2) "Give and
Go has satisfied the 'substantial connection'
requirement because its claims arise from pecans contaminated
with weevils that Golden Peanut sourced from Texas and sold
to Give and Go."
The special appearance
a trial court has personal jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant is a question of law that we review de novo.
Old Republic Nat'l Title Ins. Co. v. Bell, 549
S.W.3d 550, 558 (Tex. 2018); Moki Mac River Expeditions
v. Drugg, 221 S.W.3d 569, 574 (Tex. 2007); Michiana
Easy Livin' Country, Inc. v. Holten, 168 S.W.3d 777,
790-91 (Tex. 2005). If, as in this case, the trial court does
not issue findings of fact and conclusions of law with its
special appearance ruling, we imply all findings of fact
necessary to support its ruling that are supported by the
evidence. BMC Software Belgium, N.V. v. Marchand, 83
S.W.3d 789, 795 (Tex. 2002). When jurisdictional facts are
undisputed, whether those facts establish jurisdiction is a
question of law. Old Republic, 549 S.W.3d at 558.
courts may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant if (1) the Texas long-arm statute permits
exercising jurisdiction and (2) asserting jurisdiction
satisfies constitutional due process guarantees.
Cornerstone Healthcare Grp. Holding, Inc. v. Nautic Mgmt.
VI, L.P., 493 S.W.3d 65, 70 (Tex. 2016); Kelly v.
Gen. Interior Constr., Inc., 301 S.W.3d 653, 657 (Tex.
2010); see also Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code
§§ 17.041-.045 ("Long-Arm Jurisdiction in Suit
on Business Transaction or Tort"). The Texas long-arm
statute reaches "as far as the federal constitutional
requirements for due process will allow." Am. Type
Culture Collection, Inc. v. Coleman, 83 S.W.3d 801, 806
(Tex. 2002). Personal jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant satisfies constitutional due process guarantees
when (1) the nonresident defendant has established minimum
contacts with the forum state and (2) exercising jurisdiction
comports with traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice. See M & F Worldwide Corp. v.
Pepsi-Cola Metro. Bottling Co., Inc., 512 S.W.3d 878,
885 (Tex. 2017) (citing Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S.
277, 283 (2014)).
contacts are established when the nonresident defendant
purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting
activities within the forum state, thus invoking its
laws' benefits and protections. Kelly, 301
S.W.3d at 657-58. There are three parts to the
purposeful-availment inquiry: (1) only the defendant's
contacts are relevant; (2) the contact must be purposeful,
not random, fortuitous, or attenuated; and (3) the defendant
must seek some advantage, benefit, or profit by availing
itself of the forum. Moki Mac, 221 S.W.3d at 575.
nonresident defendant's forum-state contacts may give
rise to two types of personal jurisdiction. Id.
Specific jurisdiction, also called case-linked jurisdiction,
is established if the defendant's alleged liability
arises out of or relates to the defendant's contacts with
the forum state. Id. at 576. A claim arises from or
relates to the forum contacts if there is a "substantial
connection between [the] contacts and the operative facts of
the litigation." Id. at 585. The specific
jurisdiction analysis focuses on the relationship among the
defendant, the forum, and the litigation. Id. at
575- 76. Specific jurisdiction requires us to analyze