Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Texas Rustic, Inc. v. Furniture Mattresses & More LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Texas

September 6, 2019

Texas Rustic, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Furniture Mattresses & More LLC Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION

          PETER BRAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This is a breach of contract case. Defendant Furniture Mattresses & More ("FMM") has filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and under the first-to-file rule. (D.E. 5.) Because the court lacks personal jurisdiction over FMM, the court recommends that this case be dismissed with prejudice.

         1. Background and Procedural Posture

         Plaintiff, Texas Rustic, Inc. ("Texas Rustic") is a Texas business that sells furniture. The furniture is manufactured in Mexico and shipped by a third-party transportation company from Laredo, Texas. FMM is a Maine company that ordered over $437, 000 in furniture from Texas Rustic. The purchase contract was negotiated in North Carolina. The furniture was delivered to FMM in Maine. FMM alleges that the furniture was defective and therefore it did not pay for all the furniture that Texas Rustic shipped.

         FMM sued Texas Rustic on April 11, 2019, in federal court in Maine. Texas Rustic sued FMM in Texas state court on May 9, 2019. FMM removed the Texas case to federal court on June 10, 2019. Both parties accuse the other of breach of contract, and both cases involve the same facts. FMM filed the instant motion to dismiss on June 17, 2019, and Texas Rustic filed a similar motion to dismiss in Maine on July 2, 2019. Both parties dispute that they are subject to personal jurisdiction outside of their home state.

         FMM argues that the court lacks personal jurisdiction because FMM's contacts with the State of Texas are insufficient to meet the constitutional due process requirements for a court to exercise jurisdiction over an out-of-state litigant. In the alternative, FMM argues that it filed a suit against Texas Rustic in its home state of Maine before Texas Rustic filed the present action, and the court should transfer the case to the District of Maine under the "first-to-file" rule.

         2. Legal Standards

         On a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden to make a prima facie showing that the court has jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. See Ham v. La Cienega Music Co., 4 F.3d 413, 415 (5th Cir. 1993); Stuart v. Spademan, 772 F.2d 1185, 1192 (5th Cir. 1985). The court may rely on affidavits, interrogatories, depositions, oral testimony, or any combination of the recognized methods of discovery to determine whether it can assert jurisdiction. Stuart, 772 F.2d at 1192. Uncontroverted allegations in a plaintiffs complaint must be taken as true, and conflicts between the facts contained in the parties' affidavits must be resolved in favor of the plaintiff. Bullion v. Gillespie, 895 F.2d 213, 217 (5th Cir. 1990). After a plaintiff makes its prima facie case, the burden then shifts to the defendant to present "a compelling case that the presence of some other consideration would render jurisdiction unreasonable." Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1985).

         A federal court has jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant if the state's long-arm statute confers personal jurisdiction over that defendant, and if the exercise of jurisdiction is consistent with due process under the United States Constitution. Ruston Gas Turbines, Inc. v. Donaldson Co., 9 F.3d 415, 418 (5th Cir. 1993). Because the Texas long-arm statute extends to the limits of federal due process, Schlobohm v. Schapiro, 784 S.W.2d 355, 357 (Tex. 1990), this court must determine whether (1) the defendants have established "minimum contacts" with the forum state; and, (2) whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the defendants would offend "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." Ruston Gas, 9 F.3d at 418 (citing Int'l Shoe Co. v. Wash., 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)).

         The "minimum contacts" prong is satisfied when a defendant "purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws." Burger King, 471 U.S. at 475. The nonresident defendant's availment must be such that the defendant "should reasonably anticipate being haled into court" in the forum state. World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980). This test "ensures that a defendant will not be haled into a jurisdiction solely as a result of 'random,' 'fortuitous,' or 'attenuated' contacts, or of the 'unilateral activity of another party or a third person.'" Burger King, 471 U.S. at 475 (citations omitted).

         The "minimum contacts" prong of the inquiry may be subdivided into contacts that give rise to "specific" personal jurisdiction and those that give rise to "general" personal jurisdiction. Marathon Oil Co. v. A.G. Ruhrgas, 182 F.3d 291, 295 (5th Cir. 1999). Specific jurisdiction is only appropriate when the nonresident defendant's contacts with the forum state arise from, or are directly related to, the cause of action. Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, SA. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 n. 8 (1984). On the other hand, the exercise of general personal jurisdiction is proper when the nonresident defendant's contacts with the forum state, even if unrelated to the cause of action, are continuous, systematic, and substantial. Id. at 414 n. 9; Perkins v. Benguet Consol. Min. Co., 342 U.S. 437, 445 (1952).

         3. Analysis

         A. Minimum contacts

         Texas Rustic does not argue that FMM has had continuous, systematic, and substantial contacts with Texas to support the court's exercise of general personal jurisdiction. Texas Rustic focuses on specific ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.