United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Godbey United States District Judge
Order addresses Defendants Roger Frizzell's and Carnival
Corporation's (“Carnival”) motions to dismiss
, . For the following reasons, the Court grants
Frizzell's and Carnival's motions to dismiss and
grants Plaintiff Sue Richter leave to replead her complaint
Origins of the Dispute
filed suit against Carnival and Carnival's Chief
Marketing Officer, Frizzell, because Richter claims that they
stole her idea to create a reality television show showcasing
customers vacationing on Carnival cruises. Pl.'s Original
Compl. ¶ 9 . Richter states she worked at a public
relations firm, where she began working with Frizzell and
Carnival. Id. ¶ 18. During this time, Richter
claims she became aware of Carnival's public relation
needs, and to increase Carnival's positive brand
awareness, Richter alleges she developed a concept to create
a reality show following families vacationing on Carnival
cruises. Id. ¶ 19-20. Richter states she shared
the idea with Frizzell, and Carnival sent her a letter of
intent to continue the project. Id. ¶ 22-23.
Several years later, Carnival informed Richter that it was
not interested in producing her show. Id. ¶ 26.
Yet, Richter claims Carnival ultimately produced a reality
television show, just like the concept she developed.
Id. ¶ 27.
alleges six claims against Carnival and Frizzell.
Id. ¶ 7. Carnival and Frizzell each filed
motions to dismiss. Frizzell claims Richter failed to create
a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction, and Carnival
argues Richter failed to sufficiently plead each cause of
The Court Does Not Have Personal Jurisdiction Over
Court dismisses Frizzell because the Court does not have
general or specific personal jurisdiction over him.
Personal Jurisdiction Legal Standard
nonresident defendant is subject to the jurisdiction of a
federal court sitting in diversity if (1) the forum
state's long-arm statute confers personal jurisdiction
over the defendant, and (2) exercise of personal jurisdiction
by the forum state is consistent with due process under the
United States Constitution. Ruston Gas Turbines, Inc. v.
Donaldson Co., Inc., 9 F.3d 415, 418 (5th Cir. 1993).
The Texas Long Arm Statute confers jurisdiction to the limits
of the Constitution. Id.; see also Hall v.
Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A., 638 S.W.2d
870, 872 (Tex. 1982), rev'd on other grounds,
466 U.S. 408 (1984). “Because the Texas Long Arm
Statute is coextensive with the confines of due process,
questions of personal jurisdiction in Texas are generally
analyzed entirely within the framework of the Constitutional
constraints of Due Process.” Religious Tech. Ctr.
v. Liebreich, 339 F.3d 369, 373 (5th Cir. 2003); see
also Gessmann v. Stephens, 51 S.W.3d 329, 335 (Tex. App.
- Tyler 2001, no pet.).
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment limits the reach
of a state court's-and thus a federal
court's-jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant.
See Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 207 (1977).
Specifically, due process requires that two elements be
satisfied. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S.
462, 474, 476 (1985). First, the nonresident must have
purposefully established “minimum contacts” in
the forum state such that he should reasonably anticipate
being haled into court in the forum state. Id. at
474. Second, the exercise of personal jurisdiction must
“comport with ‘fair play and substantial
justice.'” Id. at 476 (quoting
Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 320
(1945)). The minimum contacts analysis required by due
process ensures that individuals have a “fair warning
that a particular activity may subject [them] to the
jurisdiction of a foreign sovereign.” Id. at
472 (alteration in original) (internal quotations and
contacts can create either general personal jurisdiction or
specific personal jurisdiction. Lewis v. Fresne, 252
F.3d 352, 358 (5th Cir. 2001). General jurisdiction exists
where the claim is unrelated to the nonresident's
contacts with the forum, but where those contacts are
“continuous and systematic.” Revell v.
Lidov, 317 F.3d 467, 470 (5th Cir. 2002). Specific
jurisdiction, on the other hand, exists if (1) the cause of
action is related to, or arises from, the defendant's
contacts with the forum, and (2) those contacts meet the due
process standard. See Holt Oil & Gas Corp. v.
Harvey, 801 F.2d 773, 777 (5th Cir. 1986). Under either
a general or specific jurisdiction analysis, however,
“the constitutional touchstone remains whether the
defendant purposefully established ‘minimum
contacts' in the forum State.” Burger King
Corp., 471 U.S. at 474.
evaluating a nonresident's contacts with the forum, we
must determine whether the nonresident has purposefully
availed himself of the privilege of conducting activities
within the forum state, thus invoking the benefits and
protection of its laws.” Holt Oil & Gas
Corp., 801 F.2d at 777. A court must consider the
totality of the circumstances of a case when making the
purposeful-availment inquiry, as “no single factor,
particularly the number of contacts, is determinative.”
Stuart v. Spademan, 772 F.2d 1185, 1192 (5th Cir.
1985). “[W]hether the minimum contacts are sufficient
to justify subjection of the non-resident to suit in the
forum is determined not on a mechanical and quantitative
test, but rather under the particular facts upon the quality
and nature of the activity with relation to the forum
state.” Miss. Interstate Express, Inc. v. Transpo,
Inc., 681 F.2d 1003, 1006 (5th Cir. 1982).
plaintiff, as the party seeking to invoke the Court's
power, bears the burden of establishing the Court's
jurisdiction over a foreign defendant. See Pervasive
Software Inc. v. Lexware GmbH & Co. KG, 688 F.3d
214, 219 (5th Cir. 2012). The plaintiff must plead enough
facts to establish a prima facie case that the Court has
personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Fielding v.
Hubert Burda Media, Inc., 415 F.3d 419, 424 (5th Cir.
2005). If a district court, as here, decides a motion to
dismiss without holding an evidentiary hearing, a prima facie
case suffices to establish jurisdiction. See Wilson v.
Belin, 20 F.3d 644, 648 (5th Cir. 1994) (internal
quotations and citations omitted). A court must take all
uncontroverted allegations in the complaint as true, and it
must resolve all factual conflicts in favor of the plaintiff.
Pervasive Software Inc., 688 F.3d at 219-20. In
deciding the motion, the Court may consider
“affidavits, interrogatories, depositions, oral
testimony, or any combination of the recognized methods of
discovery.” Quick Techs., Inc. v. Sage Grp.
PLC, 313 F.3d 338, 344 (5th Cir. 2002) (internal
quotations and citations omitted).
The Court Does Not Have General Jurisdiction Over
threshold matter, the Court lacks general jurisdiction over
Frizzell. Richter alleges that Frizzell is domiciled in
Oklahoma, not Texas. Pl.'s Original Compl. ¶ 6 .
Richter alleges that Frizzell has “minimum
contacts” with Texas and that Frizzell has
“purposefully availed” himself of the privileges
of conducting business in Texas because Frizzell regularly
conducts business in Texas. Id. ¶ 2. But
Richter's assertions are nothing more than conclusory
allegations that Frizzell engaged in regular, Texas-specific
business conduct. The Court finds these allegations are not
enough to establish a prima facie case for general personal
jurisdiction because Richter failed to establish that
Frizzell has “continuous and systematic” contacts
The Court Does Not Have Specific Jurisdiction Over
the Court lacks specific jurisdiction over Frizzell. The
Fifth Circuit applies a three-step inquiry to determine if a