United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION (GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION)
E. Hudson United States District Judge.
matter involves an alleged breach of contract by Defendant
All Resort Coach, Inc. d/b/a Lewis Stages
("Defendant"), a Utah corporation. The dispute
arose from a commercial general liability insurance policy
Defendant purchased from Plaintiff James River Insurance
Company ("Plaintiff). Presently before the Court is
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal
Jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(2), or alternatively for a Transfer of Venue to the
United States District Court for the District of Utah
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404. (ECF No. 16.) The parties
have briefed the issues and submitted exhibits addressing the
pertinent underlying facts, and the matter is now ripe for
decision. Because Defendant lacks the necessary contacts with
Virginia, the Court will grant Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction.
considering a defendant's challenge to personal
jurisdiction, a court must construe all relevant allegations
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and draw the
most favorable inferences for the existence of
jurisdiction." Am. Online, Inc. v. Huang, 106
F.Supp.2d 848, 853 (E.D. Va. 2000). See also Mylan Labs.,
Inc. v. Akzo, N.V., 2 F.3d 56, 60 (4th Cir. 1993).
Viewed through this lens, the facts are as follows.
is an Ohio corporation with its principal place of business
in Richmond, Virginia (Compl. ¶ 1.) Defendant is a Utah
corporation with its principal place of business in Salt Lake
City, Utah. (Id. at ¶ 2.) On November 14, 2014,
Defendant submitted an application for general commercial
liability coverage through its insurance broker, Sam Lambert,
of Lambert Insurance Services/Insurance Solutions Group of
Utah, Inc. ("Retail Broker"). (Id. at
¶ 5; Def.'s Reply Br. Supp. Mot. Dismiss Ex. B, at
4, ECF No. 27-2.) In turn, the Retail Broker requested quotes
from its wholesale broker, Burns & Wilcox of Utah
("Wholesale Broker"). (Am. Answer 2, ECF No. 28.)
response, Plaintiff sent the Wholesale Broker an insurance
quote requiring an advance premium of $89, 955, subject to
the payment of additional premium of $119.94 per each $1, 000
of Defendant's gross receipts in excess of $750, 000 as
determined by semi-annual audits. (Compl. ¶ 8; Budisin
Decl. 6, ECF No. 27-1.) The Wholesale Broker then submitted
the quote to the Retail Broker, who conveyed it to Defendant
for acceptance. (Budisin Decl. 4-5.) On December 12, 2014,
Defendant accepted the offer and Plaintiff issued a
commercial general liability policy numbered 00064994-0
("Policy"). (Compl. at ¶ 9-11.)
July, 2015, Plaintiff conducted an audit of Defendant's
gross receipts as required by the Policy. (Id. at
¶ 16.) The Retail Broker served as intermediary during
the audit, requesting information from Defendant and
transmitting it to Plaintiff. (Budisin Decl. 31.) Thereafter,
on September 9, 2015, the parties agreed to amend the Policy,
requiring Defendant to pay an additional premium in the
amount of $427, 706.00 and reducing the $119.94 composite
rate in the original Policy to $99.55 per each $1, 000 of
Defendant's gross receipts in excess of $5, 200, 000.
(Pl.'s Br. Opp'n Summ. J. 3, ECF No. 22.) On
September 11, 2015, Defendant received confirmation of the
Policy modifications and an invoice from the Retail Broker.
(Budisin Decl. 34-38.)
2016, Plaintiff sent two letters to Defendant stating
Plaintiff had "not received payment from
[Defendant's] broker" These letters, dated February
5 and June 2, requested payments for $342, 164.80 and $80,
929.00, respectively. (Compl. Ex. B, at 1, ECF No. 1-5;
Compl. Ex. C, at 1, ECF No. 1-6.)
filed this breach of contract action on November 3, 2016,
alleging that Defendant owes it $ 423, 093.80 in unpaid
premiums. (Compl. ¶ 38.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(2) challenges the court's exercise of personal
jurisdiction over a defendant. "When a court's
personal jurisdiction is properly challenged ... the
jurisdictional question thereby raised is one for the judge,
with the burden on the plaintiff ultimately to prove grounds
for jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence."
Mylan Labs., 2 F.3d at 59-60; see also Grayson
v. Anderson, 816 F.3d 262, 267 (4th Cir. 2016). When, as
here, "the court addresses the personal jurisdiction
question by reviewing only the parties' motion papers,
affidavits attached to the motion, supporting legal
memoranda, and the allegations in the complaint, a plaintiff
need only make a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction
to survive the jurisdictional challenge."
Grayson, 816 F.3rd at 268.
determining whether a plaintiff has made the requisite prima
facie showing, the court must take the allegations and
available evidence relating to personal jurisdiction in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff." Id.
"Ultimately, however, a plaintiff must establish facts
supporting jurisdiction over the defendant by a preponderance
of the evidence." Id.; see also People Express
Airlines, Inc. v. 200 Kelsey Assocs., LLC, 922 F.Supp.2d
536, 541 (E.D. Va. 2013).
courts may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant
who is "subject to the jurisdiction of a court of
general jurisdiction in the state where the district court is
located." Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A). Virginia extends the
grant of personal jurisdiction as far as the Due Process
Clause allows. Tire Eng'g & Distrib., LLC v.
Shandong Linglong Rubber Co., 682 F.3d 292, 301 (4th
Cir. 2012). Therefore, the statutory and constitutional
inquiries merge, and the reviewing court "has
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant if the exercise of
such jurisdiction is consonant with the strictures of due
process." Id.; DeCusati v. Reiss Eng'g,
Inc., No. 3:15-CV-204, 2015 WL 4622494, at *1 (E.D. Va.
2015). Accordingly, the Court will employ the
well-established Due Process analysis.