United States District Court, D. Delaware
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. Fallon, United States Magistrate Judge
before the court in this asbestos-related personal injury
action is a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(2), filed by defendant Volkswagen Group Of America,
Inc. ("Volkswagen"). (D.I. 76) For the reasons set
forth below, the court recommends granting Volkswagen's
motion to dismiss.
and Judy Haynes ("Plaintiffs") filed this asbestos
action in the Delaware Superior Court against multiple
defendants on June 3, 2016, asserting claims arising from Mr.
Haynes' alleged harmful exposure to asbestos. (D.I. 1 at
1) Defendant Crane Co. removed the action to this court on
July 15, 2016. (D.I. 1) Volkswagen filed a motion to dismiss
based on lack of personal jurisdiction on February 17, 2017.
(D.I. 76) Plaintiffs did not respond to the motion. On March
13, 2017, counsel for Volkswagen sent a letter to the court
seeking dismissal in light of Plaintiffs' failure to
oppose its motion to dismiss. (D.I. 86)
allege that Mr. Haynes developed lung cancer as a result of
exposure to asbestos-containing products during his career as
an auto mechanic for Volkswagen dealerships in Washington and
Oregon from approximately 1964 to 1980. (D.I. 1, Ex. 1 at
¶¶ 3, 15) Plaintiffs contend that Defendants
manufactured, sold, removed, installed, or distributed
asbestos-containing products. (Id. at ¶ 4)
Accordingly, Plaintiffs assert negligence, strict liability,
punitive damages, and loss of consortium claims. (D.I. 1, Ex.
have resided in Redmond, Oregon since 1992. (Id. at
¶ 2) Volkswagen is incorporated in New Jersey and has
its principal place of business in Virginia. (D.I. 76 at 1)
12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure directs the
court to dismiss a case when the court lacks personal
jurisdiction over the defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). When
reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2), a
court must accept as true all allegations of jurisdictional
fact made by the plaintiff and resolve all factual disputes
in the plaintiffs favor. Miller Yacht Sales, Inc. v.
Smith, 384 F.3d 93, 97 (3d Cir. 2004); Traynor v.
Liu, 495 F.Supp.2d 444, 448 (D. Del. 2007). Once a
jurisdictional defense has been raised, the plaintiff bears
the burden of establishing, with reasonable particularity,
that sufficient minimum contacts have occurred between the
defendant and the forum to support jurisdiction. See
Provident Nat'l Bank v. Cal. Fed. Sav. & Loan
Ass'n, 819 F.2d434, 437 (3d Cir. 1987). To meet this
burden, the plaintiff must produce "sworn affidavits or
other competent evidence, " since a Rule 12(b)(2) motion
"requires resolution of factual issues outside the
pleadings." Time Share Vacation Club v. Atl.
Resorts, Ltd., 735 F.2d 61, 66 n.9 (3d Cir. 1984). A
plaintiff "need only establish a. prima facie
case of personal jurisdiction" when the court has not
held an evidentiary hearing. O 'Connor v. Sandy Lane
Hotel Co., 496 F.3d 312, 316 (3d Cir. 2007).
establish personal jurisdiction, a plaintiff must produce
facts sufficient to satisfy two requirements by a
preponderance of the evidence, one statutory and one
constitutional. See Time Share, 735 F.2d at 66;
Reach & Assocs. v. Dencer, 269 F.Supp.2d 497,
502 (D. Del. 2003). With respect to the statutory
requirement, the court must determine whether there is a
statutory basis for jurisdiction under the forum state's
long-arm statute. See IMO Indus., Inc. v. Kiekert
AG, 155 F.3d 254, 259 (3d Cir. 1998); Reach &
Assocs., 269 F.Supp.2d at 502. The constitutional basis
requires the court to determine whether the exercise of
jurisdiction comports with the defendant's right to due
process. See id; Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington,
326 U.S. 310, 316(1945).
to the relevant portions of Delaware's long-arm statute,
10 Del. C. § 3 lO4(c)(1)-(4), a court may
exercise personal jurisdiction ...