United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge
Ute Bernaud brings the instant suit against defendants
Aleksandar Sazdov, the Wildwood Boardwalk Special Improvement
District Management Corporation ("Wildwood SID"),
and Wildwood Boardwalk Tram Cars. Bernaud alleges that, on
August 18, 2013, while vacationing in Wildwood, New Jersey,
she was injured when exiting a tram car operated by Sazdov,
an employee of Wildwood SID.
moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that they are not
subject to personal jurisdiction in Connecticut. See
Doc. # 17. Defendants assert that the court lacks
jurisdiction under Connecticut's long arm statutes
because none of the defendants reside in or have transacted
any business within the state. Furthermore, defendants argue
that, even if they are subject to personal jurisdiction under
the Connecticut long arm statutes, subjecting them to
personal jurisdiction in Connecticut would violate due
January 21, 2016, I held oral argument on the defendants'
motion to dismiss. See Doc. # 21. At oral argument,
I indicated that I was prepared to grant the motion because
Bernaud did not provide any evidence of the defendants'
contacts within the forum state. In response, Bernaud
requested leave to submit additional evidence of the
defendants' contacts with the forum state. I granted that
request and ordered Bernaud to submit the additional
documents within a week from the hearing. Bernaud submitted
additional documents and the defendants filed a supplemental
response to Bernaud's submission. This ruling is based on
all of the materials before me.
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction under
Rule 12(b)(2), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing
that the court has jurisdiction over the defendant. See
Thomas v. Ashcroft, 470 F.3d 491, 495 (2d Cir. 2006). A
plaintiff may initially carry this burden "by pleading
in good faith . . . legally sufficient allegations of
jurisdiction, i.e., by making a ‘prima facie
showing' of jurisdiction." Jazini v. Nissan
Motor Co., Ltd., 148 F.3d 181, 184 (2d Cir. 1998)
(quoting Ball v. Metallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt, S.A.,
902 F.2d 194, 197 (2d Cir. 1990)). A plaintiff can make this
showing through his "own affidavits and supporting
materials, " Marine Midland Bank, N.A. v.
Miller, 664 F.2d 899, 904 (2d Cir. 1981), containing
"an averment of facts that, if credited . . ., would
suffice to establish jurisdiction over the defendant."
Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Robertson-Ceco Corp.,
84 F.3d 560, 567 (2d Cir. 1996) (quoting Ball, 902
F.2d 194, 197 (2d Cir. 1990)).
resolving the personal jurisdiction issue, a court must
"construe the pleadings and affidavits in the light most
favorable to [the plaintiff], resolving all doubts in his
favor." A.I. Trade Finance, Inc. v. Petra Bank,
989 F.2d 76, 79-80 (2d Cir. 1993). When deciding a motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the court may
consider affidavits and other evidence submitted by the
parties. Ensign-Bickford Co. v. ICI Explosives USA,
Inc., 817 F.Supp. 1018, 1026 (D. Conn. 1993)
("[T]he plaintiff must make a ‘prima facie
showing' through affidavits or other evidence that the
defendant's conduct was sufficient for the court to
exercise personal jurisdiction.").
district court sitting in diversity applies the forum
state's personal jurisdiction rules. See Metro. Life
Ins. Co. v. Robertson-Ceco Corp., 84 F.3d 560, 567 (2d
Cir. 1996). To establish a prima facie case of personal
jurisdiction, a plaintiff must satisfy a two-part inquiry.
First, it must allege facts sufficient to show that
Connecticut's long-arm statute reaches a defendant, and
second, it must establish that the court's exercise of
jurisdiction will not violate due process. See Chirag v.
MT MARIDA MARGUERITE SCHIFFAHRTS, 933 F.Supp.2d 349, 352
(D. Conn. 2013), aff'd sub nom. Chirag v. MT Marida
Marguerite Schiffahrts, 604 F.App'x 16 (2d Cir.
2015) (citing Knipple v. Viking Communications, 236
Conn. 602, 605-06 (1996)). At the prima facie stage, a
plaintiff need not point to any evidence that supports
jurisdiction. Instead, it "need only assert facts
constituting . . . jurisdiction" all of which should be
judged "in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff." Id. (quoting Amerbelle Corp. v.
Hommell, 272 F.Supp.2d 189, 192 (D. Conn. 2003)).
Connecticut's Long Arm Statutes
Connecticut long arm statute has two provisions that are
relevant to the instant suit. First, Conn. Gen. Stat. §
52-59b, sets the limits on a Connecticut court's exercise
of jurisdiction over an individual defendant sued in tort.
That statute determines whether Sazdov is subject to the
court's jurisdiction. Second, Conn. Gen. Stat. §
33-929(f), determines whether a foreign corporation, such as
Wildwood SID, is subject to suit in Connecticut.
The Court Lacks Personal Jurisdiction over Sazdov
52-59b provides, in relevant part, that a court may exercise
personal jurisdiction over an individual defendant who, in
person or through an agent: "commits a tortuous act
outside of the state causing injury to person or property
within the state" so long as the person or agent
"(A) regularly does or solicits business . . . in the
state, or (B) expects or should reasonably expect the act to
have consequences in the state and derives substantial
revenue from interstate or international commerce . . .
." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-59b(a)(3).
argues that Bernaud fails to allege any facts that could
possibly establish that Sazdov falls within Connecticut's
long arm statute. Sazdov has submitted a declaration
attesting to the fact that he has never transacted or
solicited business in Connecticut nor does he derive
substantial revenue from goods sold or services ...