United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Moreno has sued Aerostar Airport Holdings, LLC
(“Aerostar”) and Puerto Rico Ports Authority
(“PRPA”), doing business as Luiz Munoz Marin
International Airport (“Marin International
Airport”). She alleges that the Defendants'
negligence allowed a pool of liquid to form on the floor of
Marin International Airport, causing her to slip and fall
while carrying her newborn child. Compl. ¶¶ 7-9,
ECF No. 1-2.
Moreno initiated her case in Connecticut Superior Court, and
Defendants removed the case to this Court. Defendants then
filed motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. After
moving twice for extensions of time in which to file a
response, Ms. Moreno did not oppose the motion. For the
reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED.
The Aerostar Airport Holdings, LLC (“Aerostar”),
is a limited liability company, organized under the laws of
Puerto Rico with a principal office in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Aerostar's Mem. of L. in Supp. of Mot. To Dismiss, ECF
no. 16, at 2. Defendant, Puerto Rico Ports Authority
(“PRPA”), is a government-owned corporation,
organized under the laws of Puerto Rico with its principal
place of business in San Juan, Puerto Rico. PRPA's Mem.
of L. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 18, at 2. The two
defendants have a public-private partnership agreement by
which Aerostar manages the Airport, which it leases from the
PRPA. Id. at 4. Neither defendant is registered to
do business in Connecticut. Id. See also
Aerostar's Mem. of L. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss at 5.
is a citizen of Connecticut, but this suit arises from a
visit she made to Puerto Rico. Specifically, she alleges that
she was injured while walking in Luis Munoz Marin
International Airport (“the Airport”) in July
2013. Compl. at ¶6. She alleges that her injury was
caused by the negligence and carelessness of the Defendants.
Id. at 10. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have
regularly conducted or solicited business in the State of
Connecticut and should have reasonably expected to be haled
into its courts. In separate motions to dismiss for lack of
jurisdiction, Defendants allege that they do not solicit or
conduct any business within the state. Each defendant has
submitted a declaration from a staff member substantiating
these allegations. See Armada Decl., PRPA's Mem.
of L. in Supp. of Mot. To Dismiss Ex. 1, ECF No. 18-1; Ramos
Decl., Aerostar's Mem. of L. in Supp. of Mot. To Dismiss
Ex. 1, ECF No. 16-1
Standard of Review
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of showing that
the court has jurisdiction over the defendant. DiStefano
v. Carozzi N. Am., Inc., 286 F.3d 81, 84 (2d Cir. 2001).
Prior to discovery, a plaintiff challenged by a jurisdiction
testing motion may defeat the motion by pleading in good
faith legally sufficient allegations of jurisdiction. At that
preliminary stage, the plaintiff's prima facie showing
may be established solely by allegations. Ball v.
Metallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt, 902 F.2d 194, 197 (2d Cir.
diversity action, the amenability of a foreign corporation to
suit in federal court is determined in accordance with the
law of the state where the court sits, so we apply
Connecticut law to this case. Arrowsmith v. United Press
Int'l, 320 F.2d 219, 223 (2d Cir. 1963). In
Connecticut, “a trial court may exercise jurisdiction
over a foreign defendant only if the defendant's
intrastate activities meet the requirements both of [the
state's long-arm] statute and of the due process clause
of the federal constitution.” Thomason v. Chem.
Bank, 234 Conn. 281, 285-86 (1995). The court will
address the question of whether it would offend due process
to assert jurisdiction only after determining that
jurisdiction is statutorily permissible. Lombard Bros.,
Inc. v. Gen. Asset Mgmt. Co., 190 Conn. 245, 250 (1983).
trial court must accept all undisputed factual allegations
for the purpose of determining personal jurisdiction.
Pitruzello v. Muro, 70 Conn.App. 309, 314-15 (2002).
However, if a plaintiff's factual allegations are
disputed, as they are here, the Court cannot “avoid
scrutiny of the plaintiff's affidavit to determine
whether it [can] provide a sufficient basis for the court to
assume … jurisdiction.” Id. (approving
of a trial court's decision not to exercise jurisdiction
over a defendant because even though plaintiff's
allegations, “standing alone, might have provided a
basis for assuming personal jurisdiction, ” they
“were not supported by [the plaintiff's] affidavit
and [had] been contradicted by [the defendant's]
affidavit.”); see also Chirag v. MT Marida
Marguerite Schiffahrts, 604 F. App'x 16, 19 (2d Cir.
2015) (“A prima facie case requires non-conclusory
fact-specific allegations or evidence showing that activity
that constitutes the basis of jurisdiction has taken
place.”); Daventree Ltd. v. Republic of Azer.,
349 F.Supp.2d 736, 757 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (“The court
accepts plaintiffs' allegations of jurisdictional facts
and will construe all factual inferences in their favor. It
need not, however, accept a legally conclusory
assertion”)(internal citations omitted.); Matthews
v. SBA, Inc., 149 Conn.App. 513, 552 (2014) (“A
plaintiff, in presenting facts sufficient to establish the
court's jurisdiction, must present specific, and not
simply conclusory, allegations.”); Standard Tallow
Corp. v. Jowdy, 190 Conn. 48, 54, 459 A.2d 503
(1983)(“When a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction raises a factual question that cannot be decided
on the face of the record, the burden of proof is on the
plaintiffs to present evidence which will establish
Connecticut's Long Arm Statute
long arm statute provides that foreign corporations can be
sued in Connecticut courts for causes of action
“arising out of any business solicited in this state by
mail or otherwise if the corporation has repeatedly so
solicited business, whether the orders or offers relating
thereto were accepted within or without the state.”
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 33-929(f)(2).
Connecticut Supreme Court has interpreted Section 33-929 to
permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction over a
non-resident corporation under both specific and general
jurisdiction. Specific jurisdiction is appropriate when the
defendant “purposely direct[ed] certain enumerated
activities at the forum state, and those activities actually
caused the harm complained of.” Am. Wholesalers
Underwriting, Ltd. v. Am. Wholesale Ins. Group, Inc.,
312 F.Supp.2d 247, 254 (D. Conn. 2004). Otherwise, the
statute allows general jurisdiction even when “there is
no causal connection between the defendant's
forum-directed activities and the plaintiff's lawsuit,
” as long as the defendant has had “continuous
and systematic general business contacts” with the
state. Id. To exercise general jurisdiction, courts
consider “the totality of the defendant's conduct
and connection with this state” to determine whether it
is “reasonably foreseeable” to the defendant that
it would be sued by someone ...