United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK
OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION, IMPROPER VENUE AND FAILURE TO STATE
W. Eginton Senior United States District Judge
action, plaintiff Donna Kane alleges that defendant
Steinbrecher and Associates is liable for breach of contract,
and that defendant BNSF Railway Company is liable for
tortious interference with plaintiff's contract with
now move for dismissal based on lack of personal
jurisdiction, improper venue and failure to state a claim.
following reasons, the motion to dismiss will be granted.
complaint alleges the following factual background. The Court
also includes additional facts that have been averred to in
affidavits. Defendant has submitted affidavits from James
Obermiller, BNSF's Director of Compliance and information
Governance, and Susan Steinbrecher. The affidavit from
Steinbrecher includes the relevant contract attached as an
exhibit. The Court's consideration of a motion to dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction may include materials
outside the pleading including affidavits. Alpha Capital
Anstalt v. Oxysure Sys., Inc., 2017 WL 2271518, at *2
(S.D.N.Y. May 8, 2017).
is a resident of Connecticut; defendant Steinbrecher is a
Texas corporation based in Hurst, Texas; and BNSF Railway
Company is a Delaware corporation based in Fort Worth, Texas.
provides education and training services to BNSF. Commencing
in 2013, plaintiff worked for Steinbrecher as a leadership
trainer. As of February 2017, plaintiff and Steinbrecher had
entered into a written service contract.
February 2017, plaintiff was assigned to conduct a training
for BNSF at a Doubletree Hotel in San Bernadino, California.
During her stay, plaintiff reported to the hotel manager that
she had suffered from the presence of bed bugs in her room.
She later sent the manager an email expressing her
dissatisfaction with the hotel.
while working at an event for Steinbrecher in Texas,
plaintiff received an email from a Doubletree representative
that was copied to a representative from BNSF. Plaintiff had
not been aware that the Doubletree and BNSF, or its employee,
had a longstanding relationship with one another.
February 22, 2017, Linda Steinbrecher, Steinbrecher's
owner, requested that plaintiff participate in a conference
call. During the call on March 9, 2017, Ms. Steinbrecher was
located in Texas. She conveyed to plaintiff that BNSF had
demanded that she have no further involvement with any
training conducted by Steinbrecher for BNSF. Later that day,
Ms. Steinbrecher called plaintiff to terminate her
motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction under
Rule 12(b)(2), “plaintiff bears the burden of showing
that the court has jurisdiction over the defendant.”
In re Magnetic Audiotape Antitrust Litig., 334 F.3d
204, 206 (2d Cir. 2003). At this stage of the proceedings, if
the court relies upon pleadings and affidavits, the plaintiff
must make out only a prima facie showing of personal
jurisdiction, and the affidavits and pleadings should be
construed most favorably to the plaintiff. CutCo
Industries, Inc. v. Naughton, 806 F.2d 361, 365 (2d
Cir. 1986). To determine personal jurisdiction, the court
must consider the facts as they exist at the time of
plaintiff's filing. Klinghoffer v. S. N.C. Achille
Lauro Ed Altri-Gestione Motonave Achille Lauro in
Amministrazione Straordinaria, 937 F.2d 44, 52 (2d Cir.
survive a pretrial motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, a plaintiff bears the burden of showing that
the court has jurisdiction over the defendant. Kernan v.
Kurz-Hastings, Inc., 175 F.3d 236, 240 (2d Cir. 1999).
The amenability of a nonresident to suit in a federal court
in a diversity action is determined according to the law of
the state where the court sits. Arrowsmith v. United
Press Int'l, 320 F.2d 219, 223 (2d Cir. 1963). In
Connecticut, the court makes a two step inquiry.
Bensmiller v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 47