United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
M. PARKER MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the court on the motion to dismiss for lack
of personal jurisdiction filed by defendant P.A.M. Transport,
Inc. (“P.A.M.”). ECF Doc. 14. Because Ohio's
long-arm statute does not confer personal jurisdiction over
P.A.M. Transport, Inc. in this court, its motion to dismiss
for lack of jurisdiction must be GRANTED.
Philip Emiabata, (“Emiabata”) owns a commercial
tractor that was damaged while parked at a gas station in
Kentucky on May 11, 2016. ECF Doc. 1, ¶¶ 1, 6, 7.
Emiabata did not witness the accident and the tortfeasor left
the scene without taking responsibility for his or her
actions. ECF Doc. 1, ¶ 8. However, a witness saw P.A.M.
Transportation truck number 34776 leaving the scene of the
accident. Id. Emiabata contacted P.A.M., an Arkansas
Corporation,  and demanded compensation for the damages
to his tractor. ECF Doc. 1, ¶¶ 3, 9. He also
submitted a claim to Progressive Insurance for the damages to
his tractor. ECF Doc. 1, ¶¶ 9, 10. Emiabata brings
this action against both P.A.M. Transportation and
Progressive Insurance seeking recovery for the damages to his
commercial tractor. ECF Doc. 1.
alleges that P.A.M. Transportation is “a Corporate
defendant is Arkansas Corporation. That maintains it
principal place of business in Ohio State. Where it has its
headquarters, and where it engages in extensive
Transportation business.” ECF 1, ¶ 3.
Standard of Review
courts “sitting in diversity may not exercise
jurisdiction over a defendant unless courts of the forum
state would be authorized to do so by state law
- and any such exercise of jurisdiction must be compatible
with the due process requirements of the United States
Constitution.” Int'l Techs. Consultants v.
Euroglas S.A., 107 F.3d 386, 391 (6th Cir. 1997)
(citation omitted). Deciding whether jurisdiction exists is
not an idle or perfunctory inquiry; due process demands that
parties have sufficient contacts with the forum state so that
it is fair to subject them to jurisdiction. See Burger
King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475, 105 S.Ct.
2174, 85 L.Ed.2d 528 (1985) (“[T]he Due Process Clause
gives a degree of predictability to the legal system that
allows potential defendants to structure their primary
conduct with some minimum assurance as to where that conduct
will and will not render them liable to suit.”
(Internal quotation marks and citations omitted)). The
court's jurisdiction accordingly extends only to those
parties who have in some fashion placed themselves in the
hands of the tribunal. See, e.g., Kerry Steel,
Inc. v. Paragon Indus., Inc., 106 F.3d 147, 150 (6th
Cir. 1997) (“To be subject to in personam jurisdiction
. . . a defendant must purposefully avail[ ] itself of the
privilege of conducting activities within the forum State,
thus invoking the benefits and protections of its
laws.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)
(alteration in the original)). Practically speaking,
plaintiffs always concede personal jurisdiction, so the
inquiry is typically restricted to defendants; because
defendants who reside in the forum state will always be
subject to the personal jurisdiction of the court, the
inquiry is in most cases further restricted to non-resident
defendants. Conn v. Zakharov, 667 F.3d 705, 711 (6th
with a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction
and opposition thereto, “a court has three procedural
alternatives: it may decide the motion upon the affidavits
alone; it may permit discovery in aid of deciding the motion;
or it may conduct an evidentiary hearing to resolve any
apparent factual questions.” Theunissen v.
Matthews, 935 F.2d 1454, 1458 (6th Cir. 1991). The court
has discretion to decide which method it will follow.
Id. However the court handles the motion, the
plaintiff always bears the burden of establishing that
jurisdiction exists. Serras v. First Tennessee Bank
National Ass'n, 875 F.2d 1212, 1214 (6th Cir. 1989).
If the defendant supports his motion to dismiss with
affidavits, the plaintiff may not stand on his pleadings but
must, by affidavit or otherwise, set forth specific facts
showing that the court has jurisdiction. Theunissen,
935 F.2d at 1458 (citing Weller v. Cromwell Oil Co.,
504 F.2d 927, 930 (6th Cir. 1974).
the court found that neither P.A.M. nor Emiabata had
supported their initial memoranda concerning P.A.M.'s
motion to dismiss with affidavits. In an order issued on
January 29, 2018, the court required the parties to file
affidavits supporting the factual statements made in
P.A.M.'s motion to dismiss (ECF Doc. 14) and
Emiabata's opposition. (ECF Doc. 21) Having now reviewed
the affidavits, (ECF Docs. 26 & 27) the court finds it
unnecessary to conduct an evidentiary hearing, and the court
will decide P.A.M.'s motion on the affidavits alone.
Law & Analysis
Ohio law, personal jurisdiction over non-resident defendants
is available only if (1) the long-arm statute confers
jurisdiction and (2) jurisdiction is proper under the Due
Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. See Kauffman
Racing Equip., L.L.C. v. Roberts, 126 Ohio St.3d 81,
2010-Ohio-2551, 930 N.E.2d 784, 790 (Ohio 2010);
Goldstein v. Christiansen, 70 Ohio St.3d 232,
1994-Ohio-229, 638 N.E.2d 541, 543 (Ohio 1994). Ohio's
long-arm statute is more restrictive than what has been found
permissible under the due process clause in the U.S.
Constitution. U.S. Const. amend. V. The analysis of
Ohio's long-arm statute involves a particularized inquiry
wholly separate from the analysis of federal due process law.
Conn, 667 F.3d at 712. Ohio's long-arm statute
grants Ohio courts personal jurisdiction over a non-resident
if his conduct falls within the nine grounds for asserting
jurisdiction listed in the statute. See Ohio Rev.
Code Ann. § 2307.382(A), (C) (1988). Id. The
statute makes clear that “[w]hen jurisdiction over a
person is based solely upon this section, only a cause of
action arising from acts enumerated in this section may be
asserted against” the non-resident defendant. Ohio Rev.
Code Ann. § 2307.382(C). If plaintiff fails to identify
at least one of the grounds for claiming personal
jurisdiction under Ohio's long-arm statute, the court is
not required to also evaluate whether an assertion of
personal jurisdiction over the defendant satisfies the U.S.
Constitution's due process requirements. Dupee v.
Playtika Santa Monica, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25026, *14
(N.D. Ohio 2016).
Long-Arm Statute, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2308.382 (A),
A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person who
acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of action ...