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Jones v. Realpage, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio

September 3, 2019




         In this case an Ohio and a Colorado resident sue the non-Ohio Defendant Company for conduct that occurred outside of Ohio. The Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendant.

         For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS IN PART Defendant's motion to dismiss or to transfer to the extent that Defendant seeks venue transfer to the Northern District of Texas.

         I. Background

         In June 2016, Plaintiff Diane Jones applied to rent a Georgia apartment. [1] In August 2017, the apartment complex rejected Jones's application because a background report included some criminal history. [2] Somewhat similarly, in October 2016 and July 2017, Plaintiff James Arnold applied to rent Colorado apartments and was likewise denied. [3] Arnold claims No. 119-cv-00501 Gwin, J. criminal history reported in a background report caused the rejection.[4]

         Plaintiffs allege that RealPage's Leasing Desk Screening platform generated the background reports.[5] Plaintiffs allege that the information in the reports was wrong and that Defendant violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to use reasonable procedures to ensure the information was accurate.[6]

         On March 6, 2019, Plaintiff Jones sued.[7] On May 20, 2019, Plaintiff Arnold joined the suit in an amended complaint.[8]

         On June 10, 2019, Defendant RealPage filed a motion to dismiss. With its motion to dismiss, RealPage says this Court does not have personal jurisdiction over RealPage. RealPage alternatively asks for transfer to the Northern District of Texas.[9] Plaintiffs opposed both dismissal and venue transfer.[10]

         II. Plaintiffs Fail to Demonstrate Personal Jurisdiction

         Plaintiffs bear the burden to show that the Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant.[11] To satisfy this burden, Plaintiffs need only make a prima facie jurisdictional showing.[12] Although this burden is “relatively slight, ”[13] even after jurisdictional discovery Plaintiffs still have not carried the duty to show personal jurisdiction.

         The Court's exercise of personal jurisdiction must satisfy constitutional due process No. 1:19-cv-00501 Gwin, J. requirements and must also be authorized by Ohio's long-arm statute.[14] The Court considers first whether Plaintiffs have satisfied the requisite constitutional concerns.[15]

         There are two types of personal jurisdiction-general and specific.[16] To invoke general jurisdiction, Plaintiffs must show that Defendant is “at home” in Ohio-meaning being incorporated or having its principal place of business here.[17]

         Defendant RealPage is Delaware incorporated and maintains a Texas principal place of business.[18]

         However, Plaintiffs argue that this Court has general jurisdiction over Defendant RealPage because RealPage's contacts with Ohio are “continuous and systematic.”[19] Even if true, this allegation does not establish general jurisdiction.[20] “Continuous and systematic” contacts are not sufficient unless they render a corporation essentially at home in Ohio.[21]Although Plaintiff alleges that Defendant conducts business in Ohio, the Supreme Court has expressly rejected such “exorbitant exercises of all-purpose jurisdiction.”[22]

         The Court does not have general jurisdiction over Defendant.

         To invoke specific jurisdiction, Plaintiffs must show that (i) Defendant purposefully availed itself of acting or causing a consequence in Ohio, (ii) the cause of action arose from No. 1:19-cv-00501 Gwin, J. Defendant's activities in Ohio, and (iii) Defendant's acts have a sufficiently substantial connection to make jurisdiction reasonable.[23]

         Plaintiffs allege that Defendant is licensed to do business in Ohio, “has served 2, 804 Ohio customers, ” and has contracted with third parties to conduct site assessments for each Ohio customer.[24] Plaintiffs state that RealPage's Ohio customers have requested 299, 808 background reports.[25] Plaintiffs' allegations may demonstrate that Defendant purposefully availed itself of Ohio's laws, but that is where Plaintiffs' success ends.

         Plaintiffs never claim that their cause of action arose from Defendant's activities in Ohio. Indeed, the only Ohio Plaintiff applied for a Georgia located apartment.[26] Defendant RealPage, based in Texas, supplied the report at issue directly to the Georgia apartment complex.[27] Plaintiffs fail to show that their case arises from any of Defendant's Ohio activities.

         Finally, Defendant's acts do not have a substantial connection to Ohio that would make the exercise of jurisdiction reasonable. That Jones is an Ohio resident was mere happenstance as RealPage generated the report on Jones for a Georgia apartment application. Plaintiff ...

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