Maryland, the District of Columbia long-arm statute is not satisfied.
The facts controlling this motion are not disputed. As mentioned above, Dr. Kay's office is in Maryland and plaintiff received all treatment there. Dr. Kay is licensed to practice podiatry both in Maryland and the District of Columbia. According to his affidavit, however, he has not practiced in the District since 1947.
He has advertised and listed his phone number in the District of Columbia Yellow Pages.
A medical report submitted by Dr. Kay indicates that Mr. Ghanem was referred to Dr. Kay by a friend and did not consult Dr. Kay as a result of any solicitation efforts directed at District residents.
The burden of establishing the basis for the exercise of jurisdiction is on the plaintiffs. See, e.g., Hutton v. Piepgras, 451 F. Supp. 205, 207 (S.D.N.Y. 1978). The first requirement for the Court to have personal jurisdiction over Dr. Kay in this action is that the District of Columbia long-arm statute be satisfied. See D.C. Code 13-423 (1981). Plaintiffs argue that Dr. Kay's actions constituted "transacting any business" within the meaning of section 13-423(a)(1)
and therefore that the statute is satisfied. As plaintiffs correctly point out, recent decisions by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals establish that section 13-423(a)(1) "covers any transaction of business in the District of Columbia that can be reached jurisdictionally without offending the due process clause." Mouzavires v. Baxter, 434 A.2d 988, 993 (D.C. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1006, 71 L. Ed. 2d 875, 102 S. Ct. 1643 (1982). Thus, rather than engaging in separate inquiries as to whether statutory and constitutional requirements are satisfied by virtue of Dr. Kay's being licensed and advertising in the District, the two inquiries merge into one question: whether the defendant's activities are such that jurisdiction would violate the due process clause. See, e.g., World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 290, 62 L. Ed. 2d 490, 100 S. Ct. 559 (1980); Museum v. F. Eberstadt & Co., 440 F. Supp. 30, 31 (D.D.C. 1977) ("our inquiry need not be bifurcated [where] the constitutional and statutory provisions are coextensive. . . ."). Thus, the sole issue is whether defendant's activities constitute the minimum contacts that must exist between a nonresident defendant and the forum state for maintenance of the suit to "not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 90 L. Ed. 95, 66 S. Ct. 154 (1945).
Application of the International Shoe test has centered on consideration of whether "defendant's conduct and connection with the forum state are such that he should reasonably anticipate being hauled into court there." World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. at 297 . A defendant is deemed to be in this position where there is "some act by which the defendant purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state. . . ." Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253, 2 L. Ed. 2d 1283, 78 S. Ct. 1228 (1958) (emphasis supplied).
As counsel for defendant has noted, there is a great deal of authority supporting the conclusion that solicitation alone is not sufficient to constitute purposeful availment. See, e.g., Frene v. Louisville Cement Co., 77 U.S. App. D.C. 129, 134 F.2d 511, 515 (D.C. Cir. 1943); Landell v. Northern Pac. Ry. Co., 98 F. Supp. 479, 482 (D.D.C. 1951). Thus the motion before the Court turns largely on whether the fact that Dr. Kay is licensed in the District of Columbia is sufficient to constitute the purposeful availment discussed in Hanson v. Denckla even though he has not practiced in the District of Columbia in thirty-seven years.
There is little case law addressing the issue. Although there are numerous cases where courts dismissing actions against nonresident physicians have noted as one possible factor that defendants were not licensed in the jurisdiction in question,
this is not dispositive of whether dismissal is appropriate if the defendant is licensed in the jurisdiction. In resolving this question, the Court finds the reasoning contained in a recent Pennsylvania decision addressing virtually identical facts
to be persuasive. In Lebkuecher v. Loquasto, 255 Pa. Super. 608, 389 A.2d 143, 145 (1978), the Court held that "it is the actual practice of a profession . . . and not the possession of the right to practice that brings a person within the jurisdiction of a . . . court."
A nonresident physician who arranges to be licensed in the District would not by this act alone reasonably anticipate being required to defend a suit brought in the District of Columbia. Of course, where a nonresident physician is not only licensed in a jurisdiction but carries on significant activities within that jurisdiction, the due process requirement of minimum contacts between a defendant and a forum state is satisfied.
Because plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that jurisdiction over the defendant would be proper, this action is dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2).
Date: Oct 25th 1984