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Kline v. Williams

September 14, 2006

VALERIE KLINE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SETH M. WILLIAMS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court is plaintiff Valerie Kline's motion for reconsideration of its August 8, 2006, order (#23) dismissing her complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Kline argues that the court erred in its memorandum opinion (#22) by misconstruing language in the District of Columbia's long-arm statute, D.C. CODE ANN. § 13-423. Kline also requests in the alternative that this action be transferred to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, where she resides. Upon consideration of Kline's motion and the record of this case, the court denies the motion.

I. DISCUSSION

A. The District of Columbia's Long-Arm Statute

As set forth more fully in the court's prior opinion, Kline has not met her prima facie burden of showing personal jurisdiction in the District of Columbia over defendants. To satisfy the District of Columbia's long-arm statute, Kline must make a prima facie showing that: (1) she suffered tortiuous injury in the District of Columbia; (2) the injury was caused by defendants' acts or omissions outside the District of Columbia; and (3) one of three"plus factors" enumerated in the statute exists as to defendants. GTE New Media Services, Inc. v. BellSouth Corp., 199 F.3d 1343, 1347 (D.C. Cir. 2000). Kline has satisfied the first two prongs of this test, but the court has concluded that Kline failed to make a prima facie showing of any "plus factor" and that therefore personal jurisdiction over defendants is lacking. See Mem. & Op. [#22], at 5.

As to the third prong, Kline argues that the court erred in construing one of the "plus factors"-a "persistent course of conduct . . . in the District of Columbia," D.C. CODE ANN. § 13-423(a)(4)-to require that a defendant's conduct take place in the District in order for jurisdiction to exist. Instead, Kline argues, a "persistent course of conduct aimed at the district should suffice." Pl.'s Mot. for Recons. at 2. The court is not persuaded. The language is clear, and it requires conduct "in" the District. D.C. CODE ANN. § 13-423(a)(4); see also Tavoulareas v. Commas, 720 F.2d 192, 194 (conduct must take place in the District); Burman v. Phoenix Worldwide Industries, Inc., 437 F. Supp. 2d 142 (D.D.C. 2006) (1,326 phone calls to the District of Columbia does not constitute a persistent course of conduct in the District for purposes of the statute).*fn1

B. Kline's Request to Transfer

Kline requests in the alternative that this action be transferred to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, where she resides. The court declines to do so, as it does not appear from the facts alleged by Kline that personal jurisdiction could be asserted in that court.

The Maryland long-arm statute is similar to that of the District of Columbia. In pertinent part, it provides:

A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person, who directly or by an agent:

(1) Transacts any business or performs any character of work or service in the State;

(2) Contracts to supply goods, food, services, or manufactured products in the State;

(3) Causes tortious injury in the State by an act or omission in the State;

(4) Causes tortious injury in the State or outside of the State by an act or omission outside the State if he regularly does or solicits business, engages in any other persistent course of conduct in the State or derives substantial revenue from goods, food, ...


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