Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bailey v. J&B Trucking Services

September 10, 2008

KEITH BAILEY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
J&B TRUCKING SERVICES, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rosemary M. Collyer United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the Court is Defendant Sergio Rolando Sanabria's Motion to Dismiss. See Dkt. # 2. For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Keith Bailey and Jacqueline Bailey, husband and wife, allege in this personal injury action that Sergio Rolando Sanabria, a commercial truck driver employed by J&B Trucking Services, Inc. ("J&B Trucking"), left his work truck unattended and running outside his home in Hyattsville, Maryland on January 7, 2006. During that time, Onorio T. Cifuentes stole the truck, drove it into the District of Columbia, and crashed it into Plaintiff Keith Bailey's vehicle, causing him serious injuries.*fn1 Mr. Bailey's injuries included skull and face fractures, lacerations to the face and eyes, bleeding in his ear canal, brain contusions, and hemorrhages. See Compl. ¶ 21. Mr. Bailey experiences difficulty with long and short-term memory, problem solving, and basic motor skills, and suffers from weakness in verbal memory and conceptual fluency, headaches, dizziness, and disorientation. Id. ¶ 22.

Plaintiffs sue Mr. Sanabria and J&B Trucking for motor vehicle negligence, id. ¶¶ 23-26, and loss of consortium, id. ¶¶ 27-29. Plaintiffs contend that Defendants "owed a continuing duty to other motorists, and to Plaintiff Keith Bailey specifically, to exercise ordinary care in maintaining and operating the vehicle in their custody and control in a lawful and responsible manner such that it did not present an unreasonable risk to other vehicles and drivers on the road." Id. ¶ 24. Defendants allegedly breached this duty by, inter alia, "failing to foresee that the truck could be stolen under the circumstances." Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiffs seek a total of $4,000,000 in damages from Defendants, jointly and severally. Id. ¶¶ 26, 29. The case was removed to this Court on April 14, 2008.

Mr. Sanabria moves to dismiss the Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). On May 6, 2008, the Court granted Plaintiffs' request for a limited deposition of Mr. Sanabria on jurisdictional issues.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

On a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing a factual basis for the court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Crane v. N.Y. Zoological Soc'y, 894 F.2d 454, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1990). The plaintiff must allege specific acts connecting the defendant with the forum. Second Amendment Found. v. U.S. Conference of Mayors, 274 F.3d 521, 524 (D.C. Cir. 2001). Bare allegations and conclusory statements are insufficient. Id. "[I]n situations where the parties are permitted to conduct discovery on the jurisdictional issue a plaintiff must prove personal jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence." See Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram, P.C. v. Hazard, 24 F. Supp. 2d 66, 69 (D.D.C. 1998) (citations omitted).

The Court may assert personal jurisdiction over a defendant if the plaintiff demonstrates that (1) the District of Columbia's long-arm statute authorizes service of process on the defendant; and (2) such a provision is consistent with the constitutional principles of due process. See Am. Directory Serv. Agency v. Beam, 131 F.R.D. 635, 640 (D.D.C. 1990) (citations omitted). Plaintiffs here assert that the applicable long-arm statute is D.C. Code § 13-423(a)(4), which provides that a court

may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person, who acts directly or by an agent, as to a claim for relief arising from the person's . . . causing tortious injury in the District of Columbia by an act or omission outside the District of Columbia if he regularly does or solicits business, engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed, or services rendered, in the District of Columbia . . . .

D.C. Code § 13-423(a)(4) (2001).

The exercise of personal jurisdiction is proper if the defendant's contacts with the forum are "of a sufficient quantity and quality that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." Beam, 131 F.R.D. at 640 (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). "This 'minimum contacts' test cannot be applied mechanically, however. Rather, it will vary with the quality and nature of the defendant's activities." Beam, 131 F.R.D. at 640 (citing Kulko v. Superior Court, 436 U.S. 84, 92 (1978)). A defendant's connection with the forum state must be "such that he should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there." World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980). Jurisdiction is only proper when the defendant purposefully directs his activities at residents of the forum. Id.

III. DISCUSSION

In order to establish personal jurisdiction under D.C. Code § 13-423(a)(4), after jurisdictional discovery is completed, Plaintiffs "must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) plaintiffs suffered a tortious injury in the District of Columbia; (2) the injury was caused by a defendant's act or omission outside the District; and (3) the defendant had one of the three enumerated contacts with the District of Columbia." See Jung v. Ass'n of Am. Med. Coll., 300 F. Supp. 2d 119, 135 (D.D.C. 2004) (citations omitted). On the third prong, which is the focus of the briefing, Plaintiffs must demonstrate facts showing that Mr. Sanabria (1) regularly does business, or solicits business, in the District; (2) engages in any other persistent course of conduct in the District; or (3) derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed, or services rendered, in the District of Columbia. D.C. Code ยง 13-423(a)(4). These ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.