United States District Court, S.D. Florida
P. GAYLES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court on Defendant Larson
Electronics, LLC's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal
Jurisdiction [ECF No. 8] and Defendant Robert Bresnahan's
Motion to Dismiss [ECF No. 7] (collectively the
“Motions). The Court has reviewed the Motions and the
record and is otherwise fully advised.
Maritime Executive, LLC (“Maritime” or
“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants
Larson Electronics, LLC (“Larson”), and Robert
Bresnahan (“Bresnahan”) (collectively,
“Defendants”) for defamation and defamation
per se [ECF No. 1-2]. Maritime is a Florida limited
liability company. Larson is a Texas limited liability
company and Bresnahan is domiciled in and a citizen of Texas.
Bresnahan is sole shareholder of Controlling Factor, Inc.,
which is the sole member of Larson.
to the Complaint, in or around January of 2016, Maritime
entered into a written agreement with Larson where Maritime
would publish advertisements for Larson's products in
Maritime's email marketing lists and newsletter. Maritime
alleges it published the agreed upon advertisements but
Larson failed to pay for its services. Maritime alleges that
after it attempted to collect on the debts owed by Larson,
Defendants began publishing defamatory statements about
Maritime on Larson's website. See [ECF No. 1-2,
¶ 11]. Maritime also alleges that Defendants purchased
Google AdWords advertisements that referred to Maritime as a
“scam, ” and appeared as the first link on Google
when users entered certain search terms associated with
Maritime. See [Id. ¶ 12].
removal from the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in and for
Broward County, Florida, Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing
that this Court does not have personal jurisdiction over
them. Bresnahan also moved to dismiss arguing that Plaintiff
has failed to state a claim against him for defamation and
defamation per se. Maritime filed a Response in
Opposition [ECF No. 16] addressing Defendants' personal
jurisdiction arguments, but did not respond to
Bresnahan's arguments concerning a failure to state a
claim against him for defamation and defamation per se.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). Although this pleading standard “does not
require ‘detailed factual allegations, ' . . . it
demands more than an unadorned,
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
must contain “more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(citation omitted). Indeed, “only a complaint that
states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to
dismiss.” Iq-bal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). To meet this
“plausibility standard, ” a plaintiff must
“plead[ ] factual content that allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678 (alteration
added) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). When
reviewing a motion to dismiss, a court must construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and
take the factual allegations therein as true. See Brooks
v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Fla. Inc., 116 F.3d
1364, 1369 (11th Cir. 1997).
plaintiff seeking to establish personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant ‘bears the initial burden of
alleging in the complaint sufficient facts to make out a
prima facie case of jurisdiction.'” Louis
Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. Mosseri, 736 F.3d 1339, 1350
(11th Cir. 2013) (quoting United Techs. Corp. v.
Mazer, 556 F.3d 1260, 1274 (11th Cir. 2009)). When a
defendant submits evidence in support of its challenge to
personal jurisdiction, “the burden traditionally shifts
back to the plaintiff to produce evidence supporting
jurisdiction.” Id. (quoting Madara v.
Hall, 916 F.2d 1510, 1514 (11th Cir. 1990)).
“Where the plaintiff's complaint and supporting
evidence conflict with the defendant's affidavits, the
court must construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff, ” Diamond Crystal Brands, Inc. v. Food
Movers Int'l, Inc., 593 F.3d 1249, 1257 (11th Cir.
2010) (citation omitted), and still must “accept the
facts alleged in the complaint as true, to the extent they
are uncontroverted by the defendant's affidavits.”
Madara, 916 F.2d at 1514.
federal court sitting in diversity undertakes a two-step
inquiry in determining whether personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant exists. First, the court must determine
whether the exercise of jurisdiction is appropriate under
Florida Statute § 48.193, Florida's long-arm
statute. Second, the court must determine whether personal
jurisdiction over the defendant violates the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. Mutual Serv. Ins. Co. v. Frit Indus.,
Inc., 358 F.3d 1312, 1319 (11th Cir. 2004).