United States District Court, S.D. Florida
MICHAEL MCCOY, on his own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
SANDALS RESORTS INTERNATIONAL, LTD., d/b/a Sandals, and UNIQUE VACATIONS, INC. d/b/a Unique Vacations. Defendants.
BLOOM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendants Sandals
Resorts International, Ltd. (“SRI”) and Unique
Vacations, Inc.'s (“UVI”) Motion to Stay
Briefing on SRI's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. , and
Plaintiff Michael McCoy's Renewed Motion for Leave to
Conduct Jurisdictional Discovery and to Stay Briefing on
SRI's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. . The Court has
reviewed the motions, the record and applicable law, and is
otherwise fully advised. For the reasons that follow,
Defendants' Motion to Stay Briefing, ECF No. , is
granted in part and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
Conduct Jurisdictional Discovery, ECF No. , is denied
filed this putative class action on June 13, 2019. ECF No.
. Plaintiff asserts two claims for violation of
Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act
(“FDUTPA”) and a claim for unjust enrichment
against Defendants for allegedly charging guests at Sandals
resorts throughout the Caribbean a local government
“tax” that Defendants secretly retained. On July
8, 2019, both UVI and SRI filed separate motions to dismiss.
UVI's motion asserts five independent bases for
dismissal. First, UVI argues that the Complaint should be
dismissed under the doctrine of forum non conveniens
because Plaintiff agreed to a binding forum selection clause
requiring that he litigate this action in the Turks &
Caicos Islands. UVI's motion also seeks dismissal for (1)
failure to plead fraud-based claims with particularity; (2)
lack of Article III standing; (3) failure to state a FDUTPA
claim because the Complaint does not allege Florida
misconduct or actual damages; and (4) failure to state an
unjust enrichment claim because it is impermissibly
duplicative of the FDUTPA claim and based on an express
contract. ECF No. . SRI's motion adopts each ground
for dismissal asserted by UVI and also argues that the Court
lacks both general jurisdiction and specific jurisdiction
with respect to SRI and that the claims against SRI should be
dismissed for insufficient service of process. ECF No. .
to the instant motions before the Court, Defendants request
that the Court stay briefing on SRI's Motion to Dismiss
pending resolution of UVI's Motion to Dismiss. Defendants
argue that staying briefing on SRI's Motion to Dismiss
for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction until resolution of
UVI's Motion to Dismiss on non-jurisdictional grounds is
the approach best designed to promote efficiency and ensure
that the discovery process does not unduly burden the
parties. Plaintiff counters that the stay Defendants request
is unwarranted because UVI's Motion to Dismiss, including
its forum non conveniens arguments, lacks merit.
Plaintiff requests instead that the Court allow Plaintiff to
conduct jurisdictional discovery for 90 days before Plaintiff
is required to respond to SRI's Motion to Dismiss.
Plaintiff contends that it is entitled to limited
jurisdictional discovery to establish personal jurisdiction
appropriate conditions, a court should consider dismissal on
forum non conveniens grounds without first
determining whether personal jurisdiction is proper or,
consequentially, requiring the parties to engage in related
jurisdictional discovery. As the Supreme Court explained:
If ... a court can readily determine that it lacks
jurisdiction over the cause or the defendant, the proper
course would be to dismiss on that ground. In the mine run of
cases, jurisdiction “will involve no arduous
inquiry” and both judicial economy and the
consideration ordinarily accorded the plaintiff's choice
of forum “should impel the federal court to dispose of
[those] issue[s] first.” But where subject-matter or
personal jurisdiction is difficult to determine, and
forum non conveniens considerations weigh heavily in
favor of dismissal, the court properly takes the less
Sinochem Int'l Co. v. Malaysia Int'l Shipping
Corp., 549 U.S. 422, 436 (2007) (quoting
Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S.
574, 587-88 (1999)). This principle has been accepted and
applied by the Eleventh Circuit. See Vesuna v. CSCS
Int'l N.V., 405 Fed.Appx. 371, 373 (11th Cir. 2010)
(injured seaman had no right to discovery, prior to dismissal
on forum non conveniens grounds). See also Snee
v. Sunrise Properties Ltd., 2009 WL 2163179, at *5 (S.D.
Fla. July 17, 2009) (considering, and granting, motion to
dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds before
considering jurisdictional issues and therefore denying
parties leave to engage in related discovery).
the Court concludes that the less burdensome course is for
the Court to first resolve Defendants' forum non
conveniens arguments asserted in UVI's Motion to
Dismiss and adopted by SRI in its Motion to Dismiss. At this
stage, the Court is unpersuaded by Plaintiff's contention
that the forum non conveniens arguments do not weigh
heavily in favor of dismissal. Plaintiff states that
“the forum selection clause UVI relies upon is limited
to claims arising from ‘personal injury, illness or
death' and concerns conduct and events that occur
during the guests stay at a resort.” ECF No.
 at 4. Subject to further briefing on the issue, the
Court is unconvinced.
the parties agree that no jurisdictional discovery is
necessary to resolve UVI's Motion to Dismiss in its
entirety. As such, in ruling on Defendants' forum non
conveniens arguments the Court shall equally consider
the four other grounds for dismissal raised in UVI's
Motion to Dismiss and adopted by SRI (failure to plead
fraud-based claims with particularity, lack of Article III
standing, failure to state a FDUTPA claim, and failure to
state an unjust enrichment claim). Accordingly, briefing on
the issues of personal jurisdiction and insufficient service
of process raised in SRI's motion to dismiss shall be
stayed pending a ruling on the five grounds for dismissal
asserted in UVI's Motion to Dismiss and adopted by SRI.
the Court's ruling on UVI's Motion to Dismiss, and
SRI's adoption of the arguments contained therein, may be
dispositive and thereby obviate the need for a determination
of personal jurisdiction as to SRI, Plaintiff's request
to conduct jurisdictional discovery is denied without
prejudice. Plaintiff may renew its request to conduct
jurisdictional discovery at the appropriate time should its
claims against SRI survive the Court's ruling on the
portion of SRI's Motion to Dismiss which adopts each
ground for dismissal asserted by UVI.
it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows:
1. Defendants' Motion to Stay Briefing on SRI's
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. , is
GRANTED in part.
2. Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Leave to Conduct
Jurisdictional Discovery and to Stay Briefing on SRI's
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. , is
DENIED without prejudice.
3. Plaintiff shall file a response to UVI's Motion to
Dismiss, ECF No. , by August 15, 2019.
See ECF No. . Plaintiff shall also file by the
same date a response to the portions of SRI's Motion to
Dismiss, ECF No. , which adopts the five ...