final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
of a nonfinal order from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth
Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County; G. Joseph Curley, Jr.,
Judge; L.T. Case No. 50-2018-CA-005225-XXXX-MB.
Benjamin J. Biard, Ronnie Guillen, and Brittany P. Borck of
Winget Spadafora Schwartzberg, LLP, Miami, for appellant.
Andrew Fine of Marshall Grant, PLLC, Boca Raton, for
Capital, LLC appeals the denial of its motion to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction and its motion to dismiss based
on forum non conveniens. We reverse the denial of the motion
to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and remand for
the trial court to determine whether Imperial Capital's
contacts in Florida are so continuous and systematic as to
render it "at home" in the state and subject to the
exercise of general personal jurisdiction.
Capital is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of
business in California. It maintains a small office in Palm
Beach County, but the majority of its employees, including
most of its executive officers and all of the employees
involved in this dispute, work in the California office.
complaint, Tradewinds, Ltd. alleges that Imperial Capital
tortiously interfered with its contract with non-party Grupo
Dolphin Discovery. Tradewinds' claims are based primarily
on the actions of an Imperial Capital employee during a trade
show in New York. Tradewinds alleges that Imperial Capital is
subject to personal jurisdiction in Florida because it
"maintains an office and conducts regular business"
in Palm Beach County.
Capital moved to dismiss, arguing that it is not subject to
personal jurisdiction in Florida because Florida is not its
"home residence." The court denied the motion,
concluding that Imperial Capital is subject to personal
jurisdiction in Florida because it maintains
"systematic, regular contact" with the state by
conducting "regular continuous business activities"
through its office in Palm Beach County. This appeal
the trial court's denial of Imperial Capital's motion
to dismiss was based purely on legal conclusions, our review
is de novo. See Wendt v. Horowitz, 822 So.2d 1252,
1256-57 (Fla. 2002); Hamilton v. Hamilton, 142 So.3d
969, 971 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014).
whether a Florida court can exercise personal jurisdiction
over a foreign defendant involves a two-step inquiry: first,
whether the complaint alleges sufficient jurisdictional facts
to bring the action within the reach of Florida's
long-arm statute; and second, whether the defendant has
sufficient minimum contacts with the state to satisfy federal
constitutional due process requirements. Venetian Salami
Co. v. Parthenais, 554 So.2d 499, 500-02 (Fla. 1989).
case involves general, rather than specific, personal
jurisdiction because Tradewinds' claims do not arise from
Imperial Capital's activities in Florida. See,
e.g., Imerys Talc Am., Inc. v. Ricketts,
262 So.3d 799, 802 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018). Imperial Capital
concedes that Tradewinds alleged sufficient facts to bring
the action within the reach of Florida's general
jurisdiction statute. § 48.193(2), Fla. Stat. (2018)
(providing that a defendant who is engaged in
"substantial and not isolated activity within this
state" is subject to personal jurisdiction in the state
regardless of whether the claim arises from that activity).
The question presented in this appeal is whether Imperial
Capital has sufficient contacts with the state to satisfy
constitutional due process requirements.
trial court concluded that Imperial Capital has sufficient
contacts with Florida to justify the exercise of general
jurisdiction because it maintains an office in Palm Beach
County where it employs Florida residents and serves Florida
clients. The court cited Helicopteros Nacionales de
Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408 (1984), where the
United States Supreme Court held that a state could exercise
general jurisdiction over a foreign corporation if the
corporation had "continuous and systematic general
business contacts" with the state. Id. at
recent years, however, the Supreme Court has heightened the
constitutional due process standard for exercising general
jurisdiction over a foreign corporation. The inquiry is no
longer whether the corporation's contacts with the state
are "continuous and systematic" but whether they
are "so continuous and systematic as to render [the
corporation] essentially at home in the forum State."
Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 138-39 (2014)
(quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v.
Brown, 5 ...