United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
Charlene Edwards Honeywell United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court upon the Defendant's Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (Doc.
45), and Plaintiff's response thereto (Doc. 47). In the
motion, Defendant argues that the Second Amended Complaint
should be dismissed for, among other reasons, lack of
personal jurisdiction. Doc. 45. The Court, having considered
the motion and being fully advised in the premises, will
grant Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and dismiss this
action with prejudice.
Anne Bryant, is a composer and songwriter who arranged,
produced, and performed arrangements broadcast by Defendant
Hasbro Inc.'s programs. Doc. 43 ¶ 2. Plaintiff filed
a Complaint against Defendant alleging claims related to
payments for her work and with respect to the funding of
Plaintiff's pension. Doc. 1. Defendant moved to dismiss
the original Complaint and, in response, Plaintiff filed an
Amended Complaint. Docs. 15-17. Defendant moved to dismiss
the Amended Complaint for a number of reasons, including lack
of personal jurisdiction, and Plaintiff responded in
opposition to the motion. Docs. 22, 28. The Court granted the
motion to dismiss, finding that Plaintiff did not allege
facts in the Amended Complaint that were sufficient to
establish a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction over
Defendant. Doc. 40. Given Plaintiff's pro se
status, the Court granted her a final opportunity to amend
her complaint. Id.
filed the instant Second Amended Complaint. Doc. 43. In it,
Plaintiff alleges that this action is for the collection of
“past due wages from domestic and foreign reuse,
residuals and secondary market payments, and delinquent
Pension contributions . . ., from the defendant . . .,
pursuant to the terms provided in the Collective Bargaining
Agreements (“CBAs”) . . . of the American
Federation of Musicians (“AFM”) Basic Television
Film Agreement of 2002 . . ., and the 2014 SAG-AFTRA
Television Agreement.” Id. ¶ 3 (internal
footnote omitted). Plaintiff alleges that the action is filed
under sections 502(a)(3)3 and 510 of the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).
Id. ¶ 5. With respect to jurisdiction,
Plaintiff states that specific jurisdiction exists in this
Court and relies on the Florida Long Arm Statute, section
48.193(1)(a) of the Florida Statutes. Id. ¶ 12.
alleges that she composed music that was used in various
Hasbro programs sold in Florida, throughout the United
States, and internationally. Id. ¶ 16.
Plaintiff also alleges that she lives in Florida and receives
pension benefits and income in Florida, and that her injury
of nonpayments and loss of pension benefits is felt in
Florida. Id. ¶ 17. Additionally, Defendant
licenses Master Audio Recordings that are used in
audio-visual products in Florida. Id. ¶ 24.
Products that use the Master Audio Recordings can be
purchased by Florida residents from online stores or viewed
on television. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff also alleges
that Defendant licenses its properties in Florida, including
Full Sail University's JEM Music Convention Events, and a
theme park exhibition at Universal, Orlando. Id.
further alleges that Defendant is the parent company for
Hasbro International Inc., which has various subsidiaries,
including one based in Miami, Hasbro Latin American Inc.
Id. ¶ 21. The various subsidiaries of Hasbro
International Inc. employ approximately 300 employees in West
Palm Beach, Jacksonville, and Miami. Additionally, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant is a foreign profit corporation entity
registered in Florida, doing business under its own name and
through affiliates and subsidiaries in Florida. Id.
filed the instant Motion to Dismiss raising various
arguments, including that this Court lacks jurisdiction over
the Defendant. Doc. 45. Because this issue is dispositive,
the Court will constrain its analysis to the jurisdictional
to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction are governed by
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). A court must
dismiss an action against a defendant over which it lacks
personal jurisdiction. Posner v. Essex Ins. Co., 178
F.3d 1209, 1214, n. 6 (11th Cir. 1999). To withstand a motion
to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead sufficient facts to
establish a prima facie case of jurisdiction over
the non-resident defendant. Id. at 1214. The
district court must accept the facts alleged in the complaint
as true, to the extent they are uncontroverted by the
defendant's affidavits. Madara v. Hall, 916 F.2d
1510, 1514 (11th Cir. 1990). If the defendant is able to
refute personal jurisdiction by sustaining its burden of
challenging the plaintiff's allegations through
affidavits or other competent evidence, the plaintiff must
substantiate its jurisdictional allegations through
affidavits, testimony, or other evidence of its own.
Future Tech. Today, Inc. v. OSF Healthcare Sys., 218
F.3d 1247, 1249 (11th Cir. 2000). Where the plaintiff's
complaint and the defendant's affidavits conflict, the
district court must construe all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. Madara, 916 F.2d at 1514.
question of whether personal jurisdiction exists over a
non-resident defendant is answered through a two-step
analysis. Internet Sol. Corp. v. Marshall, 557 F.3d
1293, 1295 (11th Cir. 2009). First, the court must determine
whether the plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to subject
the defendant to the forum state's long-arm statute.
Future Tech. Today, 218 F.3d at 1249. Second, if the
court determines that the forum state's long-arm statute
has been satisfied, the court must then decide whether the
exercise of jurisdiction comports with the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States
Constitution. Id. The Due Process Clause is
satisfied if the defendant has “minimum contacts”
with the forum state and “the exercise of . . .
jurisdiction over [the] defendant” does not
“offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.' ” Id. (quoting
Int'l Shoe v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316
types of personal jurisdiction exist: general and specific.
Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564
U.S. 915, 919 (2011).
court may assert general jurisdiction over foreign
(sister-state or foreign-country) corporations to hear any
and all claims against them when their affiliations with the
State are so ‘continuous and systematic' as to
render them essentially at home in the forum State.”
Id. Thus, for corporations, general jurisdiction
exists in the equivalent of that corporation's domicile-a
place where the corporation is fairly regarded as at home.
Brown, 564 U.S. at 924. “The
‘paradigm' forums in which a corporate defendant is
‘at home' . . . are the corporation's place of
incorporation and its principal place of business.”
BNSF Ry. Co. v. Tyrell, 137 S.Ct. 1549, 1558 (2017)
(quoting Daimler A.G. v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 138
(2014)). Nonetheless, general jurisdiction is not limited to
such forums and may ...