United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT BOYD
GAMING CORPORATION'S MOTION TO DISMISS 
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on Defendant Boyd Gaming
Corporation's Motion to Dismiss , which is fully
briefed. After review of the Motion, the record, and relevant
legal authority, the Court finds that because it possesses
personal jurisdiction over Defendant Boyd Gaming Corporation,
the Motion is not well taken and should be denied.
Facts and procedural history
matter arises out of an incident that occurred on June 29,
2016, while Plaintiff Mary Alice Gardache
(“Plaintiff”) was a guest staying at the Imperial
Palace Casino Resort Spa (“IP”) in Biloxi,
Mississippi, with her daughter Denise. Compl. [1-2] at 7-13.
Plaintiff claims that, at the invitation of Defendant Boyd
Gaming Corporation (“Boyd Gaming”), she had
traveled from Mobile, Alabama, “for the purpose of
entertainment and lodging” as a business invitee.
Id. 5, 11. Plaintiff, “a seventy-two-year-old
disabled woman with only one leg who was permanently confined
to a wheel chair, ” alleges that although she had
previously made a reservation for a handicapped-accessible
room, upon arrival she was assigned Room 418 which lacked a
handicapped-accessible toilet. Id. at 10-12. After
notifying the front desk of the problem, IP employees
installed a “booster seat” on the toilet.
Id. When Plaintiff later attempted to use the
booster seat, it allegedly slid off the toilet, causing her
to fall against the adjacent marble sink and suffer
“numerous painful and substantial lacerations, bruises
and other bodily injuries, including gruesome lacerations to
her throat, chin, head, legs[, ] and arms.”
Id. at 12.
February 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint [2-1] in the
Circuit Court of Harrison County, Mississippi, Second
Judicial District, advancing causes of action against
Defendants Boyd Biloxi, L.L.C. (“Boyd Biloxi”)
and Boyd Gaming (jointly “Defendants”) for: (1)
Negligence and/or gross negligence; (2) res ipsa loquitor;
(3) negligence per se; (4) violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”); (5) respondeat
superior; and (6) joint venture/partnership/co-principals.
Id. at 13-29. The Complaint seeks actual
compensatory damages for, among other things, severe physical
injuries, medical treatment, past and future physical pain
and suffering, and emotional distress. Id. at 29-33.
The Complaint also seeks pre- and post- judgment interest at
the rate of 8% per annum and an award of punitive damages.
Id. at 30-33. Finally, Plaintiff requests
declaratory and injunctive relief ordering Defendants to
comply with all provisions of the ADA, together with an award
of attorneys' fees. Id. Defendants removed the
case to this Court, invoking federal question jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Defendant Boyd Gaming Corporation's Motion to Dismiss
Boyd Gaming has now filed a Motion to Dismiss  pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), claiming the Court
lacks personal jurisdiction over it. Mot.  at 1. Boyd Gaming
contends that it does not have the requisite minimum contacts
with the State of Mississippi to satisfy Mississippi's
long-arm statute or the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment to the United States Constitution. Mem. in Supp.
 at 2. Boyd Gaming contends that Defendant Boyd Biloxi
purchased the IP in 2011, and since that time Boyd Biloxi has
maintained a separate corporate structure and separate bank
accounts, has solely owned and operated the IP, and is solely
responsible for the IP's compliance with the ADA. Boyd
Gaming's Motion further asserts that Boyd Biloxi is Boyd
Gaming's wholly owned subsidiary, and that Boyd
Biloxi's contacts with Mississippi cannot be attributed
to Boyd Gaming, which is a Nevada corporation. Mot.  at 1;
Gugino Aff. [5-1] at 1-3.
Response  contends that personal jurisdiction over Boyd
Gaming comports with the long-arm statute because Boyd Gaming
is registered to do business with Mississippi's Secretary
of State, has maintained a certificate of authority to do
business in Mississippi, and has a registered agent for
service of process in Mississippi. Plaintiff cites Read
v. Sonat Offshore Drilling, Inc., 515 So.2d 1229 (Miss.
1987), to support her position. Resp. in Opp'n  at 3-4;
Mem. in Opp'n  at 3-5. Plaintiff maintains that Boyd
Gaming falls within the purview of Mississippi's long-arm
statute and is subject to this Court's personal
jurisdiction for the additional reasons that it: (1) made
direct advertising contact with Plaintiff and solicited her
to travel to Mississippi to visit the IP; (2) maintains a
Management Agreement with Boyd Biloxi for the operation of
the IP; (3) maintains advertisements for, and web links to,
book hotel rooms and/or other services at Boyd Biloxi through
the Boyd Gaming website; (4) caused Plaintiff to suffer
injuries in Mississippi; and (5) investigated and responded
to Plaintiff's notice of claim, which was mailed to Boyd
Biloxi, on Boyd Gaming's letterhead through Donna Tirona,
Claims Administrator for Boyd Gaming's Risk Management
Department. Resp. in Opp'n  at 1-5.
reply, Boyd Gaming argues that: (1) as a general rule passive
advertising on a website is not sufficient to establish
jurisdiction; (2) the Fifth Circuit has held that merely
registering to do business and appointing an agent for
service of process does not automatically confer personal
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant; and (3) there is
no proof that Boyd Gaming “jointly” operated the
IP Casino with Boyd Biloxi. Reply  at 1-12.
Personal jurisdiction and Rule 12(b)(2)
a court finds it lacks personal jurisdiction, it may dismiss
the action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(2).” Herman v. Cataphora, Inc., 730 F.3d
460, 466 (5th Cir. 2013). “[T]he party seeking to
invoke the power of the court . . . bears the burden of
establishing jurisdiction but is required to present only
prima facie evidence.” Pervasive Software, Inc. v.
Lexware GMBH & Co. KG, 688 F.3d 214, 219 (5th Cir.
2012) (quotation omitted). “In determining whether a
prima facie case exists, this Court must accept as true [the
Plaintiff's] uncontroverted allegations, and resolve in
[its] favor all conflicts between the [jurisdictional] facts
contained in the parties' affidavits and other
documentation.” Id. at 219-20 (quotation
omitted); Revell v. Lidov, 317 F.3d 467, 469 (5th
Cir. 2002) (“In considering a motion to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction a district court may consider
affidavits, interrogatories, depositions, oral testimony, or
any combination of the recognized methods of
discovery.”) (quotation omitted)).
cases arising under federal question jurisdiction, unless
otherwise provided by federal law, the exercise of personal
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant is limited by the
forum state's long-arm statute and the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment. Gardner v. Clark, 101
F.Supp.2d 468, 474 (N.D. Miss. 2000) (citing Omni Capital
Int'l v. Rudolf Wolff & Co., 484 U.S. 97, 104-05
(1987)). If Mississippi law does not support the exercise of