United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
PROGRESSIVE COUNTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, as Subrogee of Malcolm Huston PLAINTIFF
THE GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY DEFENDANT
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR STAY AND
GUIROLA, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT are the  Motion for Discovery and  Motion
for Stay of Proceedings filed by Plaintiff Progressive County
Mutual Insurance Company in this products liability case.
Defendant The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has filed
responses to Progressive's Motions, and Progressive has
informed the Court that it will not file replies.
Accordingly, the Motions are fully briefed. The Court finds
that jurisdictional discovery is not warranted.
Progressive's Motion will be denied, and it will be
granted a period of time to file a response to Goodyear's
pending dismissal motion.
alleges that a tire manufactured by Goodyear and affixed to
an insured's recreational vehicle failed while the
vehicle was being driven on Interstate 59 near Lumberton,
Mississippi. The tire failure caused the vehicle to leave the
highway and hit a tree. Progressive - a Texas corporation -
seeks recovery from Goodyear - an Ohio corporation - of $226,
462.58 in policy benefits it paid to its insured. The
Complaint alleges products liability claims of manufacturing
defect, failure to warn, design defect, breach of express and
implied warranties, and negligence.
seeks dismissal of the claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(2) in a pending motion, contending that this Court
cannot exercise personal jurisdiction over it. Goodyear
acknowledges that it does business in Mississippi, but Ohio
is where it is “at home” because it is
incorporated and has its principle place of business there.
Goodyear argues that the tire failure at issue has no
connection with the business it conducts in Mississippi,
because the tire was not designed, manufactured, purchased,
or attached to the vehicle in Mississippi. Progressive has
not filed a response to the Motion to Dismiss, contending
that a stay for jurisdictional discovery is necessary before
it can respond.
party seeks jurisdictional discovery, he must first make
“a preliminary showing of jurisdiction.”
Fielding v. Hubert Burda Media, Inc., 415 F.3d 419,
429 (5th Cir. 2005). This showing requires “factual
allegations that suggest with reasonable particularity the
possible existence of the requisite” facts.
Id. (quoting Toys “R” Us, Inc. v.
Step Two, S.A., 318 F.3d 446, 456 (3d Cir. 2003)). When
the factual bases for jurisdiction are actually disputed,
“the court may receive interrogatories, depositions, or
‘any combination of the recognized methods of
discovery' to help it resolve the jurisdictional
issue.” Walk Haydel & Assocs., Inc. v. Coastal
Power Prod. Co., 517 F.3d 235, 241 (5th Cir. 2008)
(quoting Thompson v. Chrysler Motors Corp., 755 F.2d
1162, 1165 (5th Cir. 1985)). The parties opposing dismissal
and seeking discovery “bear the burden of demonstrating
the necessity of discovery.” Monkton Ins. Servs.,
Ltd. v. Ritter, 768 F.3d 429, 434 (5th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Davila v. United States, 713 F.3d 248, 264
(5th Cir. 2013)). “When the lack of personal
jurisdiction is clear, discovery would serve no purpose and
should not be permitted. Discovery need not be afforded where
the discovery sought could not have added any significant
facts.” Hazim v. Schiel & Denver Book
Publishers, 647 Fed.Appx. 455, 460 (5th Cir. 2016)
(citations and quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, the
Court looks to Progressive's preliminary showing of
jurisdiction. Progressive does not explicitly say so, but its
request for discovery appears focused on an attempt to show
this Court's specific jurisdiction over
Goodyear. The specific jurisdictional inquiry
focuses on whether the defendant has sufficient minimum
contacts with the forum and whether the plaintiff's cause
of action arises out of or relates to those forum-related
contacts. Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 284 (2014).
In the case of specific jurisdiction, due process requires
(1) minimum contacts by the defendant purposefully directed
at the forum state, (2) a nexus between the defendant's
contacts and the plaintiff's claims, and (3) that the
exercise of jurisdiction be fair and reasonable. ITL
Int'l, Inc. v. Constenla, S.A., 669 F.3d
493, 498 (5th Cir. 2012).
submitted the following facts and evidence to establish
Goodyear's minimum contacts with Mississippi, including:
(1) Goodyear is authorized to do business in the State of
Mississippi and has a registered agent for service in
Mississippi; (2) Goodyear operates auto service centers in at
least seven cities across Mississippi and is licensed to do
so in four of the cities; (3) Goodyear's products and
services are sold to Mississippi residents at its auto
service centers and in other locations; (4) the tire at issue
in this case is available for purchase in Mississippi; (5)
Goodyear has real estate interests and likely many employees
in Mississippi; and (6) through Goodyear's website,
Mississippi residents can find information about Goodyear
products and schedule services at local service centers.
wishes to discover more facts of this type. Specifically,
ownership or leasing of real estate in Mississippi, ownership
and/or operation of service centers in Mississippi, marketing
and advertising practices in Mississippi, sale and
distribution of the tire model at issue in this case, sale
and distribution of other products in Mississippi, employment
in Mississippi, employment outside of Mississippi with
specific job duties in or focused in Mississippi, sales staff
in and/or directed at Mississippi, sales of Entegra Coach RVs
equipped with Goodyear tires in Mississippi, other vehicles
sold in Mississippi installed with new Goodyear tires, and
business licenses in Mississippi.
(Pl. Mem. in Support Mot. Jurisdictional Discovery 5, ECF No.
20.) The facts Progressive has set out above, and those it
seeks to discover, make it clear that Goodyear has
deliberately targeted the State of Mississippi and
purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting
business activities within the State of Mississippi wholly
outside of Goodyear's relationship with Progressive's
insured. The “minimum contacts” prong of the
specific jurisdiction analysis is thus satisfied.
Progressive's facts, and those it seeks to discover, do
not address the second prong of the specific jurisdiction
analysis, which requires “a nexus between the
defendant's contacts and the plaintiff's
claims.” ITL Int'l, Inc., 669 F.3d at 498.
The “nexus” requisite for specific jurisdiction
is established when the plaintiff's cause of action
“arises out of” or is “related to”
the defendant's forum contacts. Pervasive Software
Inc. v. Lexware GmbH & Co. KG, 688 F.3d
214, 221 (5th Cir. 2012).
has provided evidence that the tire was neither designed nor
manufactured in Mississippi, (Mot. to Dism. Ex. C, ECF No.
16-3), and the recreational vehicle was purchased,
registered, and titled in Texas. (Id., Ex. B.) None
of the discovery proposed by Progressive, or the facts
alleged so far, demonstrate a meaningful connection between
Progressive's injury and Goodyear's Mississippi
contacts. The mere fact that Progressive's injury
occurred in Mississippi does not, by itself, create specific
jurisdiction over Goodyear in Mississippi. See Irvin v.
So. Snow Mfg., Inc., 517 Fed.Appx. 229, 232 (5th Cir.
2013) (citing Seiferth v. Helicopteros Atuneros,
Inc., 472 F.3d 266, 273 (5th Cir. 2006)). That Goodyear
sells this same type of tire in Mississippi, without more, is
insufficient to find that Progressive's claims
“relate to” such sales. Progressive does not
allege that its insured purchased the recreational vehicle
(with attached Goodyear tires) in Mississippi, and there is
no evidence that Progressive's injuries otherwise arose
out of the sale of Goodyear tires in Mississippi. The only
connection between Mississippi and this Goodyear tire is that