Battles with a Truck Company of Personal Jurisdiction in Maryland
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE CITY, MARYLAND
STEVE JOHNSON, et al.,
MINNESOTA TRUCKING, et al.,
CASE NO.: 24-C-05-007073Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiffs, Steve Johnson and Susan Johnson, by and through their attorneys, Ronald V. Miller, Jr. and Miller & Zois, LLC, oppose the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Minnesota Trucking and Dennis Sing (collectively, for purpose of this motion “Defendants”) and requests that Defendants motion be denied. In the alternative, Plaintiffs request the opportunity to conduct jurisdictional discovery to determine more information about the specifics of Defendants’ contacts with Maryland in general and specifically with this transaction. In support, Plaintiffs state as follows:
- Background and Law
- General Jurisdiction
- Specific Jurisdiction
Plaintiffs’ Complaint alleges that these Defendants among other Defendants, negligently caused injury to Plaintiff Steve Johnson (“Plaintiff” for the purpose of this motion) when steel trusses fell on Mr. Johnson on August 12, 2013.
Defendants concede to regular contract with forum state in the affidavits attached to their motion to dismiss. Defendants admit to four or five deliveries a year in Maryland. There are also allegations that Defendants drove to Plaintiff’s employer in Maryland and received instructions from Plaintiff’s employer regarding how the cargo should be loaded and unloaded and other details that relate to acts or omissions in Maryland that may have caused Plaintiff’s injuries.
To determine if a basis for personal jurisdiction exists, the court should resolve factual discrepancies in the complaint and affidavits in favor of the plaintiff. Crane v. New York Zoological Soc, 894 F.2d 454, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1990). Court are not hesitant to grant jurisdictional discovery to flush out questions of personal jurisdiction. See Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique v. Chi Mei, 395 F.3d 1315 (2005) (finding district court abused its discretion in denying the plaintiff’s request for jurisdictional discovery. See also Chesapeake Publishing Corp. v. Williams, 339 Md. 285 (1995) (federal district court granted venue discovery); Presbyterian Univ. Hosp. v. Wilson, 99 Md. App. 305 (1994).
Plaintiffs believe that Defendants have engaged in regular systematic business in Maryland based on the admissions offered in their affidavits. As set forth above, Defendants admit to what Plaintiffs contend constitutes the regular conduct of business in Maryland. Defendants admit Mr. Sing and Minnesota Trucking that he had four or five deliveries a year in Maryland. To the extent that this Court disagrees, Plaintiffs request the opportunity to conduct discovery to allow Plaintiffs to fully understand Defendants general contacts with Maryland on a level playing field as opposed to merely the facts offered in these affidavits.
While Plaintiff’s accident occurred in Virginia, his claims against Defendants involve acts and omissions that occurred in Maryland. Specifically, the allegation in this case is that Defendants received and failed to heed instructions given in Maryland regarding the unloading of the steel trusses that caused Plaintiff’s injury. This allegation is made both by Plaintiffs and by independent witnesses at the scene. See Exhibit A, Affidavit of Steve Johnson and Exhibit B Employee Incident and Injury Shirley Contracting Job Springfield Interchange August 12, 2013. Accordingly, Plaintiffs request that this Court conclude that these allegations amount to specific jurisdiction over Defendants. In the alternative, Plaintiffs request jurisdictional discovery to uncover more detail about Defendants contacts in Maryland on the date of this accident.
Plaintiffs request that Defendants Minnesota Trucking and Dennis Sing’s motion to dismiss be denied. In the alternative, Plaintiffs request sixty (60) days to depose Defendants to determine the extent of their general contacts with Maryland and their contacts that are specific to the instant case.
MILLER & ZOIS, LLC
Ronald V. Miller, Jr.
1 South St, #2450
Baltimore, MD 21202
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