Anguillan Resort Subject to Personal Jurisdiction Due to Failure to File Affidavits in Support of its Motion to Dismiss

The World in U.S. Courts: Spring 2014 - Personal Jurisdiction | February.19.2014

Barriere v. Cap Juluca, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, February 19, 2014

Defendant, Cap Juluca, an Anguillan corporation that manages a hotel resort in Anguilla, moved to quash service of the complaint on it for personal injury claims on grounds of a lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiffs Aimee Barriere and her husband were guests of a Cap Juluca resort when Mrs. Barriere allegedly slipped and fell on wet tiles on a staircase. Neither the Barrieres nor Cap Juluca filed additional affidavits, testimony, or documents, and the U.S. District Court in Florida was forced to rely solely on the allegations in the complaint to determine whether the court had jurisdiction over the resort. Because Cap Juluca failed to raise with such materials a "meritorious" personal jurisdiction defense required under Eleventh Circuit precedent, the court accepted as true Barrieres’ allegation that Cap Juluca maintains a sales office in Florida and has a Florida-based agent. Furthermore, the Barrieres alleged that Cap Juluca contracts with a U.S. company to promote and manage U.S. reservation services for the resort. The court held these contacts were sufficient to find that Cap Juluca was "at home" in Florida and therefore establish general personal jurisdiction, because a "contrary result would effectively permit foreign corporations to freely solicit and accept business from Americans in the United States and at the same time be completely shielded from any liability in U.S. courts." [Editor’s note: The Barrierre case takes a very expansive view of the general personal jurisdiction rule established by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman. It is clear that the appropriate standard to be applied remains unsettled.]

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