SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA - Alabama Appellate Watch

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SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA - Alabama Appellate Watch
REL:
06/24/2011
Notice: T h i s o p i n i o n i s s u b j e c t t o f o r m a l r e v i s i o n b e f o r e p u b l i c a t i o n i n t h e advance
s h e e t s o f Southern R e p o r t e r . R e a d e r s a r e r e q u e s t e d t o n o t i f y t h e R e p o r t e r o f D e c i s i o n s ,
A l a b a m a A p p e l l a t e C o u r t s , 300 D e x t e r A v e n u e , M o n t g o m e r y , A l a b a m a 3 6 1 0 4 - 3 7 4 1
((334)
2 2 9 - 0 6 4 9 ) , o f a n y t y p o g r a p h i c a l o r o t h e r e r r o r s , i n o r d e r t h a t c o r r e c t i o n s may b e made
b e f o r e t h e o p i n i o n i s p r i n t e d i n Southern R e p o r t e r .
SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA
OCTOBER TERM,
2010-2011
1090356
Branded T r a i l e r
Sales, Inc.
v.
Universal Truckload Services, Inc.
Appeal
WISE,
Justice.
The
appeals
granting
a
Court
1
plaintiff,
from
from T u s c a l o o s a C i r c u i t
(CV-09-900065)
a
Branded
judgment
motion
Trailer
Sales,
I n c . ("Branded"),
of the Tuscaloosa
to dismiss
asserting
Circuit
lack
of
Court,
personal
T h i s case was o r i g i n a l l y a s s i g n e d t o a n o t h e r J u s t i c e o n
t h i s Court.
I t was r e a s s i g n e d t o J u s t i c e W i s e on J a n u a r y 1 9 ,
2011.
1
1090356
jurisdiction
Truckload
filed
by
Services,
one
of
Inc.
the
defendants,
("Universal").
We
Universal
reverse
and
remand.
Facts
In
its
Branded
customer
a
wind
towers
wind
a
for
towers;
3
Michigan
subsequently
in
late
Branded
that
and
that
that
were
about
was
or
early
having
in
the
that
specially
Branded
Branded
Liddell
underlying
April
flatbed
business
Universal
action,
2008,
Universal
of
hauling
needed
manufactured
subsequently
to
to
haul
contacted
corporation; Universal
further
Trailers,
alleged
LLC
a
trailers
wind towers; that
Branded i s a L o u i s i a n a
corporation.
the
March
customer;
that
contacted
History
instituting
company
trailers
Universal.
Procedural
manufactured to haul
trucking
purchase
that,
contacted
d e s i g n e d and
was
complaint
alleged
2
and
that
is
i t
("Liddell"),
In
i t s brief
to t h i s
Court, Universal
asserts
that
subsequent d i s c o v e r y i n the case, i n v o l v i n g another defendant,
L i d d e l l T r a i l e r s , L L C , i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e c u s t o m e r was G e n e r a l
E l e c t r i c Company.
2
Branded's subsequent pleadings
and
the
affidavit i t
s u b m i t t e d i n support of those p l e a d i n g s i n c l u d e d a l l e g a t i o n s
that Universal
initiated
contact
with
B r a n d e d and
asked
B r a n d e d t o l o c a t e a company t h a t w o u l d d e s i g n and m a n u f a c t u r e
f l a t b e d t r a i l e r s to haul wind towers.
3
2
1090356
which
i s
an
Alabama
manufacturers
of
manufacturing
such
corporation,
trailers
about
specialized
and
the cost
several
other
of designing
trailers;
that
i t presented
Universal with several different options; that Universal
Liddell
to
design
Branded
entered
and
into
that
Liddell
would
cost
to Branded
that
i tentered
that Universal
a
manufacture
contract
design
with
trailers;
Liddell
and manufacture
o f $168,680
into
the
each.
a contract
and
that
that
alleged
provided
the f i r s t
to order
two t r a i l e r s
t o be d e l i v e r e d t o U n i v e r s a l b y t h e f i r s t week o f A u g u s t
notified
alleged
Branded
that,
that
the
"[s]oon
cost
of
thereafter,"
the
trailers
increased,
that
the completion date f o r the t r a i l e r s
extended,
and
that
accordance
with
also
alleged
agreement
further
i t would
the previously
that
Universal
to purchase
alleged
that
not
build
the
a g r e e d upon
from
i t subsequently learned
3
2008.
Liddell
would
that
be
w o u l d be
in
Branded
terminated
Branded.
up
were
trailers
design.
subsequently
the t r a i l e r s
at a
from i ta t a p r i c e
of $244,465.84 e a c h ; t h a t U n i v e r s a l had the o p t i o n
Branded
that
provided
further
Universal
w o u l d p u r c h a s e two t r a i l e r s
t o e i g h t more t r a i l e r s ; a n d t h a t
chose
the t r a i l e r s
Branded
with
and
the
Branded
Universal
1090356
and
Liddell
entered
into
an
agreement
U n i v e r s a l would purchase d i r e c t l y
had
agreed
Liddell
to
design
excluded
and
from L i d d e l l
manufacture;
Branded
d e l i v e r e d the f i r s t
pursuant
from
the
a sales
transaction.
On
February
based
2,
Tuscaloosa C i r c u i t
had
each
2009,
relationship
Defendant,
without
relating
to
Liddell
had
Commission
the
the
Branded
Branded
filed
interfered
between
trailers
violated
more
the
to
make
Liddell
through
because
i t
t h e two
"innocently,
recklessly
i t would manufacture
t o be p u r c h a s e d b y U n i v e r s a l
through
4
the
Liddell
and
the
the
other
transaction
rewarding"; that
Representatives
i n fraud because i t
misrepresented that
(2) t r a i l e r s t o b e
[Branded]"; that Liddell
misrepresented that
the
Sales
r e c k l e s s l y or i n t e n t i o n a l l y
would purchase
and
financially
Alabama
receive
and
contract
[Branded]
justification,
December
complaint i n
with
A c t ; t h a t U n i v e r s a l had engaged
"innocently,
a
and
Liddell
d i d not
Court, a l l e g i n g that Universal
"intentionally
business
it
on
that
i n late
that
commission
Universal
agreement;
2008 o r e a r l y J a n u a r y 2 0 0 9 ; a n d
which
the t r a i l e r s i t
that
two t r a i l e r s t o U n i v e r s a l
to
manufactured
had engaged
or
t h e two
in
by
fraud
intentionally
(2) t r a i l e r s
[Branded]"; that
Liddell
1090356
b r e a c h e d i t s c o n t r a c t w i t h B r a n d e d when i t d i d n o t d e l i v e r t h e
trailers;
and
that
Universal
B r a n d e d when i t r e f u s e d
breached
to purchase the t r a i l e r s
On M a r c h 2 3 , 2 0 0 9 , U n i v e r s a l
R.
Civ.
P.,
jurisdiction.
support
from
motion
On
May
to
Universal.
Peterson,
28, 2009,
In that
the
filed
dismiss
of i t s motion to dismiss
Mike
i t s contract
for
from Branded.
12(b)(2), A l a .
lack
Universal
of
filed
and a supporting
director
affidavit,
a Rule
of
Peterson
Risk
personal
a brief i n
affidavit
Management f o r
stated:
"3. [ U n i v e r s a l ] i s a p r i m a r i l y n o n - a s s e t b a s e d
provider of transportation services to shippers i n
the U n i t e d States and i n the Canadian p r o v i n c e s o f
O n t a r i o and Quebec.
[ U n i v e r s a l ] ' s headquarters and
corporate
and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e f u n c t i o n s a r e l o c a t e d
i n Warren, M i c h i g a n .
"4.
[Universal]
i s a business
corporation
organized,
incorporated,
and e x i s t i n g p u r s u a n t t o
the laws o f t h e S t a t e o f M i c h i g a n .
[Universal] i s
not
registered
or q u a l i f i e d
t o do b u s i n e s s i n
Alabama as a f o r e i g n c o r p o r a t i o n , does n o t have any
r e g i s t e r e d agent i n Alabama, and does n o t m a i n t a i n
any o f f i c e s i n Alabama.
"5.
[Universal]
does n o t have any o f f i c e r s ,
employees, o r d i r e c t o r s l i v i n g i n Alabama.
"6.
business
Alabama,
solicit
state of
[ U n i v e r s a l ] d o e s n o t h a v e a n y a g e n t s t h a t do
i n Tuscaloosa County or i n the state of
and does n o t have any a g e n t s t h a t r e g u l a r l y
business i n Tuscaloosa County or i n the
Alabama.
5
with
1090356
"7. [ U n i v e r s a l ] d o e s n o t c o n d u c t a n y b u s i n e s s i n
T u s c a l o o s a C o u n t y o r i n t h e s t a t e o f Alabama on a
regular
basis,
does
n o t have
any customers i n
A l a b a m a f o r whom i t r e g u l a r l y p e r f o r m s a n y w o r k o r
services,
and does
not regularly
transport
or
deliver
any goods, products,
o r equipment
into
Alabama f o r any o f i t scustomer.
real
" 8 . [ U n i v e r s a l ] d o e s n o t own, r e n t , o r l e a s e a n y
o r p e r s o n a l p r o p e r t y i n Alabama.
"9. [ U n i v e r s a l ] d o e s n o t m a i n t a i n a n y o f f i c e s o r
p l a c e s o f b u s i n e s s i n Alabama, and does n o t have o r
m a i n t a i n any assets i n Alabama.
"10. [ U n i v e r s a l ] d o e s n o t m a i n t a i n a n y t e l e p h o n e
numbers
i n Alabama,
and does
not maintain
any
f a c s i m i l e numbers i n Alabama.
"11.
[Universal]
does n o t m a i n t a i n
accounts o r b u s i n e s s records i n Alabama.
any
bank
"12. I h a v e r e v i e w e d i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g t h e
allegations
of the complaint
filed
by Branded
T r a i l e r Sales and the business records
related to
those a l l e g a t i o n s .
B a s e d o n my r e v i e w o f t h a t
i n f o r m a t i o n , I c a n make t h e f o l l o w i n g s t a t e m e n t s o n
behalf of [Universal].
"13.
No
meetings
occurred
between
r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f [Universal] and r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s
of Branded T r a i l e r S a l e s i n Alabama.
" 1 4 . No r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f [ U n i v e r s a l ]
placed
any t e l e p h o n e c a l l s t o B r a n d e d T r a i l e r S a l e s o r i t s
r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s i n A l a b a m a , o r made a n y s u c h c a l l s
from Alabama.
" 1 5 . No r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f [ U n i v e r s a l ] s e n t a n y
f a c s i m i l e correspondence t o Branded T r a i l e r Sales or
its representatives
i n Alabama, o r sent any such
correspondence from Alabama.
6
1090356
" 1 6 . No r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f [ U n i v e r s a l ] s e n t a n y
email correspondence to Branded T r a i l e r Sales or i t s
representatives
i n Alabama,
or
sent
any
such
correspondence from Alabama.
" 1 7 . No r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f [ U n i v e r s a l ] h a d a n y
dealings
with
Branded
Trailer
Sales
or i t s
r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s t h a t t o o k p l a c e i n Alabama, o r were
otherwise d i r e c t e d a t Alabama.
"18.
[Universal] d i d not enter into contracts
w i t h Branded T r a i l e r S a l e s , Inc., i n Alabama, o r any
c o n t r a c t s t h a t were t o be p e r f o r m e d i n A l a b a m a .
" T h e r e f o r e , B r a n d e d h a s n o t shown t h a t U n i v e r s a l
i t s e l f has s u f f i c i e n t g e n e r a l c o n t a c t s w i t h Alabama
to e s t a b l i s h personal j u r i s d i c t i o n . "
On M a y 2 9 , 2 0 0 9 , B r a n d e d
motion t o dismiss,
filed
as w e l l as a motion t o s t r i k e
Peterson's a f f i d a v i t ; i t also f i l e d
56(f),
A l a . R. C i v . P., a s k i n g
motion
to dismiss
it
response,
Ostrander.
i t s b r i e f and
a motion pursuant to Rule
the court
to treat
Universal's
a s one f o r a summary j u d g m e n t a n d t o a l l o w
t o conduct a d d i t i o n a l discovery.
2009,
a response t o Universal's
Branded
attached
In h i s affidavit,
I n s u p p o r t o f i t s May 2 9 ,
an
Ostrander
affidavit
from
Wayne
stated:
" 1 . My name i s Wayne O s t r a n d e r a n d I am o v e r 1 9
years o f age. I work f o r Branded T r a i l e r Sales and
I
have p e r s o n a l
knowledge
of the facts
stated
herein.
"2.
[Universal]
contacted
[Branded]
and
requested
that
[Branded]
find
a
company
to
manufacture a t r a i l e r
to certain specifications.
7
1090356
A f t e r [Branded] p r e s e n t e d [ U n i v e r s a l ] w i t h
several
options,
[Universal]
chose L i d d e l l
Trailers,
LLC
('Liddell') to build the t r a i l e r s .
" 3 . L i d d e l l i s a company r e g i s t e r e d i n A l a b a m a
with
i t s principle
[ s i c ]place
of business i n
S p r i n g v i l l e , AL.
"4. P u r s u a n t t o t h e a g r e e m e n t b e t w e e n L i d d e l l ,
[Branded], and [ U n i v e r s a l ] , L i d d e l l would b u i l d t h e
t r a i l e r s i n Alabama.
"5.
Liddell
and
[Universal]
both
informed
[Branded] t h a t t h e y would n o t u p h o l d t h e i r
existing
agreements.
[Branded]
later
learned
that
[Universal] agreed t o purchase and L i d d e l l agreed t o
manufacture
the
trailers,
thereby
excluding
[Branded].
"6. I n o r d e r
to
[Universal]
had t o
numerous t i m e s .
The
this
complaint
was
Alabama.
facilitate this later
deal,
make
contact
with
Alabama
w r o n g d o i n g made t h e b a s i s o f
therefore
projected
toward
"7.
At the completion
of the deal
between
[ U n i v e r s a l ] and L i d d e l l , [ U n i v e r s a l ] took possession
of t h e t r a i l e r s i n Alabama."
In
Branded's
Rule
had
f i l e d a motion
the
motion t o dismiss
then
5 6 ( f ) motion,
to strike
Branded
Universal's
and t o s t r i k e
brief
Peterson's
stated
that i t
i n support of
affidavit.
stated:
"In the event that t h i s Court denied
[Branded]'s
motion t o s t r i k e [ U n i v e r s a l ] ' s b r i e f and a f f i d a v i t ,
filed
contemporaneously
hereto,
and
treats
[Universal]'s motion t o dismiss
as a m o t i o n f o r
summary j u d g m e n t , [ B r a n d e d ] w i l l r e q u i r e a d d i t i o n a l
8
I t
1090356
t i m e t o , among o t h e r t h i n g s c o n d u c t d i s c o v e r y
and
o p p o s e [ U n i v e r s a l ] ' s m o t i o n f o r summary
judgment.
P a r t i c u l a r l y , [Branded] would r e q u i r e t i m e t o depose
t h e a f f i a n t whose a f f i d a v i t i s a t t a c h e d t o t h e b r i e f
titled
Defendant
Universal
Truckload
Services,
Inc.'s B r i e f i n Support of i t s Rule 12(b)(2) Motion
to Dismiss f o r Lack of Personal
Jurisdiction."
On
June
Universal's
include
a
Universal
of
motion
court
to dismiss.
of
that
hearing.
a supplemental b r i e f
filed
to
a hearing
the record
On
June
on
does
17,
not
2009,
i n support of i t s motion
from Peterson.
On t h a t
same
a response to Universal's b r i e f i n support
dismiss.
for additional
Branded
conducted
However,
and a s e c o n d a f f i d a v i t
i t s motion
request,
the t r i a l
transcript
Branded
request
2009,
filed
to dismiss
date,
2,
time
That
to
response
conduct
also
discovery.
included
In
stated:
"[I]n
the
event
that
this
Court
determines
s u f f i c i e n t c o n t a c t s have not been demonstrated t o
o v e r c o m e due p r o c e s s , [ B r a n d e d ] a s k s t h a t t h i s c o u r t
allow a d d i t i o n a l time to conduct discovery.
While
this
brief
outlines
numerous
contacts
between
[ U n i v e r s a l ] and Alabama, [Branded] i s c o n f i d e n t t h a t
through
discovery,
i t will
uncover
many
more
c o n t a c t s and be a b l e t o d e s c r i b e s u c h c o n t a c t s i n
greater detail.
As i n t h e c a s e o f Ex p a r t e B u f k i n ,
[ B r a n d e d ] , a t minimum, has ' a t l e a s t a l l e g [ e d ] f a c t s
that
would
support
a
colorable
claim
of
jurisdiction.'
E x p a r t e B u f k i n , 936 S o . 2 d
1042,
1047
(Ala 2006).
Therefore,
'Limited
discovery
could f l e s h out [the p l a i n t i f f ' s ]
a l l e g a t i o n s and
c o u l d l e a d t o a c o n c l u s i o n t h a t t h e t r i a l c o u r t can
9
a
that
1090356
exercise
personal
defendant].'
Id.
jurisdiction
over
[the
"The
Alabama
Supreme C o u r t
has
ruled
that
although
the
plaintiff
bears
the
burden
of
demonstration, the court should a s s i s t the p l a i n t i f f
and a l l o w t h e p l a i n t i f f t o c o n d u c t
jurisdictional
discovery unless their claim i s clearly
frivolous.
I d . , q u o t i n g T o y s 'R' U s , I n c . v . S t e p Two,
S.A.,
318 F . 3 d 4 4 6 , 456 ( 3 d C i r . 2 0 0 3 ) .
"'Although the p l a i n t i f f bears the burden
of
demonstrating
facts
that
support
personal
jurisdiction,
Pinker
[v. Roche
H o l d i n g s L t d . , 292 F . 3 d 3 6 1 , 368 ( 3 r d C i r .
2002)], courts are to a s s i s t the p l a i n t i f f
by a l l o w i n g j u r i s d i c t i o n a l d i s c o v e r y u n l e s s
the
plaintiffs
claim
is
"clearly
f r i v o l o u s , " M a s s a c h u s e t t s S c h o o l o f Law a t
A n d o v e r , I n c . v. A m e r i c a n B a r A s s ' n ,
107
F.3d
1026,
1042
(3d C i r . 1 9 9 7 ) .
If a
p l a i n t i f f presents f a c i a l allegations that
suggest "with reasonable p a r t i c u l a r i t y " the
possible
existence
of
the
requisite
" c o n t a c t s between [ t h e p a r t y ] and t h e f o r u m
state,"
Mellon
Bank
(East)
PSFS, N a t ' l
A s s ' n v . F a r i n o , 960 F . 2 d
1217,
1223
(3d
C i r . 1992), the p l a i n t i f f s r i g h t to conduct
jurisdictional
discovery
should
be
sustained.'
"[Branded]'s
demonstration
of
personal
j u r i s d i c t i o n i s a c c u r a t e and s u f f i c i e n t .
However,
i f t h i s C o u r t r e q u i r e s a d d i t i o n a l c o n t a c t s shown,
s u c h d e f i c i e n c y can be f i l l e d w i t h d e t a i l
through
discovery.
This case f o r p e r s o n a l j u r i s d i c t i o n i s
b y no m e a n s ' c l e a r l y
frivolous.'"
On
June
29,
2009,
the
trial
order:
10
court
entered
the
following
1090356
"On
J u n e 2nd
2009 t h i s
court heard
arguments
on
[Universal's]
motion
to
dismiss
and
[Branded's]
m o t i o n t o s t r i k e b r i e f and a f f i d a v i t .
[Branded]
requested for a continuance
o f t h e h e a r i n g and i t
was
denied.
"This
court hereby denies
[Branded's] motion
to
strike
brief
and
affidavit
and
finds
that
[ U n i v e r s a l ' s ] m o t i o n t o d i s m i s s i s w e l l t a k e n and i s
hereby granted.
"Wherefore,
i t i s hereby Ordered,
Adjudged
and
Decreed that
[Universal's] motion to dismiss
is
g r a n t e d and U n i v e r s a l T r u c k l o a d S e r v i c e s , I n c . i s
hereby dismissed.
This case s h a l l proceed against
the remaining
defendant."
On
July
certifying
This
appeal
29,
2009,
i t s June
29,
the
trial
2009,
court
order
as
entered
a
final
an
order
judgment.
4
followed.
Standards
of
Review
"'"'An a p p e l l a t e c o u r t c o n s i d e r s de n o v o a
t r i a l c o u r t ' s j u d g m e n t on a p a r t y ' s m o t i o n
to
dismiss
for
lack
of
personal
jurisdiction.'"
Ex p a r t e L a g r o n e , 839
So.
2 d 6 2 0 , 623 ( A l a . 2 0 0 2 ) ( q u o t i n g E l l i o t t v .
Van
Kleef,
830
So.
2d
726,
729
(Ala.
2002)).
Moreover, " [ t ] h e p l a i n t i f f
bears
the burden of p r o v i n g the c o u r t ' s p e r s o n a l
j u r i s d i c t i o n over the defendant."
Daynard
v. N e s s , M o t l e y ,
Loadholt,
Richardson
&
Poole,
P.A.,
290
F.3d
42,
50
(1st C i r .
2002).'
The t r i a l c o u r t a l s o noted t h a t Branded's claims a g a i n s t
L i d d e l l w e r e s t i l l p e n d i n g a n d t h a t t h e c a s e w o u l d p r o c e e d as
to those c l a i m s .
4
11
1090356
"Ex p a r t e D i l l , D i l l , C a r r , S t o n b r a k e r & H u t c h i n g s ,
P.C., 866 S o . 2 d 5 1 9 , 525 ( A l a . 2 0 0 3 ) .
"'"In
considering
a
Rule
1 2 ( b ) ( 2 ) , A l a . R. C i v . P., m o t i o n
to d i s m i s s f o r want o f p e r s o n a l
jurisdiction,
a
court
must
c o n s i d e r as t r u e t h e a l l e g a t i o n s
of t h e p l a i n t i f f ' s c o m p l a i n t n o t
c o n t r o v e r t e d by t h e d e f e n d a n t ' s
a f f i d a v i t s , R o b i n s o n v. G i a r m a r c o
& Bill,
P.C., 74 F . 3 d 253 ( 1 1 t h
Cir.
1996),
and
Cable/Home
Communication
Corp.
v. Network
P r o d u c t i o n s , I n c . , 902 F . 2 d 829
(11th
C i r . 1 9 9 0 ) , a n d 'where t h e
plaintiff's
complaint
and
the
defendant's a f f i d a v i t s
conflict,
the
... c o u r t m u s t c o n s t r u e a l l
reasonable inferences i n favor of
the
plaintiff.'
Robinson,
74
F . 3 d a t 255
( q u o t i n g Madara v.
Hall,
916 F . 2 d 1 5 1 0 , 1514 ( 1 1 t h
Cir. 1990))."'
"Wenger T r e e S e r v . v . R o y a l T r u c k & E q u i p . , I n c . ,
853 S o . 2 d 88 8 , 8 94 ( A l a . 2 0 0 2 ) ( q u o t i n g E x p a r t e
M c I n n i s , 820 S o . 2 d 7 9 5 , 798 ( A l a . 2 0 0 1 ) ) .
However,
i f t h e d e f e n d a n t makes a p r i m a f a c i e
evidentiary
s h o w i n g t h a t t h e C o u r t h a s no p e r s o n a l j u r i s d i c t i o n ,
'the p l a i n t i f f i s t h e n r e q u i r e d t o s u b s t a n t i a t e t h e
jurisdictional
allegations
i n the complaint
by
a f f i d a v i t s o r o t h e r c o m p e t e n t p r o o f , a n d he may n o t
merely
reiterate
the f a c t u a l
allegations
i n the
complaint.'
Mercantile
Capital,
LP v. F e d e r a l
T r a n s t e l , I n c . , 193 F. S u p p . 2 d 1 2 4 3 , 1247
(N.D.
Ala.
2 0 0 2 ) ( c i t i n g F u t u r e T e c h . T o d a y , I n c . v . OSF
H e a l t h c a r e S y s . , 218 F . 3 d 1 2 4 7 , 1 2 4 9
(11th C i r .
2000)).
See a l s o H a n s e n v . N e u m u e l l e r GmbH, 163
F.R.D. 4 7 1 , 4 7 4 - 7 5 (D. D e l . 1 9 9 5 ) ( ' W h e n a d e f e n d a n t
f i l e s a m o t i o n t o d i s m i s s p u r s u a n t t o F e d . R. C i v .
P.
12(b)(2),
and
supports
that
motion
with
12
1090356
affidavits,
plaintiff
i s required
to
controvert
t h o s e a f f i d a v i t s w i t h h i s own
affidavits
or
other
competent evidence i n order to s u r v i v e the motion.')
(citing
Time
Share
Vacation
Club
v.
Atlantic
R e s o r t s , L t d . , 735 F . 2 d 6 1 , 63 (3d C i r . 1 9 8 4 ) ) .
"
"'"A
p h y s i c a l presence i n Alabama i s
not a p r e r e q u i s i t e to p e r s o n a l j u r i s d i c t i o n
over a nonresident."
S i e b e r v.
Campbell,
810 So. 2 d 6 4 1 ,
644
( A l a . 2001) . W h a t i s
r e q u i r e d , however, i s t h a t the
defendant
have such c o n t a c t s w i t h Alabama t h a t i t
"'should reasonably a n t i c i p a t e being haled
into court
[ h e r e ] . '" D i l l o n
E q u i t i e s v.
P a l m e r & Cay,
I n c . , 501
So. 2 d 4 5 9 ,
462
( A l a . 1986)
(quoting World-Wide Volkswagen
C o r p . v . W o o d s o n , 444 U.S. 2 8 6 , 2 9 7 , 100 S.
C t . 5 5 9 , 62 L. E d . 2 d 490
(1980)).
"'Depending
on
the
quality
and
q u a n t i t y of the contacts, j u r i s d i c t i o n
may
be e i t h e r g e n e r a l o r s p e c i f i c . L e v e n t h a l v.
H a r r e l s o n , 723 So. 2 d 5 6 6 , 569 ( A l a . 1 9 9 8 ) .
"General
jurisdiction
applies
where
a
defendant's a c t i v i t i e s i n the forum s t a t e
are
'substantial'
or
'continuous
and
systematic,'
r e g a r d l e s s of whether
those
a c t i v i t i e s gave r i s e t o the l a w s u i t
A
court
has
specific
jurisdiction
when
a
d e f e n d a n t has
had
few
contacts with
the
forum s t a t e , but those c o n t a c t s gave r i s e
to the l a w s u i t . " Id.
"'But
regardless
of
whether
j u r i s d i c t i o n i s a l l e g e d t o be g e n e r a l
or
s p e c i f i c , the nexus between the defendant
and t h e f o r u m s t a t e must a r i s e out o f
"'an
action
of
the
defendant
[that
was]
purposefully
d i r e c t e d toward
the
forum
S t a t e . ' " E l l i o t t [ v . V a n K l e e f , 830 S o .
2d
13
1090356
7 2 6 , 731 ( A l a . 2 0 0 2 ) ] ( q u o t i n g A s a h i M e t a l
I n d u s . Co. v. S u p e r i o r C o u r t o f C a l i f o r n i a ,
480 U.S. 1 0 2 , 1 1 2 , 107 S. C t . 1 0 2 6 , 94 L.
Ed.
2d
92
(1987)).
"This
purposeful-availment
requirement
assures
t h a t a d e f e n d a n t w i l l n o t be h a l e d i n t o a
jurisdiction
as
a
result
of
'"the
u n i l a t e r a l a c t i v i t y of another person or a
t h i r d p e r s o n . " ' " E l l i o t t , 830 S o . 2 d a t 731
( q u o t i n g B u r g e r K i n g Corp. v. R u d z e w i c z ,
4 7 1 U.S. 4 6 2 , 4 7 5 , 105 S. C t . 2 1 7 4 , 85 L.
E d . 2 d 528
(1985)).'
"Dill,
Ex
parte
(Ala.
866 S o . 2 d a t 5 2 5 - 2 6
Covington
2004)
Pike
(footnote
Dodge,
(emphasis
I n c . , 904
omitted)."
So.
2d 226,
229-30
omitted).
Discussion
Branded
argues
that
Universal's
motion
to
opportunity
t o conduct
the t r i a l
dismiss
court
without
erred
first
in
giving
j u r i s d i c t i o n a l discovery.
We
granting
i t the
note:
"'"The t r i a l c o u r t h a s b r o a d a n d c o n s i d e r a b l e
d i s c r e t i o n i n c o n t r o l l i n g t h e d i s c o v e r y p r o c e s s and
h a s t h e p o w e r t o m a n a g e i t s a f f a i r s ... t o e n s u r e
the o r d e r l y and e x p e d i t i o u s d i s p o s i t i o n o f cases."'
E x p a r t e V u l c a n M a t e r i a l s C o . , 992 S o . 2 d 1 2 5 2 , 1 2 5 9
( A l a . 2 0 0 8 ) ( q u o t i n g S a l s e r v . K . I . W . I . , S.A.,
591
So.
2 d 4 5 4 , 456
( A l a . 1991)).
'Therefore,
this
Court w i l l not i n t e r f e r e with a t r i a l court's r u l i n g
on
a
discovery
matter
unless
this
Court
"'determines,
b a s e d on a l l t h e f a c t s
that
were
before the t r i a l court, that the t r i a l court c l e a r l y
[exceeded] i t s d i s c r e t i o n . ' " '
I d . ( q u o t i n g Ex p a r t e
H e n r y , 770 S o . 2 d 7 6 , 80 ( A l a . 2 0 0 0 ) , q u o t i n g i n
t u r n E x p a r t e H o r t o n , 711 S o . 2 d 9 7 9 , 983 ( A l a .
1998))."
14
1090356
Brown
v . ABUS
Kransysteme
GmbH,
11
So. 3 d 7 8 8 , 795
(Ala.
2008).
In Ex p a r t e
this
Court
entitled
Bufkin,
addressed
936 S o . 2 d 1 0 4 2 , 1 0 4 7 - 4 8
the issue
to jurisdictional
whether
a
( A l a . 2006),
plaintiff
discovery:
" I n Ex p a r t e T r o n c a l l i C h r y s l e r P l y m o u t h Dodge,
I n c . , [876 So. 2 d 459 ( A l a . 2 0 0 3 ) , ] a c a s e i n v o l v i n g
discovery
on t h e q u e s t i o n
of j u r i s d i c t i o n ,
this
Court s a i d :
" ' " ' I t i swell established that a
c o u r t h a s t h e power t o r e q u i r e a d e f e n d a n t
to respond t o d i s c o v e r y requests r e l e v a n t
to h i s or h e r motion t o dismiss f o rl a c k o f
jurisdiction.'"
Andersen
v. Sportmart,
I n c . , 1 7 9 F.R.D. 2 3 6 , 2 4 1 (N.D. I n d . 1 9 9 8 )
( q u o t i n g E l l i s v . F o r t u n e S e a s , L t d . , 175
F.R.D.
308,
311
( S . D . I n d . 1997 ) ) .
"However, i t i s a l s o w e l l e s t a b l i s h e d t h a t
a p l a i n t i f f d o e s n o t e n j o y an a u t o m a t i c
right to discovery pertaining to personal
j u r i s d i c t i o n i n e v e r y c a s e . " I d . " [ T ] o be
permitted
jurisdictional
discovery,
[a]
p l a i n t i f f must a t l e a s t a l l e g e f a c t s t h a t
would
support
a
colorable
claim
of
j u r i s d i c t i o n . " Schenck v. Walt D i s n e y Co.,
742 F. S u p p . 8 3 8 , 840 n . 1 ( S . D . N.Y. 1 9 9 0 )
(emphasis a d d e d ) . See a l s o E l l i s v . F o r t u n e
S e a s , L t d . , 175 F.R.D. 3 0 8 , 312 ( S . D . I n d .
19 9 7 ) ;
Hansen
v. Neumueller
GmbH, 163
F.R.D. 4 7 1 , 4 7 5 (D. D e l . 1 9 9 5 ) ; D a v a l S t e e l
P r o d s . v . M.V. J u r a j D a l m a t i n a c , 718 F.
S u p p . 1 5 9 , 162 ( S . D . N.Y. 1 9 8 9 ) ; R i c h v .
K I S C a l i f o r n i a , I n c . , 1 2 1 F.R.D. 2 5 4 , 2 5 9
(M.D.N.C. 1 9 8 8 ) .
15
was
1090356
"'A
request
for
jurisdictional
d i s c o v e r y m u s t o f f e r t h e c o u r t "more t h a n
c o n j e c t u r e and s u r m i s e i n s u p p o r t o f [ t h e ]
j u r i s d i c t i o n a l t h e o r y . " C r i s t v. R e p u b l i c
of
Turkey,
995 F. S u p p . 5, 13
(D.D.C.
1998). "[The] s t a n d a r d i s q u i t e low, b u t a
plaintiff's
discovery
request
will
n e v e r t h e l e s s be d e n i e d i f i t i s o n l y b a s e d
upon 'bare,' ' a t t e n u a t e d , ' o r ' u n s u p p o r t e d '
assertions
of personal
jurisdiction,
or
when a p l a i n t i f f ' s
c l a i m a p p e a r s t o be
' c l e a r l y f r i v o l o u s . ' " A n d e r s e n , 179 F.R.D.
at 242.'
"876
So. 2d a t 467-68.
"In T r o n c a l l i ,
we h e l d t h a t t h e p l a i n t i f f ' s
discovery request presented 'nothing but "conjecture
and
surmise"
regarding
the existence
of
general
j u r i s d i c t i o n , ' 876 S o . 2 d a t 4 6 8 , a n d was t h e r e f o r e
due
t o be
denied.
Unlike
the complaint
in
T r o n c a l l i , w h i c h was d e v o i d o f a l l e g a t i o n s n e c e s s a r y
to s u s t a i n personal j u r i s d i c t i o n , the complaint i n
this
proceeding
alleges
that
'[Bufkin]
was t h e
agent, servant
or employee of [Williamson]
and/or
was i n v o l v e d i n a j o i n t v e n t u r e w i t h
[Williamson].'
Williamson,
of course,
i s a r e s i d e n t of Alabama.
Bufkin
admits
in his affidavit
that
he
visited
Alabama d u r i n g
t h e month i n w h i c h
the
accident
occurred,
and i t i s u n d i s p u t e d
that
Bufkin
was
driving
Williamson's
truck
at the time
of the
accident.
Therefore,
i n contrast to the situation
presented
t h i s Court i n T r o n c a l l i ,
R o b e r t s has 'at
least a l l e g [ e d ] f a c t s that would support a c o l o r a b l e
claim of j u r i s d i c t i o n . '
876 S o . 2 d a t 4 6 8 .
Limited
d i s c o v e r y c o u l d f l e s h out R o b e r t s ' s a l l e g a t i o n s and
c o u l d l e a d to a c o n c l u s i o n t h a t the t r i a l court can
e x e r c i s e personal j u r i s d i c t i o n over B u f k i n .
"The
a l l e g a t i o n s b e f o r e us i n t h i s
proceeding
are d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from those i n T r o n c a l l i ,
and
they j u s t i f y a l e s s r e s t r i c t i v e approach to a l l o w i n g
16
1090356
jurisdictional
discovery.
We
embrace
the rule
a p p l i c a b l e i n s u c h c i r c u m s t a n c e as e x p r e s s e d i n Toys
'R' U s , I n c . v . S t e p Two, S.A., 318 F . 3 d 4 4 6 , 456
(3d C i r . 2 0 0 3 ) :
"'Although
the p l a i n t i f f bears the burden
of
demonstrating
facts
that
support
personal
jurisdiction,
Pinker[v.
Roche
H o l d i n g s L t d . , 292 F . 3 d 3 6 1 , 368 ( 3 r d C i r .
2002)], courts are to a s s i s t the p l a i n t i f f
by a l l o w i n g j u r i s d i c t i o n a l d i s c o v e r y u n l e s s
the
plaintiff's
claim
i s
"clearly
f r i v o l o u s . " M a s s a c h u s e t t s S c h o o l o f Law a t
A n d o v e r , I n c . v . A m e r i c a n B a r A s s ' n , 10 7
F . 3 d 1 0 2 6 , 1 0 4 2 ( 3 d C i r . 1997 ) .
If a
p l a i n t i f f presents factual a l l e g a t i o n s that
suggest "with reasonable p a r t i c u l a r i t y " the
possible
existence
of
the
requisite
" c o n t a c t s between [the p a r t y ] and t h e forum
state,"
Mellon
Bank
(East)
PSFS,
Nat'l
A s s ' n v . F a r i n o , 960 F . 2 d 1 2 1 7 , 1 2 2 3 ( 3 d
Cir.
1992),
the p l a i n t i f f ' s
right
to
c o n d u c t j u r i s d i c t i o n a l d i s c o v e r y s h o u l d be
sustained.
"'Where t h e p l a i n t i f f h a s made t h i s
r e q u i r e d t h r e s h o l d showing, courts w i t h i n
t h i s C i r c u i t have s u s t a i n e d t h e r i g h t t o
conduct discovery before the d i s t r i c t court
dismisses
for
lack
of
personal
j u r i s d i c t i o n . See, e.g., I n r e A u t o m o t i v e
Refinishing
Paint
Antitrust
Litigation,
[No. 1 4 2 6 , J u l y 3 1 , 2 0 0 2 ] ( E . D . P a . J u l y
31, 2002)
[ n o t r e p o r t e d i n F. S u p p . 2 d ]
(denying motion t o d i s m i s s and p e r m i t t i n g
jurisdictional
d i s c o v e r y where
plaintiff
made a " t h r e s h o l d p r i m a f a c i e s h o w i n g o f
personal j u r i s d i c t i o n over Defendants");
W.
A f r i c a T r a d i n g & S h i p p i n g Co., e t a l . v.
L o n d o n I n t ' l G r o u p , e t a l . , 968 F. S u p p .
996,
1001
(D.N.J.
1997)
(denying
d e f e n d a n t ' s m o t i o n t o d i s m i s s where t h e
17
1090356
plaintiffs'
"request
for
jurisdictional
d i s c o v e r y i s c r i t i c a l to the
determination
of
whether
[the
court
can]
exercise
personal
jurisdiction
over
the
defendant."); Centralized Health
Systems,
Inc.
v.
Cambridge
Medical
Instruments,
I n c . , [No. 8 9 - 3 3 2 2 , Nov. 8, 1989]
(E.D.
Pa.
Nov.
8,
1989)
[not r e p o r t e d
i n F.Supp.]
( h o l d i n g motion to d i s m i s s i n abeyance to
permit
party
to
take
discovery
on
j u r i s d i c t i o n where d i s t r i b u t i o n arrangement
m i g h t s a t i s f y minimum c o n t a c t s ) . '
"Without
affording
Roberts
the
opportunity
for
limited
discovery
on
the
issue
of
personal
jurisdiction,
we
will
not
at t h i s
stage of
the
p r o c e e d i n g g r a n t the
w r i t o f mandamus a n d
order
B u f k i n ' s d i s m i s s a l from the a c t i o n . "
Similarly,
facts
that
jurisdiction
in this
could
case,
establish
against
Branded
a
colorable
the
following
alleged
claim
sufficient
of
personal
Universal.
In i t s response to U n i v e r s a l ' s
alleged
has
facts:
motion to dismiss,
Branded
5
"1)
[Universal] i s a large, p u b l i c l y
traded,
international
company t h a t
does b u s i n e s s
in a l l
l o w e r 48 s t a t e s .
[Universal] asserts through
the
W o r l d W i d e Web
on
its official
website that i t
provides
'transportation
services
to
shippers
throughout the U n i t e d S t a t e s . '
Universal
Truckload
S e r v i c e s , Inc., a v a i l a b l e at http://www.goutsi.com/
( l a s t v i s i t e d May 2 8 , 2 0 0 9 ) .
On
t h e d a t e t h i s o p i n i o n was
r e f e r e n c e d i n p a r a g r a p h s 1 and 2 o f
s t i l l available.
5
18
r e l e a s e d t h e Web
sites
Branded's response were
1090356
"2)
One o f [ U n i v e r s a l ] ' s s u b s i d i a r i e s , M a s o n
D i x o n L i n e s , a s s e r t s t h r o u g h t h e W o r l d W i d e Web o n
i t s website that
' i t has expanded i t s
operations
from i t s "North and South" beginning
t o i n c l u d e 48
states.'
The Mason
Dixon
Lines,
available at
h t t p : / / w w w . m a d l . c o m / ( l a s t v i s i t e d o n May 2 8 , 2 0 0 9 ) .
"3) I n a d d i t i o n t o d o i n g b u s i n e s s i n A l a b a m a ,
[Universal] acquired the operations
o f an A l a b a m a
t r u c k l o a d c a r r i e r Noble & P i t t s ,
Inc. based [ i n ]
S c o t t s b o r o , AL i n o r a r o u n d 2006.
"4)
[Universal]
contacted
[Branded]
and
requested
that
[Branded]
find
a
company
to
manufacture a t r a i l e r
to certain specifications.
A f t e r [Branded] p r e s e n t e d [ U n i v e r s a l ] w i t h
several
options,
[Universal]
chose L i d d e l l
Trailers,
LLC
('Liddell') to b u i l d the t r a i l e r s .
( A f f . o f Wayne
O s t r a n d e r 5 2, a t t a c h e d h e r e t o a s E x h i b i t A.)
"5) L i d d e l l i s a c o m p a n y r e g i s t e r e d i n A l a b a m a
with
i t s p r i n c i p l e [ s i c ]place
of business i n
S p r i n g v i l l e , A L . ( E x h i b i t A, O s t r a n d e r A f f . 5 3.)
"6) P u r s u a n t t o t h e a g r e e m e n t b e t w e e n L i d d e l l ,
[Branded], and [ U n i v e r s a l ] , L i d d e l l agreed t o b u i l d
t h e t r a i l e r s i n A l a b a m a . ( E x h i b i t A, O s t r a n d e r A f f .
5 4.)
"7)
Liddell
and
[Universal]
both
informed
[Branded] t h a t t h e y would n o t u p h o l d t h e i r e x i s t i n g
agreements.
[Branded]
later
learned
that
[ U n i v e r s a l ] agreed t o purchase and L i d d e l l agreed t o
manufacture
the
trailers,
thereby
excluding
[ B r a n d e d ] . ( E x h i b i t A, O s t r a n d e r A f f . 5 5.)
"8)
In order
to facilitate this later
deal,
[Universal]
h a d t o make
contact
with
Alabama
numerous t i m e s .
T h e w r o n g d o i n g made t h e b a s i s o f
this
complaint
was
therefore
projected
toward
A l a b a m a . ( E x h i b i t A, O s t r a n d e r A f f . 5 6.)
19
1090356
"9)
At
the
completion
of
the
deal
between
[ U n i v e r s a l ] and L i d d e l l , [ U n i v e r s a l ] t o o k p o s s e s s i o n
o f t h e t r a i l e r s i n A l a b a m a . ( E x h i b i t A,
Ostrander
A f f . 5 7.)
"10)
[ U n i v e r s a l ] i s a l a r g e company t h a t has
s u f f i c i e n t c o n t a c t s w i t h Alabama.
N o t o n l y do t h e y
conduct
regular business
i n Alabama,
but
with
respect
to this
case,
they
have d i r e c t e d
their
a c t i o n toward Alabama.
"11)
The A l a b a m a S u p r e m e C o u r t s t a t e s i n t h e
c a s e Ex p a r t e DBI,
Inc. t h a t Alabama's l o n g
arm
s t a t u t e extends the j u r i s d i c t i o n of Alabama c o u r t s
t o t h e p e r m i s s i b l e l i m i t s o f d u e p r o c e s s . [23 S o . 3 d
6 3 5 , 6 4 3 ( A l a . 2 0 0 9 ) ] ('In a c c o r d a n c e w i t h t h e p l a i n
l a n g u a g e o f R u l e 4.2, b o t h b e f o r e a n d a f t e r t h e 2 0 0 4
amendment, A l a b a m a ' s l o n g - a r m r u l e c o n s i s t e n t l y has
been
interpreted
by
this
Court
to
extend
the
j u r i s d i c t i o n of Alabama c o u r t s to the p e r m i s s i b l e
l i m i t s o f due p r o c e s s . ' ) .
"The
S u p r e m e C o u r t g o e s on t o s a y t h a t
Due
Process p e r m i t s Alabama t o s u b j e c t a n o n r e s i d e n t
defendant
to i t s j u r i s d i c t i o n
when t h e r e
exists
s u f f i c i e n t 'minimum c o n t a c t s , ' s u c h t h a t a d e f e n d a n t
should reasonably anticipate being haled into court.
[23 So. 3 d a t 6 4 4 ] .
"'The Due P r o c e s s C l a u s e o f t h e F o u r t e e n t h
Amendment p e r m i t s a f o r u m s t a t e t o s u b j e c t
a nonresident defendant to i t s courts only
when t h a t d e f e n d a n t h a s s u f f i c i e n t "minimum
contacts"
with
the
forum
state.
I n t e r n a t i o n a l S h o e Co. v . W a s h i n g t o n , 32 6
U.S.
3 1 0 , 3 1 6 , 66 S. C t . 1 5 4 , 90 L. E d . 95
( 1 9 4 5 ) . The c r i t i c a l q u e s t i o n w i t h r e g a r d
to the nonresident defendant's contacts i s
whether the c o n t a c t s are such
that
the
nonresident defendant
"'should reasonably
a n t i c i p a t e being haled i n t o court'" i n the
forum
state.
Burger
King
Corp.
v.
20
1090356
R u d z e w i c z , 471 U.S.
462,
473,
105 S.
Ct.
2174,
85 L. E d .
2 d 528
(1985),
quoting
W o r l d - W i d e V o l k s w a g e n C o r p . v . W o o d s o n , 44 4
U.S.
2 8 6 , 2 9 5 , 100 S. C t . 5 5 9 , 62 L. E d . 2 d
490
(1980).'
"The C o u r t h a s f r a m e d t h i s d i s c u s s i o n as one o f
r e a s o n a b l e n e s s and f a i r n e s s ; a s k i n g w h e t h e r i t i s
reasonable
or f a i r
to b r i n g such defendant i n t o
court.
[23 So. 3 d a t 6 5 0 - 5 1 ] .
"'The
protection
against
inconvenient
l i t i g a t i o n i s t y p i c a l l y d e s c r i b e d i n terms
of "reasonableness"
o r " f a i r n e s s . " We h a v e
s a i d that the defendant's contacts w i t h the
f o r u m S t a t e m u s t be s u c h t h a t m a i n t e n a n c e
of the s u i t does not o f f e n d
"traditional
notions
of
fair
play
and
substantial
justice."
The
r e l a t i o n s h i p between
the
d e f e n d a n t and t h e f o r u m m u s t be s u c h t h a t
it
is
"reasonable
...
to
require
the
c o r p o r a t i o n to defend the p a r t i c u l a r s u i t
which
is
brought
there."
(citations
omitted).'
"However,
due
to
modern
transportation
and
communication,
the
'limits
imposed
on
state
j u r i s d i c t i o n b y t h e Due P r o c e s s C l a u s e , i n i t s r o l e
as a g u a r a n t o r a g a i n s t i n c o n v e n i e n t l i t i g a t i o n , h a v e
been s u b s t a n t i a l l y r e l a x e d . '
[23 So. 3 d a t 6 5 0 ] .
" F u r t h e r m o r e , where a d e f e n d a n t has
'purposely
availed'
himself
of the
privilege
of
conducting
business
in
Alabama,
i t
is
presumptively
not
u n r e a s o n a b l e t o r e q u i r e him t o submit t o the burdens
of l i t i g a t i o n i n t h a t forum.
[23 So. 3 d a t 6 5 4 ] .
"'[W]here the defendant " d e l i b e r a t e l y "
has
engaged
in
significant
activities
w i t h i n a S t a t e , o r has c r e a t e d " c o n t i n u i n g
o b l i g a t i o n s " b e t w e e n h i m s e l f and r e s i d e n t s
o f t h e f o r u m , he m a n i f e s t l y h a s
availed
21
1090356
himself
of
the
privilege
of
conducting
b u s i n e s s t h e r e , and b e c a u s e h i s a c t i v i t i e s
are
shielded
by
"the
benefits
and
protections"
of the
forum's laws i t i s
presumptively
not unreasonable to r e q u i r e
him t o s u b m i t t o the burdens of l i t i g a t i o n
in
that
forum
as
well.
(citations
omitted).'
" T h e r e f o r e , when t h e d e f e n d a n t has
'purposefully
d i r e c t e d ' h i s a c t i o n s toward r e s i d e n t s of Alabama,
the d e f e n d a n t must p r e s e n t a c o m p e l l i n g
case that
some o t h e r c o n s i d e r a t i o n w o u l d r e n d e r j u r i s d i c t i o n
unreasonable.
[23 So. 3 d a t 6 5 3 - 5 4 ] .
('[W]here a
defendant
who
purposefully
has
directed
his
activities
at
forum
residents
seeks
to
defeat
j u r i s d i c t i o n , he m u s t p r e s e n t a c o m p e l l i n g c a s e t h a t
the
presence of
some o t h e r
considerations
would
render j u r i s d i c t i o n unreasonable.').
"12)
In
the
present
case,
[Branded]
has
presented
ample
evidence
that
[Universal]
has
s u f f i c i e n t contacts w i t h the State of Alabama,
and,
as a r e s u l t o f
[its] actions,
[Universal]
should
r e a s o n a b l y e x p e c t t o be h a l e d i n t o A l a b a m a c o u r t .
Furthermore,
[Universal]
has
purposely
availed
i t s e l f [of] the p r i v i l e g e of c o n d u c t i n g b u s i n e s s i n
Alabama.
" [ U n i v e r s a l ] i s a l a r g e p u b l i c l y t r a d e d company
with stockholders around the country.
Through [ i t s ]
m a r k e t i n g [on] t h e W o r l d W i d e Web,
[Universal]
has
h e l d i t s e l f o u t as a company c o n d u c t i n g b u s i n e s s i n
Alabama.
[ U n i v e r s a l ] a g r e e d t o do b u s i n e s s w i t h a
company
i n Alabama
and
the
current
allegations
surround
[Universal's]
contact
with
a
company
r e s i d i n g i n Alabama.
The
wrong a l l e g e d i n
this
complaint
is
based
on
[Universal's]
act
of
contacting
Liddell,
in
Alabama.
Furthermore,
[ U n i v e r s a l ] w e n t t o A l a b a m a t o p i c k up t h e t r a i l e r s .
22
1090356
"[Universal]
has
presented
no
evidence,
compelling
or otherwise,
of the presence of
'some
other
considerations
[that]
would
render
j u r i s d i c t i o n unreasonable.'
[23 So. 3 d a t 6 5 4 ] .
In
fact,
[ U n i v e r s a l ] has
n o t p r e s e n t e d one
shred
of
evidence
or
pointed
to
one
fact
showing
how
[ U n i v e r s a l ] w i l l be b u r d e n e d by d e f e n d i n g t h i s c a s e
i n Alabama.
The
only benefit to
[Universal]
in
excluding
jurisdiction
is
to
delay
justice.
[Universal is] already
represented
by
a firm in
Tuscaloosa,
Alabama.
Defending
this
case
in
A l a b a m a w o u l d be n o t more b u r d e n s o m e t h a n d e f e n d i n g
i t i n L o u i s i a n a . As t h e Supreme C o u r t p o i n t s
out,
modern t r a n s p o r t a t i o n and c o m m u n i c a t i o n has
helped
t o s u b s t a n t i a l l y r e l a x e d a n y due p r o c e s s r e s t r a i n t s .
[23 So. 3 d a t
657].
"13)
[ U n i v e r s a l ] h a s no Due P r o c e s s a r g u m e n t f o r
excluding personal j u r i s d i c t i o n .
[ I t has] c o n d u c t e d
business
i n Alabama,
directed
[its] actions
to
r e s i d e n t s i n A l a b a m a , and [has] h e l d [ i t s e l f ] out t o
the
public
as
conducting
business
in
Alabama.
Therefore,
j u r i s d i c t i o n i s proper i n t h i s case."
Further,
of
i t s Rule
i n i t s response to Universal's
12(b)(2)
motion,
Branded
brief in
alleged:
support
6
"[Universal] contacted
[Branded] and
requested
that
[Branded]
find
a
company
to
manufacture
t r a i l e r s t o c e r t a i n s p e c i f i c a t i o n s . A f t e r [Branded]
presented
[Universal]
with
several
options,
[ U n i v e r s a l ] c h o s e L i d d e l l T r a i l e r s , LLC
('Liddell')
to b u i l d the t r a i l e r s .
( A f f . o f Wayne O s t r a n d e r 5
2,
attached
h e r e t o a s E x h i b i t A.)
Liddell is a
On t h e d a t e t h i s o p i n i o n was r e l e a s e d , a l l b u t two o f
Web
sites
referenced
in
Branded's
response
were
st
available.
The Web
s i t e s t h a t a r e no l o n g e r a v a i l a b l e
h t t p : / / w w w . a l a b a m a t r u c k i n g . o r g / d o c s / A T A _ s u m m e r 3 Q 0 6_web.pdf
http://loads.goutsi.com8080/wntv5/BKLoadSelections.
6
23
the
ill
are
and
1090356
company r e g i s t e r e d i n A l a b a m a w i t h i t s p r i n c i p l e
[ s i c ] p l a c e o f b u s i n e s s i n S p r i n g v i l l e , AL. ( E x h i b i t
A, O s t r a n d e r A f f . 5 3.) P u r s u a n t t o t h e a g r e e m e n t
between L i d d e l l , [Branded], and [ U n i v e r s a l ] , L i d d e l l
agreed t o b u i l d t h e t r a i l e r s i n Alabama.
(Exhibit
A, O s t r a n d e r A f f . 5 4.) D e f e n d a n t L i d d e l l a g r e e d t o
design,
m a n u f a c t u r e [ ] , and s e l l s a i d t r a i l e r s t o
[Branded] f o r $168,680.00 each
(Compl. 5 7 ) , and
[ U n i v e r s a l ] a g r e e d t o p u r c h a s e a t l e a s t two o f t h e s e
t r a i l e r s a t a p r i c e o f $ 2 4 4 , 4 6 5 . 8 4 . ( C o m p l . 5 8.)
L i d d e l l and [ U n i v e r s a l ] b o t h i n f o r m e d [Branded] t h a t
they would not uphold t h e i r e x i s t i n g agreements.
(Compl.)
"[Branded] l a t e r learned that [Universal] agreed
to purchase and L i d d e l l agreed t o manufacture t h e
t r a i l e r s , thereby excluding
[ B r a n d e d ] . ( E x h i b i t A,
O s t r a n d e r A f f . 5 5.)
In order t o f a c i l i t a t e t h i s
later deal,
[ U n i v e r s a l ] h a d t o make c o n t a c t
with
Alabama numerous t i m e s .
T h e w r o n g d o i n g made t h e
basis
of this
c o m p l a i n t was t h e r e f o r e
projected
t o w a r d A l a b a m a . ( E x h i b i t A, O s t r a n d e r A f f . 5 6.) A t
the c o m p l e t i o n o f t h e d e a l between [ U n i v e r s a l ] and
L i d d e l l , [ U n i v e r s a l ] p h y s i c a l l y entered Alabama and
physically
took
possession
of the trailers
i n
A l a b a m a . ( E x h i b i t A, O s t r a n d e r A f f . 5 7.)
"[Universal]
i s a
large,
publicly
traded,
international
company t h a t does b u s i n e s s
in a l l
l o w e r 48 s t a t e s .
[ U n i v e r s a l ] i d e n t i f i e s i t s e l f as
a
'non-asset based p r o v i d e r
of transportation,'
Universal
Truckload
Services,
Inc., available at
h t t p : / / w w w . g o u t s i . c o m / ( l a s t v i s i t e d June 17, 2009)
( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o as E x h i b i t B ) , [ U n i v e r s a l ] m a r k e t s
i t s s e r v i c e s t o t h e s t a t e o f Alabama and a s s e r t s
that
i t does
business
i n Alabama.
[Universal]
a s s e r t s t h r o u g h t h e W o r l d W i d e Web o n i t s o f f i c i a l
website that i t provides 'transportation services to
shippers throughout the United States.'
E x h i b i t B.
[ U n i v e r s a l ] s o l i c i t s agents and c o n t r a c t o r s through
the
W o r l d W i d e Web,
i n c l u d i n g those
agents and
c o n t r a c t o r s l o c a t e d i n Alabama. U n i v e r s a l
Truckload
24
1090356
S e r v i c e s ,
I n c . ,
a v a i l a b l e
http://www.goutsi.com/JoinUs.aspx (last v i s i t e d
17, 2 0 0 9 ) ( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o a s E x h i b i t C ) .
June
"At
any
given
time,
[Universal]
arranges
numerous l o a d p i c k u p s f o r l o c a t i o n s t h r o u g h o u t t h e
s t a t e o f Alabama.
On J u n e 1 1 , 2 0 0 9 ,
[Universal]
provided information through i t s o f f i c i a l website of
load
pickup
and
drop-off
locations
throughout
Alabama.
These
sites
included,
among
other
locations:
Jasper,
Scottsboro,
Tuscaloosa,
Courtland,
Talladega,
Montgomery,
Mount
Meigs,
Louisville,
Eufaula,
Selma,
Jackson,
Mobile,
Tuscumbia, Belk,
Moundville,
Grayson,
Birmingham,
H a n c e v i l l e , Pelham, M i l l b r o o k , H u n t s v i l l e , Decatur,
Nauvoo.
See
f o r example,
Universal
Truckload
S e r v i c e s ,
I n c . ,
a v a i l a b l e
http://loads.goutsi.com:8080/wntv5/BKLoadSelections
( l a s t v i s i t e d June 11, 2009)
( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o as
E x h i b i t D). These l o c a t i o n s p r o v i d e
the telephone
numbers o f [ U n i v e r s a l ]
a g e n t s , many o f whom a r e
located
i n Alabama.
[Universal]
boasts
on i t s
o f f i c i a l website that i t 'provides shippers with a
network of hundreds of agents
and thousands o f
owner-operators.'
Universal
Truckload
Services,
I n c ,
a v a i l a b l e
a t
http://www.goutsi.com/Shippers.aspx.
(last
visited
June
17, 2009)
(attached
hereto
as E x h i b i t E ) .
Therefore,
n o t o n l y d o e s [ U n i v e r s a l ] do b u s i n e s s i n
Alabama, t h e y have numerous a g e n t s t h r o u g h o u t t h e
state.
" F u r t h e r m o r e , i n 2006, [ U n i v e r s a l ] r e p or t e d t o
Alabama Trucker, t h a t
[ U n i v e r s a l ] b o u g h t t.
a major
Alabama
trucking
company l o c a t e d
i n
Scottsboro,
Alabama.
Alabama
Trucker,
3rd Quarter
(2006),
a
v
a
i
l
a
b
l
e
a
t
http://www.alabamatrucking.org/docs/ATA_
summer3Q06_web.pdf ( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o as E x h i b i t F ) .
('Universal Truckload
Services o f f i c i a l s said late
Thursday
i t acquired
the operations
of Alabama
t r u c k l o a d c a r r i e r Noble & P i t t s / ' )
'Noble & P i t t s
25
1090356
g e n e r a t e d combined t r u c k l o a d and b r o k e r a g e
revenue
of about
$33 m i l l i o n
[ i n 2005],
including
fuel
surcharges
o f $3 m i l l i o n ,
Universal
said i n
statement'
Id.
"In
addition
to the fact
that
[Universal]
c o n d u c t s e x t e n s i v e b u s i n e s s i n Alabama and has a
broad
network
o f b u s i n e s s c o n t a c t s i n Alabama,
[Universal]
also
conducts
extensive business i n
Alabama through i t s s u b s i d i a r i e s .
[Universal] acts
as a n o n - a s s e t b a s e d p r o v i d e r a n d c o n d u c t s most o f
i t s b u s i n e s s t h r o u g h i t s s u b s i d i a r i e s . E x h i b i t E,
Universal Truckload Services,
Inc., available at
http://www.goutsi.com/Shippers.aspx
('We c o n d u c t o u r
o p e r a t i o n s through our o p e r a t i n g s u b s i d i a r i e s under
t h e b r a n d names: Mason a n d D i x o n L i n e s , Mason D i x o n
Intermodal,
Economy
Transport,
Louisiana
Transportation,
Great
American
Lines,
CrossRoad
C a r r i e r s , and U n i v e r s a l Am-Can.').
"Mason D i x o n L i n e s , a s s e r t s t h r o u g h i t s o f f i c i a l
w e b s i t e t h a t ' i t has expanded i t s o p e r a t i o n s from
its
"North
and South"
beginning to include
48
states.'
The M a s o n
Dixon
Lines,
available
at
h t t p : / / w w w . m a d l . c o m / ( l a s t v i s i t e d o n May 2 8 , 2 0 0 9 ) .
A d d i t i o n a l l y , Mason D i x o n L i n e s h o l d s a p e r m a n e n t
office
in
Scottsboro,
Alabama.
Mason
Dixon
I n t e r m o d a l a s s e r t s t h r o u g h t h e W o r l d W i d e Web t h a t
its
does
business
in
Alabama.
Mason
Dixon
I n t e r m o d a l
,
a v a i l a b l e
a t
http://www.mdintermodal.com/AboutUs.aspx
(last
v i s i t e d J u n e 17, 2009) ( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o as E x h i b i t
G)
( ' O p e r a t i n g w i t h one o f t h e f i n e s t g r o u p s o f
Owner-Operators
i n t h e c o u n t r y e n a b l e s us t o s e r v i c e
48
states,
...
Mason
Dixon
Intermodal
i s
a
subsidiary of Universal Truckload Services, Inc.').
Likewise,
Louisiana
Transportation,
Inc. boasts
t h r o u g h t h e W o r l d W i d e Web o f t h e e x t e n s i v e b u s i n e s s
it
c o n d u c t s t h r o u g h o u t t h e 48 s t a t e s a n d o f t h e
n a t i o n a l s a l e s and r e c r u i t i n g f o r c e i t m a i n t a i n s .
Louisiana
Transportation,
Inc.,
available
at
http://www.louisianatransport.com/AboutUs.aspx
(last
26
1090356
v i s i t e d June 17, 2 0 0 9 ) ( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o as E x h i b i t
H)('Louisiana
Transportation,
Inc.,
i s
an
e s t a b l i s h e d over-the-road commercial c a r r i e r
with
b r o k e r a g e a u t h o r i t y s e r v i n g 48 s t a t e s w i t h o u r f o c u s
on t h e S o u t h e r n p a r t s o f t h e U.S.') a n d ('We h a v e a n
established
national
sales
and r e c r u i t i n g
force
i n t e g r a t e d i n t o an e f f i c i e n t b a c k o f f i c e
support
network w i t h a p r o p r i e t a r y computer system geared
for the f u t u r e . ' ) .
"Universal
Am-Can,
L t d . and Great
American
L i n e s , Inc. market themselves t o Alabama through t h e
W o r l d W i d e Web a n d a l s o a s s e r t t h a t t h e y d o b u s i n e s s
i n Alabama.
U n i v e r s a l Am-Can, L t d . a s s e r t s t h r o u g h
t h e W o r l d W i d e Web, 'Our s e r v i c e s e n c o m p a s s F l a t b e d ,
Van,
Over
Dimensional
and
Logistic
solutions
t h r o u g h o u t t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s , Canada, and Mexico.
T h e r e a r e no l i m i t s when i t comes t o p r o v i d i n g
t r a n s p o r t a t i o n s o l u t i o n s t o f i t you and o r your
customers needs.'
U n i v e r s a l Am-Can. L t d , a v a i l a b l e
a t h t t p : / / w w w . u a c l . c o m / ( l a s t v i s i t e d June 17, 2009)
(attached
hereto
as
Exhibit
I ) . Furthermore,
Universal
Am-Can,
L t d . boasts
of a
'nationwide
network o f agents' ( E x h i b i t I) and s t a t e t h a t they
have a ' c a r r i e r n e t w o r k o f o v e r 10,000
approved
c a r r i e r s t h r o u g h o u t t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s and Canada.'
Universal
Am-Can,
L t d .,
available
at
http://www.uacl.com/Services.aspx ( l a s t v i s i t e d June
17, 2 0 0 9 ) ( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o a s E x h i b i t J ) .
Finally,
Universal
Am-Can
states
that
i t has a
'network
consisting
of
over
250
offices
nationwide.'
Universal
Am-Can,
Ltd . ,
available
at
http://www.uacl.com/Brokerage.aspx
(last
visited
June 17, 2009) ( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o a s E x h i b i t K ) .
"Great American Lines, Inc. asserts a nationwide
presence and s o l i c i t b u s i n e s s nationwide.
They
a s s e r t t h r o u g h t h e W o r l d W i d e Web, 'Our d i v e r s i f i e d
a g e n t a n d company t e r m i n a l s a l e s f o r c e a r e c a p a b l e
of accommodating any h a u l i n g p r e f e r e n c e
an owner
operator
may
have
within
these
trailer
types
t h r o u g h o u t t h e US a n d C a n a d a . '
Great
American
27
1090356
L i n e s ,
I n c .
a v a i l a b l e
a t ,
http://www.grtamerlines.com/AboutUs.aspx
(last
v i s i t e d J u n e 17, 2 0 0 9 ) ( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o a s E x h i b i t
L).
F i n a l l y , they boast of a 'Freight Brokerage to
carrier
network
throughout
the
US
using
agent
network.'
Great American Lines, Inc, a v a i l a b l e at,
http://www.grtamerlines.com/Services.aspx
(last
v i s i t e d J u n e 17,2009) ( a t t a c h e d h e r e t o as E x h i b i t
M). "
B r a n d e d w e n t on
general
contacts
Alabama.
(Ala.
See
2009)
with
Sverdrup
Alabama
to
Tech.,
Inc.
establish
v.
corporate
"'continuous
and
offices
jurisdiction
the s u b s i d i a r i e s '
in
in
Alabama
Alabama).
It
sufficient
Waste C o n t r o l , I n c .
Inc.,
711
2d
court
erroneously
So.
912,
916
personal
indicating
a
motion
had
also
So.
3d
in
BFI,
Inc.,
28
had
and
general
that
contacts
with
i n A l a b a m a and
that
a
summary
See
Indus.,
(holding t h a t the
where
34
sufficient
Browning-Ferris
for
in
argued
general
I n d u s t r i e s , Inc.
jurisdiction
that
v.
( A l a . 1997)
granted
f i l e d by B r o w n i n g - F e r r i s
evidence
36
contacts are a t t r i b u t a b l e to U n i v e r s a l .
Environmental
of
jurisdiction
Robinson,
Alabama to e s t a b l i s h p e r s o n a l j u r i s d i c t i o n
lack
sufficient
systematic'" a c t i v i t i e s to establish
U n i v e r s a l ' s s u b s i d i a r i e s had
on
had
(holding that a defendant that d i d business
maintained
personal
to argue t h a t U n i v e r s a l i t s e l f
trial
judgment
("BFI, I n c . " ) , b a s e d
the
record
sufficient
contained
contacts
1090356
w i t h A l a b a m a and
it
was
the
w h e r e i t was
'foreseeable'
"not
that BFI,
u n r e a s o n a b l e t o assume
Inc.,
c o u l d be
conduct of i t s s u b s i d i a r y " ) . F i n a l l y ,
Universal
had
establish
personal
against
Universal
and
Alabama.
957
So.
personal
sufficient
2d
See
1111
jurisdiction
arose
from
Hiller
Invs.
( A l a . 2006)
jurisdiction
a c t i o n arose out
Specifically,
specific
Branded
v.
with
its
between
Insultech
the
asserts
that
claims
Group,
trial
with
to
Universal
Inc.,
court
defendant because the
defendant's contacts
for
Alabama
i t says,
contacts
(holding that
over the
of the
contacts
Inc.
liable
Branded argued
because,
the
held
that
cause
the
had
of
State).
that
"[t]he
wrongful
act
alleged
in
this
case
is
[Universal's]
act
of
going
behind
the
back
of
[Branded]
and
contacting
Liddell,
in
Alabama.
[ U n i v e r s a l ' s ] act of c o n t a c t i n g L i d d e l l i n Alabama
was
therefore
the
precise
act
that
harmed
[Branded]."
Additionally,
with
sites
an
of
Branded
affidavit
and
from Alabama Trucker,
its
theories
evidence
to
its jurisdictional
from Ostrander, w i t h
Universal
In t h i s
supported
printouts
i t s s u b s i d i a r i e s , and
a trade
from the
with
personal
support
those
an
Web
article
publication.
c a s e , B r a n d e d made d e t a i l e d a s s e r t i o n s
of
arguments
jurisdiction,
assertions.
29
and
See
Ex
i t
regarding
presented
parte
United
1090356
Ins.
Cos.,
plaintiff
936
So.
raising
jurisdictional
a
regarding
defendants
and
"bare,"
be
surmise.
she
corporate
the role
was
presented
Inc.,
876
the request
request
d i d not
See U n i t e d
So.
this
r e q u e s t was
Ex p a r t e
2d
459,
the
not a
"'based
of
upon
personal
claim
appeared
Troncalli
Chrysler
468
( A l a . 2003).
Troncalli,
consist
mere
I n s . Cos., supra.
to
allegedly
was
i n Ex p a r t e
of
of
defendant
Therefore,
a
detailed
relationship
each
that
entitled
or "unsupported" assertions
frivolous."'"
Dodge,
unlike
discovery
(holding
o r a s i t u a t i o n where Branded's
"'"clearly
Further,
the
conspiracy).
"attenuated,"
Plymouth
because
where Branded's d i s c o v e r y
jurisdiction'"
to
( A l a . 2006)
civil-conspiracy claim
regarding
i n the c i v i l
situation
1049
discovery
pleadings
played
2d
Branded's
conjecture
Rather,
Branded
and
has
"'at l e a s t alleg[ed]
f a c t s that would support a
colorable
claim
of
jurisdiction.'
[Ex
parte
T r o n c a l l i C h r y s l e r P l y m o u t h D o d g e , I n c . , ] 876 S o . 2 d
[ 4 5 9 , ] 468 [ ( A l a . 2 0 0 3 ) ] .
Limited discovery
could
f l e s h out [Branded's] a l l e g a t i o n s and c o u l d l e a d t o
a conclusion
that
the t r i a l
court
can
exercise
personal j u r i s d i c t i o n over [ U n i v e r s a l ] . "
Ex p a r t e
trial
Bufkin,
court
936 S o . 2 d a t 1 0 4 7 .
exceeded
i t s
For these
discretion
30
when
reasons,
i t
the
granted
1090356
Universal's motion t o dismiss without
an
opportunity
t o conduct
first providing
jurisdictional
Branded
discovery.
Conclusion
The
trial
court
exceeded
i t s discretion
Universal's motion t o dismiss without
an
opportunity
Accordingly,
to
we r e v e r s e
Branded's claims
did
n o t have
remand
conduct
this
i t granted
first providing
conduct
jurisdictional
the t r i a l
court's
Branded
discovery.
judgment d i s m i s s i n g
a g a i n s t U n i v e r s a l on t h e b a s i s t h a t t h e c o u r t
personal
case
jurisdiction
f o r the t r i a l
discovery
jurisdiction.
when
on
the
over
court
limited
Universal,
to allow
issue
and
we
Branded
to
of
personal
7
R E V E R S E D AND
REMANDED.
Cobb, C . J . , and W o o d a l l ,
Shaw, a n d M a i n ,
Stuart, Bolin,
Parker,
Murdock,
J J . , concur.
Because
of our d i s p o s i t i o n
of this
appeal
on t h e
j u r i s d i c t i o n a l d i s c o v e r y i s s u e , we p r e t e r m i t d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e
r e m a i n i n g c l a i m s B r a n d e d r a i s e s on a p p e a l .
7
31

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