United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge
Hutchings filed suit against InterContinental Hotels Group,
PLC and S.C. Hotels and Resorts (Jamaica) Limited, claiming
they were negligent in failing to exercise reasonable care to
protect her safety while she was a guest at the Holiday Inn
Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica where she was
allegedly assaulted and raped. Each defendant separately
moved to dismiss the suit pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2) for lack of personal
jurisdiction. [Doc. Nos. 21 and 24]. For the following
reasons, the court grants their motions.
Standard of Review
dismissal motion raises the issue of personal jurisdiction,
the plaintiff must establish personal jurisdiction over each
of the defendants. Advanced Tactical Ordnance Sys., LLC
v. Real Action Paintball, Inc., 751 F.3d 796, 799 (7th
Cir. 2014); Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601 F.3d 693, 700
(7th Cir. 2010); Purdue Research Foundation v.
Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d 773, 782 (7th Cir.
2003). The court can receive and weigh affidavits, exhibits
and other evidence in determining whether it has personal
jurisdiction. Purdue Research Foundation v.
Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d at 782; Nelson v.
Park Indus., Inc., 717 F.2d 1120, 1123 n.7 (7th Cir.
1983). “[O]nce the defendant has submitted affidavits
or other evidence in opposition to the exercise of
jurisdiction, the plaintiff must go beyond the pleadings and
submit affirmative evidence supporting the exercise of
jurisdiction.” Purdue Research Foundation v.
Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d at 783.
all motions to dismiss, the court must accept all
well-pleaded facts alleged in the complaint as true, and draw
all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009);
Anicich v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 852 F.3d 643,
648 (7th Cir. 2017). When, as in this case, the motion to
dismiss is decided based on the submission of written
materials without an evidentiary hearing, Ms. Hutchings must
“make out a prima facie case of personal
jurisdiction” through affidavits or other evidence
setting forth facts that, if true, would be sufficient to
establish jurisdiction over the defendants. Purdue
Research Foundation v. Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d
at 782. “[C]onclusory allegations unsupported by any
factual assertions will not withstand a motion to
dismiss.” Novelty, Inc. v. RCB Distributing,
Inc., No. 1:08-cv-418, 2008 WL 2705532, at *1 (S.D. Ind.
July 9, 2008).
Hutchings says in her complaint that while she and her
now-husband, Vic Hutchings, were guests at the Holiday Inn in
Montego Bay, Jamaica, she was viciously raped and tortured by
three men who entered the women's restroom and jumped
into the locked bathroom stall she was using. Mr. Hutchings
alleges that hotel staff and security didn't respond to
her cries for help and that the attack didn't end until
Mr. Hutchings heard her screaming, entered the restroom, and
fought off the assailants. Ms. Hutchings, seeking to redress
her alleged injuries, filed suit against the defendants in
considering the merits of Ms. Hutchings's claims, the
court must determine whether it has jurisdiction. “A
district court sitting in diversity has personal jurisdiction
over a nonresident defendant only if a court of the state in
which it sits would have jurisdiction.” Purdue
Research Found. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d at
779. This is a two-part inquiry, with the court first
determining whether the forum-state's long-arm statute
allows the court to exercise jurisdiction and then
determining whether exercising that jurisdiction comports
with Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause.
Id. Indiana's long-arm statute extends personal
jurisdiction to the outer limits of the Due Process Clause,
so the two inquires merge. Ind. Trial Rule 4.4(A);
LinkAmerica Corp. v. Cox, 857 N.E.2d 961, 967 (Ind.
2006). In deciding whether the exercise of personal
jurisdiction comports with the Due Process Clause, “the
primary focus . . . is the defendant's relationship to
the forum State.” Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v.
Superior Court of California, San Francisco Cty., 137
S.Ct. 1773, 1779 (2017). Personal jurisdiction exists when
each of the defendants has “certain minimum contacts
[with the forum] . . . such that the maintenance of the suit
does not offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.” Walden v. Fiore, 134
S.Ct. 1115, 1121 (2014) (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). “Stated
differently, each defendant must have purposely established
minimum contacts with the forum state such that he or she
‘should reasonably anticipate being haled into
court' there.” Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601
F.3d at 700- 701 (quoting Burger King Corp. v.
Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474 (1985)).
are two types of personal jurisdiction-general and specific,
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California,
San Francisco Cty., 137 S.Ct. at 1780, and the
defendants first argue that they aren't subject to
general jurisdiction because their affidavits show that they
aren't Indiana corporations and do no business in
Indiana, aren't registered or licensed to do business in
Indiana, own no property, and have on resident agent for
service of process in Indiana.
a limited set of affiliations with a forum will render a
defendant amenable to [general] jurisdiction there.”
Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746, 760 (2014).
For an individual, the paradigm forum for the exercise of
general jurisdiction is the individual's domicile; for a
corporation, it is an equivalent place, one in which the
corporation is fairly regarded as at home. With respect to a
corporation, the place of incorporation and principal place
of business are paradigm bases for general jurisdiction.
Id. (citations and alterations omitted). Ms.
Hutchings argues that the court can exercise general
jurisdiction over the defendants because, she claims, they
are incorporated in Indiana. She presents no evidence to
support this assertion and the defendants' affidavits
demonstrate that they aren't Indiana corporations, so she
hasn't established that they are Indiana corporations for
purposes of general jurisdiction. See Purdue Research
Found. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d at 782-783
(a plaintiff can't rely on bare assertions in a brief to
oppose a motion to dismiss when the defendant produces
evidence of a lack of jurisdiction); Novelty, Inc. v. RCB
Distributing, Inc., No. 1:08-cv-418, 2008 WL 2705532, at
*1 (S.D. Ind. July 9, 2008) (“conclusory allegations
unsupported by any factual assertions will not withstand a
motion to dismiss”).
Hutchings also argues IHG PLC is subject to general
jurisdiction because its subsidiary, Six Continents Hotels,
Inc., is registered to do and does business in Indiana. Ms.
Hutchings is correct that a subsidiary's contacts with
the forum can provide a basis for jurisdiction in some
extraordinary cases, but “personal jurisdiction cannot
be premised on corporate affiliation . . . alone where
corporate formalities are substantially observed and the
parent does not exercise an unusually high degree of control
over the subsidiary.” Cent. States Pension Fund v.
Reimer Express World Corp., 230 F.3d 934, 943 (7th Cir.
2000). See also Purdue Research Found. v.
Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d at 788 n.17 (rejecting
general jurisdiction based on a corporate affiliate's
contacts); Abelesz v. OTP Bank, 692 F.3d 638, 659
(7th Cir. 2012) (holding that a bank did not dominate a
company to an extent that contacts should be imputed, even
where banking executives held four of nine seats on a the
board of supervisors); 4A Charles Alan Wright, et al.,
Federal Practice & Procedure § 1069.4 (4th ed.)
(“if the subsidiary's presence in the state is
primarily for the purpose of carrying on its own business and
the subsidiary has preserved some semblance of independence
from the parent and is not acting as merely one of its
departments, personal jurisdiction over the parent
corporation may not be acquired simply on the basis of the
local activities of the subsidiary company”).
submitted evidence that it doesn't exercise “an
unusually high degree of control” over its subsidiary;
the affidavit it submitted indicates that the company exerts
no control over the day-to-day management of Six Continents.
Ms. Hutchings hasn't presented any evidence to establish
that IHG PLC exercises “an unusually high degree of
control” over its Indiana subsidiary. The only evidence
she submitted was IHG's answer to an interrogatory, in
which it indicated that Six Continents Hotels, Inc. is its
subsidiary. That alone is insufficient to allow the court to
exercise general jurisdiction. See Cent. States Pension
Fund v. Reimer Express World Corp., 230 F.3d at 943;
Purdue Research Foundation v. Sanofi-Synthelabo,