United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
MICHAEL LEECH, JR., as Personal Representative of the Estate of Michael Jay Leech, Sr., Deceased, and DEBBIE MARSHALL, as Court-Appointed Conservator of the Estate of and Next Friend of A.L., a Minor, Plaintiffs,
NATIONAL INTERSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, INTACT INSURANCE COMPANY, ECONOMICAL MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, KAMALJEET SANGRA, and J&R LOGISTICS, INC., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
J. Dinsmore Judge.
matter is before the Court on Economical Mutual Insurance
Company's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment. [Dkt. 59.]
Defendant Economical Mutual Insurance Company
(“Economical”) seeks an order dismissing
Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint [Dkt. 22] for lack
of personal jurisdiction. On July 16, 2018, District Judge
William T. Lawrence designated the undersigned Magistrate
Judge to issue a report and recommendation pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). [Dkt. 89.] For the
reasons set below, the Magistrate Judge recommends that
Economical's Motion be DENIED.
following facts are not necessarily objectively true. But as
required when reviewing a motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts as true all factual allegations in the Amended
Complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the
Plaintiffs as the non-moving parties. See
Bielanski v. Cty. of Kane, 550 F.3d 632, 633 (7th
December 29, 2016, Kamaljeet Sangra was transporting goods by
semi-tractor trailer in his capacity as a driver for J&R
Logistics, Inc. (“J&R”). [Dkt. 22 at
2.] While transporting these goods, he drove in the
wrong direction in the north-bound lanes of Indiana State
Road 63 near Cayuga, Indiana. Id. By driving south
in the north-bound lanes, Sangra negligently caused a head-on
collision with a vehicle operated by Michael Jay Leech, Sr.,
who was properly driving north in the north-bound lanes.
Id. As a result of the collision, Leech, Sr., died,
and A.L., a minor who was also in the vehicle, sustained
personal injuries. Id.
to Plaintiffs, there are three insurance companies involved,
all of whom insured J&R and, by extension, Sangra.
National Interstate Insurance Company (“NIIC”) is
an insurance company organized under the laws of Ohio and is
registered to do business in Indiana. [Dkt. 26 at
1.] Intact Insurance Company (“Intact”) is a
Canadian insurance company organized under the laws of
Ontario, Canada. [Dkt. 26 at 1.] Economical is an
insurance company organized under the laws of Waterloo,
Ontario, Canada. [Dkt. 22 at 1.] Plaintiff Michael
Jay Leech, Jr., as the Personal Representative of the Estate
of Michael Jay Leech, Sr., brings this action seeking a court
order declaring which Defendant insurance company has primary
coverage for the automobile accident and which Defendant
insurance company has secondary coverage. [Dkt. 22 at
3, ¶ 14.] Plaintiff Michael Jay Leech, Jr., has
asserted negligence and wrongful death claims against Sangra
and J&R in a state court action for damages resulting
from the motor vehicle accident. [Dkt. 29.]
Similarly, Plaintiff Debbie Marshall has asserted in state
court negligence claims on behalf of A.L. against Sangra and
J&R for damages resulting from the accident. [Dkt.
Leech, Jr., as personal representative of the Estate of
Michael Jay Leech, Sr., brought suit in Vermillion County
state court against Intact, NIIC, J&R, and Sangra.
[Dkt. 1-2 at 1.] Intact and NIIC removed the case to
federal court [seeDkt. 1] and properly pleaded
subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the Court's Order
regarding their jurisdictional allegations [Dkt.
88]. Plaintiff Leech, Jr., moved to amend his initial
Complaint in order to add Economical as a defendant in the
case. [Amended Complaint, Dkt. 22.] Intact
moved to join Debbie Marshall as an additional Plaintiff
pursuant to Rule 19 of the Fed.R.Civ.P. [Dkt. 27.]
Debbie Marshall, as the Conservator of the Estate of and Next
Friend of A.L., had brought a negligence action arising out
of the same incident involving Sangra and Leech, Sr., on
behalf of A.L., a minor. [Dkt. 27 at 30.] The Court
granted Intact's joinder motion [Dkt. 47].
has now moved to be dismissed as a party, asserting that this
Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Economical. [Dkt.
59.] In support of its motion, Economical asserts that
it is domiciled and has its principal place of business in
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. [Dkt. 60 at 2; Dkt. 60-1 at 1.]
Economical further asserts that it has not “maintained
an office in Indiana, maintained a registered agent in
Indiana, conducted print, radio, or television advertisement
in Indiana, or owed or had to pay taxes in Indiana” and
also is not “authorized to do business in
Indiana.” [Dkt. 60 at 2.] Therefore, according to
Economical, this Court may not exercise either general or
specific jurisdiction over Economical in this case.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2) is a pre-answer motion
asserted by defendants who wish to challenge a district
court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over the
defendant as a party. Typically for a Rule 12(b) motion to
dismiss, a court must “accept all well-pleaded
allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and draw
all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.”
Tobin for Governor v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections,
268 F.3d 517, 521 (7th Cir. 2001). However, a court ruling on
a Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction “must decide whether any material facts
are in dispute.” Hyatt Int'l Corp. v.
Coco, 302 F.3d 707, 713 (7th Cir. 2002). If there any
material facts are in dispute and if the court rules on the
motion based on written materials and affidavits submitted
rather than on an evidentiary hearing, then the plaintiff
must make out a prima facie case of proper personal
jurisdiction. Purdue Research Found. v.
Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d 773, 782 (7th Cir.
2003). Under the prima facie standard, “the plaintiff
is entitled to have any conflicts in the affidavits (or
supporting materials) resolved in its favor.”
Id. at 783.
this is a case removed to federal court based on diversity
jurisdiction [seeDkt. 6], this Court may only
exercise personal jurisdiction over Economical if a state
court in Indiana would have jurisdiction over Economical as
well. Purdue Research Found., 338 F.3d at 779;
see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(k)(1)(A) (“Serving
a summons or filing a waiver of service establishes personal
jurisdiction over a defendant who is subject to the
jurisdiction of a court of general jurisdiction in the state
where the district court is located.”). This requires a
two-step inquiry. First, the Court must determine whether
Indiana's long-arm statute, Indiana Trial Rule 4.4(A),
subjects Economical to in personam jurisdiction.
Id. Second, the Court must determine “whether
the exercise of jurisdiction over [Economical] comports with
the requirements of federal due process.” Id.
Whether this Court's exercise of personal jurisdiction
over Economical comports with the requirements of federal due
process requires an analysis of both general jurisdiction and
specific jurisdiction. Hyatt Int'l Corp., 302
F.3d at 713. If the Court determines that Indiana's
long-arm statute reaches Economical and that Economical is
subject to either general or specific jurisdiction, then this
Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over Economical, and
the Motion must be denied.
Indiana's Long-Arm Statute
long-arm statute, codified in Indiana Trial Rule 4.4, governs
the jurisdiction of courts within Indiana over anyone who is
“a nonresident of this state, a resident of this state
who has left the state, or a person whose residence is
unknown.” Plaintiff Debbie Marshall specifically points
to Indiana Trial Rule 4.4(A)(1), (4), and (6), which state
that such nonresidents submit to the jurisdiction of Indiana
courts “as to any action arising from the following
acts committed by him or her or his or her agent”:
(1) doing any business in this state;
(4) having supplied or contracted to supply services rendered
or to be rendered or goods or materials furnished or to be
furnished in this state; . . . [or]
(6) contracting to insure or act as surety for or on behalf
of any person, property or risk located within this state at