United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Rust Consulting, Inc. Plaintiff,
Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky Wotkyns, LLP, Defendant.
Michael R. Cunningham, Esq., Amy E. Erickson, Esq. and Gray
Plant Mooty, counsel for plaintiff.
G. Bates, Esq. and Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky
Wotkyns, LLP, counsel for defendant.
K. Shelquist, Esq. and Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, counsel
S. Doty, Judge
matter is before the court upon the motion to dismiss or
transfer venue by defendant Schneider Wallace Cottrell
Konecky Wotkyns LLP. Based on a review of the file, record,
and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the
motion is denied.
contract dispute arises out of defendant Schneider
Wallace's alleged failure to pay plaintiff Rust
Consulting, Inc. for rendered services. In 2011, Schneider
Wallace, a law firm based in California, and Rust, a
Minnesota consulting services company, entered into a Master
Services Agreement in which Rust agreed to perform services
for Schneider Wallace relating to certain mass tort actions.
Compl. ¶¶ 1-3; Blake Aff. Ex. A. The agreement
provides that any claims arising from or in connection to the
agreement are governed by Minnesota law. Blake Aff. Ex. A
¶ 11. From 2011 to 2013, Rust provided client intake
services, project consulting, call center services, data
management, medical record collection and review, client
portal design and maintenance, forms processing, and
reporting services for Schneider Wallace in connection with
nine separate tort cases. Blake Aff. ¶¶ 5, 16. Most
of this work was performed by Rust's employees located in
Minnesota. Id. ¶ 17.
claims that, from April 2012 through December 2013, it sent
invoices to Schneider Wallace for its services totaling $323,
756.22 and that Schneider Wallace has failed to pay. Compl.
¶¶ 8-9. Rust also alleges that it is entitled to a
per-claim fee of $2, 500 for each resolved claim in the
relevant mass tort actions. Id. ¶¶ 10-12.
October 9, 2017, Rust filed suit in Hennepin County court
alleging breach of contract, account stated, quantum meruit,
and accounting. Schneider Wallace timely removed and now
moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, for
failure to state a claim, and for improper venue and, in the
alternative, to transfer venue to the Northern District of
Personal Jurisdiction A. Standard of Review
survive a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, a plaintiff must establish a prima facie case
that the forum state has personal jurisdiction over the
defendant. Stevens v. Redwing, 146 F.3d 538, 543
(8th Cir. 1998). In the absence of an evidentiary hearing, a
court “must look at the facts in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party and resolve all factual
conflicts in favor of that party.” Dakota Indus.,
Inc. v. Dakota Sportswear, Inc., 946 F.2d 1384, 1387
(8th Cir. 1991). A federal court may assume jurisdiction over
a nonresident defendant “only to the extent permitted
by the long-arm statute of the forum state and by the Due
Process Clause.” Romak USA, Inc. v. Rich, 384
F.3d 979, 984 (8th Cir. 2004) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). Because the Minnesota long-arm
statute “confers jurisdiction to the fullest extent
permitted by the Due Process Clause, ” the court need
only consider due process requirements. Coen v.
Coen, 509 F.3d 900, 905 (8th Cir. 2007).
satisfy due process, a defendant must have “sufficient
minimum contacts” with the forum state such that
maintaining the suit “does not offend traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice.”
Romak, 384 F.3d at 984. “Sufficient contacts
exist when [a] defendant's conduct and connection with
the forum state are such that [it] should reasonably
anticipate being haled into court” here. Coen,
509 F.3d at 905 (citation and internal quotation marks
defendant's contacts with the forum state can establish
personal jurisdiction under either general or specific
jurisdiction. General jurisdiction is present when,
regardless of the cause of action, a defendant's
“affiliations with the [forum] State are so continuous
and systematic as to render [it] essentially at home in the
forum State.” Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct.
746, 754 (2014) (internal quotation marks omitted)(quoting
Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564
U.S. 915, 919 (2011)). A forum state has specific
jurisdiction when the cause of action “arise[s] out
of” or “relate[s] to” a defendant's
activities within that state and when a defendant
“purposefully avails itself of the privilege of
conducting activities within the forum State.”
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472,
474-75 (1985) (citation and internal quotation marks
either analysis, the Eighth Circuit considers five factors in
determining whether personal jurisdiction exists: “(1)
the nature and quality of defendant's contacts with the
forum state; (2) quantity of contacts; (3) source and
connection of the cause of action with those contacts; and to
a lesser degree, (4) the interest of the forum state; and (5)
the convenience of the parties.” Wessels, Arnold
& Henderson v. Nat'l Med. Waste, Inc., 65 F.3d
1427, 1432 (8th Cir. 1995).
breach of contract cases, courts determine whether a
defendant purposefully availed itself of the forum state by
considering the prior negotiations, contemplated future
consequences, and terms of the contract, and the parties'
actual course of dealings. Morris v. Barkbuster,