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Frank v. Gold's Gym of North Augusta

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 28, 2018

Rachel Frank and Danielle Cowette, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Gold's Gym of North Augusta, South Carolina, Gold's Gym of Augusta, Georgia (Bobby Jones Exp.), Gold's Gym of Augusta, Georgia (Walton Way Ext.) and Gold's Gym of Evans, Georgia, Gold's Gym of Aiken, South Carolina, Defendants.

          Thomas J. Lyons, Esq. counsel for plaintiffs.

          Kevin P. Curry, Esq. and Soule & Stull LLC, counsel for defendants.

          ORDER

          DAVID S. DOTY, JUDGE

         This matter is before the court upon the motion to dismiss by defendants Gold's Gym of North Augusta, South Carolina; Gold's Gym of Augusta, Georgia (Bobby Jones Exp.); Gold's Gym of Augusta, Georgia (Walton Way Ext.); Gold's Gym of Evans, Georgia; and Gold's Gym of Aiken, South Carolina.[1] Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         This dispute arises out of alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq., by various Gold's Gym franchise locations. Plaintiffs Rachel Frank and Danielle Cowette, on behalf of an alleged class, claim that they received unsolicited text messages from a Gold's Gym location in Aiken, South Carolina in violation of the TCPA. Am. Compl. ¶ 1.

         In September 2017, Frank and Cowette, who are Minnesota residents, separately visited Gold's Gym in Aiken, South Carolina. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 25, 33. Because neither of them were members of Gold's Gym, they filled out a form for a guest pass. Id. They provided their Minnesota telephone numbers and indicated that they did not consent to receiving text messages from Gold's Gym. Id. Nevertheless, plaintiffs claim that, between October 10, 2017, and January 29, 2018, they received a total of eight unsolicited text messages from Gold's Gym, Aiken.[2] Id. ¶¶ 26-38.

         On March 26, 2018, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint against defendant claiming (1) negligent violations of the TCPA and (2) knowing or willful violations of the TCPA. Defendants now move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Personal Jurisdiction

         A. Standard

         To 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).

         To 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 omitted).

         A 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 court 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 ...


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