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A defendant can be subject to personal jurisdiction under Florida's long-arm statute in two ways. First, Fla. Stat. § 48.193(1)(a) lists acts that subject a defendant to specific personal jurisdiction--that is, jurisdiction over suits that arise out of or relate to a defendant's contacts with Florida. Second § 48.193(2) provides that Florida courts may exercise general personal jurisdiction--that is, jurisdiction over any claims against a defendant, whether or not they involve the defendant's activities in Florida--if the defendant engages in substantial and not isolated activity in Florida.
After Tawana Carmouche was injured during a shore excursion operated by Tamborlee Management, Inc., a Panama corporation providing shore excursions for tourists in Belize, she sued Tamborlee for negligence in the Southern District of Florida. Tamborlee moved to dismiss Carmouche's complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, and the district court granted the motion after allowing the parties to take jurisdictional discovery. Carmouche appealed.
Did the district court have personal jurisdiction over the defendant company?
The court affirmed the district court’s judgment, holding that Tamborlee’s connections with Florida were not so continuous and systematic as to render it essentially at home there. Furthermore, there was no assertion that the company ever established its principal place of business in Florida. The court also noted that the plaintiff was not a party to the agreements between the corporation and a cruise ship company, and she did not attempt to enforce the forum-selection clauses in those agreements as a third-party beneficiary.