Law School Case Brief
DTE Energy Techs., Inc. v. Briggs Elec., Inc. - No. 06-12347, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13523 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 28, 2007)
To satisfy due process the defendant must have certain minimum contacts with the forum state, such that the exercise of personal jurisdiction does not offend the traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.
A Michigan corporation with its principal place of business in Farmington Hills, Michigan, began negotiations with Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian ("Hoag") for the sale of electric generator systems to be installed as part of a construction project ("Project") at Hoag's site in Newport Beach, California. On May 6, 2003, Hoag and DPR Construction, Inc. ("DPR") entered into a contract where DPR would act as general contractor for the Project. On August 1, 2003, Hoag informed Plaintiff that it would not be entering into a contract with Plaintiff and "instead directed Plaintiff to attempt to negotiate a subcontract for the sale of the electric generator systems with an unspecified subcontractor of DPR. Defendant later won the bid as the subcontractor. Part of Defendant's obligation as subcontractor was to perform the electrical work on the Project, which included "procuring and installing the electric generator systems." On October 21, 2003, Defendant sent a purchase order to Plaintiff. Defendant contends that the purchase order constituted an offer, which was accepted through email. Plaintiff initiated this diversity lawsuit after the Defendant allegedly breached a contract for the sale of electric generator systems. Plaintiff, in its amended complaint, sought: (1) damages based on Defendant's alleged failure to pay invoices and (2) declaratory relief prohibiting Defendant from both obtaining incidental or consequential damages and forcing Plaintiff to mediate this dispute in California. The Defendant filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue.
Should the Court grant Defendant's motion to dismiss?
The Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss. It did not believe Plaintiff satisfied its burden of establishing a prima facie showing that personal jurisdiction existed over Defendant. Even while viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to Plaintiff, it was the Court's opinion that Defendant was not bound by the Michigan forum-selection clause. Furthermore, the Court did not believe Defendant's contacts with Michigan, as reflected by the present record, were sufficient to satisfy the Due Process Clause.
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