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To determine whether specific jurisdiction exists, courts examine whether the defendant purposefully availed himself of the privileges of conducting activities in the forum state, and whether the cause of action arises out of or relates to those activities. A defendant's connection with the forum state must be such that he "should reasonably anticipate being haled into court" there. To determine whether specific jurisdiction exists, the Fifth Circuit has developed a three-step analysis. The Court must look to (1) whether the defendant had minimum contacts and purposefully directed its activities toward the forum state or purposefully availed itself of conducting activities there; (2) whether the cause of action arises out of defendant's contacts with the forum state; and (3) whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction is fair and reasonable.
On August 11, 2007, Brian Hunter was working as an electrician in international waters aboard the M/V JASCON 9. Chevron U.S.A., Inc. ("Chevron"), a defendant in this case, hired Dynamic Industries, Inc. ("Dynamic"), to perform certain operations in oilfields it controls off the coast of Angola. Dynamic allegedly arranged for Offshore Contractors Limited ("Offshore") to charter the M/V JASCON 9 to participate in the oilfield operations. Hunter was an employee of T.E.S.T. Automation & Controls, Inc. ("T.E.S.T."), also a defendant, and was a crew member aboard the M/V JASCON 9. While standing on board the ship preparing to transfer to another vessel, a pulley-block from a davit crane malfunctioned, came loose, and struck Hunter on the head. Servtech, a Scottish company, had allegedly inspected the weight-bearing capacity of the davit crane. Hunter filed suit under general maritime law claiming failure to train and supervise, negligent operation, hazardous conditions, and unsafe work environment. Servtech moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Should the action be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction?
Servtech did not have minimum contacts with Louisiana sufficient to justify the exercise of the Court's jurisdiction over the company under the state's long-arm statute. In a declaration filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1356, the joint managing director of Servtech declared that the company conducts no business in Louisiana, enters into no contracts in the state, does not own property in Louisiana and holds no accounts here, and does not market its services or solicit business here. In the instant case, Servtech was retained by Offshore Contractors, a Dutch company, after negotiations in Angola and the United Kingdom. Servtech never entered into any negotiations with Chevron, Dynamic, or T.E.S.T. to work on the M/V JASCON 9, and was not aware that any company subject to jurisdiction in Louisiana was involved in the oilfield operations that gave rise to the instant suit. Hunter has offered no evidence at all to rebuff this evidence and thus has failed to carry his burden of showing personal jurisdiction over Servtech.