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Can a New York resident acquire personal jurisdiction in New York Federal District Court of a foreign municipality in a 1983 lawsuit?

Yes, The district court has personal jurisdiction over a foreign municipality.  In deciding a pretrial motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction a district court has considerable procedural leeway. It may determine the motion on the basis of affidavits alone; or it may permit discovery in aid of the motion; or it may conduct an evidentiary hearing on the merits of the motion. If the court chooses not to conduct a full-blown evidentiary hearing on the motion, the plaintiff need make only a prima facie showing of jurisdiction through its own affidavits and supporting materials.  Marine Midland Bank v. Miller, 664 F.2d 899, 904 (2d Cir. 1981) (internal citations omitted); see also New Moon Shipping Co. v. Man B & W Diesel AG, 121 F.3d 24, 29 (2d Cir. 1997).

In responding to a Defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff bear the burden of showing that jurisdiction exists over the defendants. See Distefano v. Carozzi North America, Inc., 286 F.3d 81, 84 (2d Cir. 2001). However, pre-discovery plaintiffs “need only make a prima facie case showing” that the Court has jurisdiction over the defendants. Id.  Plaintiffs “need not show regular or continuous activity in the state; even a single act within New York is sufficient to confer jurisdiction under § 302(a) if it has sufficient nexus with the cause of action.” Correspondent Servs. Corp. v. J.V.W. Investments Ltd., 120 F. Supp.2d 401, 404 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) (citations omitted).

There is only one Court of Appeals case that has dealt with this specific personal jurisdiction issue.  Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668 (9th Cir. 2001), overruled on other grounds as recognized by Galbraith v. Cnty. of Santa Clara, 307 F.3d 1119, 1125-26 (9th Cir. 2002).  In Lee the 9th Circuit ruled that New York law enforcement officials “took the ‘deliberate actions’ of requesting that the LAPD arrange the extradition of a purported fugitive, using the California criminal justice system to accomplish the extradition, sending the LAPD an identification packet to facilitate the extradition, regularly communicating with the LAPD during the extradition process, and traveling to Los Angeles to escort the purported fugitive back to New York.” Id. at 693. The Court found that those New York defendants who participated actively in the plaintiff’s extradition to New York had “purposefully availed themselves of the privilege of conducting activities in California.” Id. at 694.

Under New York law, a court “may exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant based either on general jurisdiction under [New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules (“CPLR”)] § 301, or specific jurisdiction, under CPLR § 302.” Overseas Ventures, LLC v. ROW Mgmt., Ltd., No. 12-CV-1033, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159097, 2012 WL 5363782, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 26, 2012). “Under CPLR § 301 general jurisdiction, which arises out of a defendant’s contacts with the forum even if the contacts are unrelated to the action before the Court, is established over a foreign [defendant] engaging in a ‘continuous and systematic course of doing business in New York.'” TAGC Mgmt., LLC v. Lehman, 842 F. Supp. 2d 575, 581 (S.D.N.Y. 2012).  Under Section 302(a) the state can obtain long arm jurisdiction if:

Section 302(a) provides in relevant part:

A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over any non-domiciliary, or his executor or administrator, who in person or through an agent:

  1. transacts any business within the state or contracts anywhere to supply goods or services in the state; or
    2. commits a tortious act within the state, except as to a cause of action for defamation of character arising from the act; or
    3. commits a tortious act without the state causing injury to person or property within the state, except as to a cause of action for defamation of character arising from the act, if he

(i) regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered, in the state, or
(ii) expects or should reasonably expect the act to have consequences in the state and derives substantial revenue from interstate or international commerce; or

  1. owns, uses or possesses any real property situated within the state.

CPLR § 302 emphasis added

Personal jurisdiction is acquired over the foreign state Defendants based on either Section 302(a)(2) and/or 302(a)(3).  Based upon CPLR § 302(a)(2) a venue acquires personal jurisdiction over a defendant when the defendant, “commits a tortious act within the state”  Davis v. United States, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2551, 03civ1800 (NRB), 2004 WL 324880, (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 19, 2004) (finding personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state law enforcement agent under §302(a) based on the fact that the agent was present in the State of New York during the arrest),  CPLR § 302(a)(2).  Furthermore, in federal cases involving § 1983 claims arising out of a single arrest in New York State of which the out-of-state defendant was present and participated in the actual arrest it is held that the defendant is subject to suit in New York pursuant to CPLR § 302(a).  Under this set of facts Davis v. United States, unequivocally finds a sufficient nexus for personal jurisdiction.

“At the center of plaintiff’s case is his arrest, which occurred within New York State. As it is undisputed that Agent Delia was present at and participated in plaintiff’s arrest, this Court has jurisdiction over him for claims arising out of that arrest. Because each of plaintiff’s claims is related to the criminal investigation and prosecution that were carried out with respect to plaintiff, there is a sufficient nexus between the jurisdictional act and the present causes of action. Accordingly, this Court may properly exercise jurisdiction over Agent Delia.”

Further, “Plaintiffs need not show regular or continuous activity in the state; even a single act within New York is sufficient to confer jurisdiction under § 302(a) if it has sufficient nexus with the cause of action.'” Davis v. United States, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2551, 2004 WL 324880, at *5 (S.D.N.Y.) (quoting Correspondent Servs. Corp. v. J.V.W. Investments Ltd., 120 F.Supp.2d 401, 404 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)). One transaction is sufficient to support jurisdiction under § 302 “so long as the defendant’s activities here were purposeful and there is a substantial relationship between the transaction and the claim asserted.” Elmaghraby, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21434, [WL] at *9 (quoting Kreutter v. McFadden Oil Corp., 71 N.Y.2d 460, 467, 522 N.E.2d 40, 527 N.Y.S.2d 195 (1988)).  See also Scott v. NASCAR, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5039 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 17, 2008).  Clearly, as discussed in Davis the act of traveling to the state of New York in order to participate in an arrest of a New York resident creates a sufficient nexus between the jurisdiction and the defendant to acquire jurisdiction under§ 302.