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Obtaining Personal Jurisdiction Over and Out of State Law Enforcement Official

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

A plaintiff who had their constitutional rights violated by a federal agent or by an out of state law enforcement personnel can establish jurisdiction 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.”

Davis v. United States, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2551, 03civ1800 (NRB), 2004 WL 324880, at LEXIS 15-16 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 19, 2004) 


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.