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Personal Jurisdiction’s Two Prong Inquiry

If you are suing a nonresident defendant, i.e., you are NOT located in Florida, this two-step inquiry to determine whether Florida courts have personal jurisdiction over you–the nonresident defendant–is important:

Florida courts conduct a two-step inquiry to determine whether a court has personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant.

First, it must be determined that the complaint alleges sufficient jurisdictional facts to bring the action within the ambit of the statute; and if it does, the next inquiry is whether sufficient “minimum contacts” are demonstrated to satisfy due process requirements.

The first prong — i.e., the statutory prong — … is governed by Florida’s long-arm statute and bestows broad jurisdiction on Florida courts. A court can exercise personal jurisdiction, inter alia, whenever a foreign corporation commits a “tortious act” on Florida soil. The second prong — i.e., the constitutional prong — is controlled by United States Supreme Court precedent interpreting the Due Process Clause and imposes a more restrictive requirement. A court can exercise personal jurisdiction only if the foreign corporation maintains “certain minimum contacts with [the forum state] such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.’ ”

Pianezza v. MIA Collection Services LLC, 49 Fla.L.Weekly D521a (Fla. 3d DCA 2024) (internal citations omitted).

In Pianezza, the trial court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss on the basis of lack of personal jurisdiction.  The plaintiff sued the defendant and defendant’s officers for tortious conduct. Although a non-evidentiary hearing was conducted, evidence (declarations and deposition transripts) were considered. The trial court found the plaintiff alleged sufficient facts in its operative complaint supporting personal jurisdiction over the defendants.

As to the first prong, Florida’s long arm statute in Section 48.193, Florida Statutes, provides for personal jurisdiction over persons that commit tortious acts within Florida. The court fund that the plaintiff satisfied this prong: “[Plaintiff’s] complaint sufficiently alleged [Defendants] committed a tortious act within this state by directing telephonic and electronic communications into Florida in which they allegedly fraudulently misrepresented the authenticity of Hermes handbags sold to [Plaintiff].” Pianezza, supra.

As to the second prong dealing with the constitutional due process requirement for minimum contacts, [t]he test is whether ‘the defendant’s conduct and connection with the forum State are such that he should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.’Pianezza, supra (internal citations omitted). The court found that the plaintiff satisfied this prong: “Here, the intentional tort of fraudulent inducement was aimed at [Plaintiff], a Florida resident…[T]he fact is [the Defendants] became aware of the [Plaintiff’s] location in Florida and chose to continue with the business transaction rather than discontinuing the relationship.”Pianezza, supra.


Please contact David Adelstein at [email protected] or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.




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