United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley, Jr., Senior Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant LG Chem America,
Inc.'s (LGCAI) Motion to Dismiss. [DN 6]. Fully briefed,
this matter is ripe for decision. For the following reasons,
LGCAI's motion is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Chad Bullock purchased two batteries online marketed and sold
as green Samsung lithium-ion batteries from Defendant Otto
Imports, LLC. [DN 1-2 at 19]. Bullock purchased the batteries
to power his electronic cigarette. [Id.]. After
Bullock received the batteries, he placed them in his pocket
and went to work. [Id.]. While working, Bullock
alleges that he heard a loud sound and suddenly the batteries
caused his pants to go up in flames, which resulted in his
injuries. [Id.]. Following the incident, Bullock
allegedly discovered that the batteries that he had purchased
from Otto Imports were actually rewrapped LG lithium-ion
batteries. [Id. at 20]. Bullock alleges that LG
sells its lower quality or defective batteries to other
manufactures or distributors of lithium-ion batteries, and
those other entities replace the exterior wrapping and sell
the battery under a different name. [Id. at 17-18].
filed suit against Defendants Otto Imports, LGCAI, and LG
Chem Co., LTD., in Ohio County Circuit Court alleging strict
liability and negligence claims. [DN 1-2 at 5-32]. LGCAI
removed the case to the United States District Court for the
Western District of Kentucky, Owensboro Division based on
diversity jurisdiction. [DN 1 at 1]. LGCAI now moves to
dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction. [DN 6 at 1].
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) governs the dismissal of a
case based on lack of personal jurisdiction. When faced with
a properly supported 12(b)(2) motion, “the plaintiff
may not stand on his pleadings but must, by affidavit or
otherwise, set forth specific facts showing that the court
has jurisdiction.” Theunissen v. Matthews, 935
F.2d 1454, 1458 (6th Cir. 1991) (citation omitted).
“[T]he court has three procedural alternatives: it may
decide the motion upon the affidavits alone; it may permit
discovery in aid of deciding the motion; or it may conduct an
evidentiary hearing to resolve any apparent factual
questions.” Id. (citation omitted). A court
has discretion to select the procedural method that it will
follow. Id. (citations omitted). The parties do not
request an evidentiary hearing. “Although the plaintiff
bears the burden of demonstrating facts that support personal
jurisdiction, courts are to assist the plaintiff by allowing
jurisdictional discovery unless the plaintiff's claim is
‘clearly frivolous.'” Lindsey v. Cargotec
USA, Inc., No. 4:09-CV-00071-JHM, 2010 WL 3397355, at *1
(W.D. Ky. Aug. 26, 2010) (citing Toys “R” Us,
Inc. v. Step Two, S.A., 318 F.3d 446, 456 (3d Cir.
argues that Bullock has not alleged facts that would support
the exercise of personal jurisdiction. [DN 6 at 4-7]. Bullock
responds that he is “at a minimum entitled to discovery
given the averments in the Complaint that LGCAI intentionally
targeted Kentucky with defective batteries, LGCAI's
admission to having a warehouse in Kentucky, and LGCAI's
registration to do business in Kentucky.” [DN 8 at 1].
has properly supported its motion with an affidavit as
evidence that the Court has no personal jurisdiction over it.
[DN 6-1]. Bullock has supported his motion with LGCAI's
registration with the Kentucky Secretary of State,
LCGAI's annual report filed with the Secretary of State,
the webpage of a business that sells LG Chem lithium
batteries, and a lithium battery safety guide that purports
to be for LG Chem products. [DN 8-1, DN 8-2, DN 8-3, DN 8-4].
Since LGCAI is registered to do business in Kentucky, rents a
warehouse to store products sold to Kentucky consumers, and
engages in limited business activities in Kentucky,
Bullock's claim is not clearly frivolous. [DN 8-1, DN 6-1
at 3, DN 9 at 6]. However, Bullock does not provide enough
evidence to prove personal jurisdiction. Bullock relies on
the broad allegations in his Complaint and does not support
his response with enough specific facts to prove that LGCAI
would be subject to the Court's jurisdiction. [DN 8 at
4-5]. But Bullock has requested jurisdictional discovery, and
the Court will grant this request. Additional facts are
needed to ascertain the extent of LGCAI's contacts with
reasons set forth above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
LGCAI's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED WIHTOUT PREJUDICE.
LGCAI may refile its motion after Bullock has had an
opportunity to conduct limited discovery. No. later than
April 6, 2020, the parties shall complete discovery on the
issue of ...