Magistrate Judge Recommends No Personal Jurisdiction Over Exelon Corporation in Delaware U.S. District Court of Delaware, September 14, 2017
DELAWARE — Plaintiffs Michael and Sally Harding filed claims in Delaware state court due to Michael Harding’s exposure to asbestos while working as a pipefitter for the United States Navy from 1963-67. Defendant Crane Co. removed to federal court. Defendant Exelon Corporation moved for dismissal due to lack of personal jurisdiction. Exelon was not a Delaware business entity and did not have a principal place of business in Delaware. The plaintiffs did not respond to Exelon’s motion to dismiss. The magistrate judge recommended granting this motion.
To establish personal jurisdiction, plaintiffs must produce facts sufficient to satisfy both statutory and constitutional requirements. First, the court must determine whether there was a statutory basis for jurisdiction under the forum state’s long-arm statute. Second, the court must determine whether the exercise of jurisdiction satisfied due process. Delaware’s long-arm statute required a showing of specific jurisdiction or general jurisdiction. If defendants are found to be within the reach of the long-arm statute, the court must then analyze whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction comported with due process, by determining whether defendant “‘purposefully avail[ed] itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state,'” such that defendants could reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.
Here, the plaintiffs did not satisfy their burden to prove, by a preponderance of evidence, facts sufficient to establish jurisdiction. The plaintiffs provided nothing more than the conclusory statement that Exelon was a foreign business entity doing business in Delaware. Further, the plaintiffs did not respond to Exelon’s motion to dismiss. Specific jurisdiction did not exist because the plaintiff did all his alleged asbestos-exposure work in Connecticut, not Delaware. The plaintiffs did not allege that any wrongful conduct by Exelon occurred in Delaware. The plaintiff was a resident of Connecticut, not Delaware.
Likewise general jurisdiction did not exist because Exelon was not a Delaware business entity and did not have a principal place of business in Delaware. Exelon was not “‘at home'” in Delaware. Further, the Delaware Supreme Court has noted that the United States Supreme Court “rejected the notion that ‘a corporation is subject to general jurisdiction in every state in which it ‘engages in a substantial, continuous, and systematic course of business’ calling that position ‘unacceptably grasping.'”