Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Traylor v. Trinity River Energy

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division

May 12, 2017

WILLIE TRAYLOR, JR. PLAINTIFF
v.
TRINITY RIVER ENERGY DEFENDANT

          ORDER

          Susan O. Hickey United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Defendant Trinity River Energy's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim. (ECF No. 11). Plaintiff Willie Traylor, Jr. has not responded to the motion, and the time to do so has passed. The Court finds the matter ripe for consideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed this action regarding a 654.108 acre tract called the LCV RA SUG Unit (“the Property”), located in Quitman, Louisiana. Plaintiff alleges that his mother “had a working interest (owner) relationship” in the minerals and gas under the Property[1]with the entities who had drilling rights to the Property. Plaintiff states that his mother died in 2013, and that he discovered in January 2014 that he was an heir to his mother. Plaintiff states that Defendant received the drilling rights to the Property on March 1, 2015. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant “has systematically and discriminatorily refused and failed to pay Plaintiff the full royalties due and owing and without the consent of the new heir(s) of the wells/land.” (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges further that Defendant denied him an opportunity to enter into negotiations, agreements, or contracts.

         Plaintiff asserts multiple claims against Defendant, including denial of contract; fraud; conversion; breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; discrimination; unjust enrichment; and a claim under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Plaintiff also requests a declaratory judgment that Defendant acted contrary to law; asserts that he is entitled to a security interest and statutory lien in oil and gas production and in the identifiable proceeds of that production; and demands that an accounting take place regarding Defendant's monthly production volumes of gas and the royalty payments made to Plaintiff's mother.

         On March 30, 2017, Defendant filed the instant motion, arguing that Plaintiff's case should be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, or in the alternative, that Plaintiff's case should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff did not respond to the motion, and his time to respond expired on April 13, 2017.

         On April 25, 2017, the Court entered a Show Cause Order, giving Plaintiff fourteen days to either show cause why he had not responded to Defendant's motion to dismiss, or to respond to the motion. (ECF No. 15). The Show Cause Order warned Plaintiff that failure to respond could result in the Court granting Defendant's motion and dismissing this case. As of the date of this Order, Plaintiff has not responded to Defendant's motion or otherwise responded to the Court's Show Cause Order.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Defendant argues that the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's case pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) because the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendant. Defendant argues in the alternative that the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's case pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) because Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff offers no response to either argument. The Court will first examine Defendant's Rule 12(b)(2) argument, and if necessary, the Court will then take up Defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) argument.

         A. Personal Jurisdiction

         Defendant argues that the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's case pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2) because the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendant.

         Rule 12(b)(2) provides that a party may move to dismiss claims for lack of jurisdiction over the person. To defeat a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, a plaintiff must make a prima facie showing of jurisdiction. Bell Paper Box, Inc. v. U.S. Kids, Inc., 22 F.3d 816, 818 (8th Cir. 1994). This prima facie showing must be tested, not by the complaint alone, but “by the affidavits and exhibits presented with the [motion to dismiss] and in opposition thereto.” Block Indus. v. DHJ Indus., Inc., 495 F.2d 256, 260 (8th Cir. 1974). If a court does not hold a hearing on personal jurisdiction and instead bases its determination on the parties' written submissions, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Dakota Indus., Inc. v. Dakota Sportswear, Inc., 946 F.2d 1384, 1387 (8th Cir. 1991). When conclusory allegations in a complaint are contested and a plaintiff supplies no factual foundation, the complaint's conclusory allegations are insufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. See Dever v. Hentzen Coatings, Inc., 380 F.3d 1070, 1072-73 (8th Cir. 2004). While Plaintiff ultimately bears the burden of proof on the issue, personal jurisdiction does not have to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence until trial or an evidentiary hearing. See Dakota Indus., Inc., 946 F.2d at 1387.

         Defendant argues that there is no basis for personal jurisdiction in this case because it does not conduct any operations or business in Arkansas and has no place of business, mailing address, bank accounts, personal property, or real property in Arkansas. Defendant argues further that there is no connection between Defendant and Arkansas, as the Property at issue is located in Louisiana.

         A federal court sitting in diversity may assume jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant to the extent permitted by the forum state's long-arm statute. Arkansas's long-arm statute provides that: “[t]he courts of this state shall have personal jurisdiction of all persons, and all causes of action or claims for relief, to the maximum extent permitted by the due process of law ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.