This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed March 25, 2003
Lac Qui Parle County District Court
File No. C202078
Ronald R. Frauenshuh, Jr., 129 N.W. 2nd Street, Ortonville, MN 56278 (for appellant)
Andrew J. Laufers, 506 2nd Street W., Madison, MN 56256 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Willis, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges the district court’s determination that Minnesota courts do not have personal jurisdiction over respondent. Because we conclude that respondent is not subject to personal jurisdiction in Minnesota, we affirm.
Appellant Rhonda Baxter, a Minnesota resident, is the current spouse of Walter Gary Baxter, who was formerly married to respondent Gail Baxter, a California resident. Appellant sued respondent, alleging that respondent contacted the Internal Revenue Service and pretended to be appellant, thereby wrongfully obtaining a copy of appellant’s tax return.
Walter Baxter asserted in an affidavit that respondent (1) “has conducted substantial and significant business in Minnesota”; (2) resided in Minnesota for more than 20 years and had a Minnesota driver’s license and paid Minnesota income tax; and (3) “accumulated” an IRA and an annuity, both “still located in Minnesota.”
Respondent stated in an affidavit that (1) she owns stock worth about $130 in Wood Lake Elevator & Trading Company, a Minnesota corporation; (2) she does not own an IRA or an annuity; (3) she has “not done business in Minnesota since 1992”; (4) she has not been in Minnesota since 1993; (5) she does not intend to return to Minnesota; and (6) she has no friends in Minnesota.
Respondent moved to dismiss appellant’s complaint for a lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court granted the motion, finding that (1) respondent’s former residence in Minnesota, her stock holding, and Walter Baxter’s assertions were insufficient to support general personal jurisdiction and (2) respondent is not subject to personal jurisdiction because appellant asserts a privacy cause of action and the alleged injury-causing act occurred outside the state. This appeal follows.
Whether personal jurisdiction exists is a question of law, which we review de novo. Griffis v. Luban, 646 N.W.2d 527, 531 (Minn. 2002). “When jurisdiction is challenged, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving that sufficient contacts exist with the forum state to support personal jurisdiction.” V.H. v. Estate of Birnbaum, 543 N.W.2d 649, 653 (Minn. 1996) (citation omitted). The plaintiff’s allegations in support of jurisdiction should be taken as true, and doubts should be resolved in favor of retention of jurisdiction. Id.
For a Minnesota court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant, the defendant must come within the reach of the long-arm statute, Minn. Stat. § 543.19 (2002), and the exercise of jurisdiction under the long-arm statute must comport with constitutional due-process requirements. V.H., 543 N.W.2d at 654. Because the legislature intended the long-arm statute “to have the maximum extraterritorial effect allowed under the due process clause,” id. (quotation omitted), “[i]f the personal jurisdiction requirements of the federal constitution are met, the requirements of the long-arm statute will necessarily be met also.” Valspar Corp. v. Lukken Color Corp., 495 N.W.2d 408, 411 (Minn. 1992). “Thus, when analyzing most personal jurisdiction questions, Minnesota courts may simply apply the federal case law.” Id.
A state court can exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant consistent with due process only if the defendant has “minimum contacts” with the forum state so that “maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Int’l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S. Ct. 154, 158 (1945) (quotation omitted). A court can exercise “specific” jurisdiction if a claim arises from the defendant’s contacts with the forum state. Valspar, 495 N.W.2d at 411. But if the nonresident defendant has “continuous and systematic” contacts with the forum state, the court can exercise “general” jurisdiction over the defendant even if the claim is unrelated to the defendant’s contacts with the forum state. Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414, 104 S. Ct. 1868, 1872 (1984) (quotation omitted).
Here, nothing in the record shows that appellant’s cause of action is related to the contacts that appellant claims respondent has with Minnesota. Respondent is subject to personal jurisdiction in Minnesota, therefore, only if she has systematic and continuous contacts with the state. To decide whether respondent has sufficient minimum contacts to justify the exercise of general jurisdiction, this court examines five factors: (1) the quantity of the contacts with the forum state, (2) the nature and quality of the contacts, (3) the source and connection of the cause of action with the contacts, (4) the interest of the state in providing a forum, and (5) the convenience of the parties. See V.H., 543 N.W.2d at 657. “[T]he first three factors are primary in the jurisdiction analysis, while the other two factors are secondary.” Id. (citation omitted).
Taking as true appellant’s allegations in support of personal jurisdiction, respondent’s current contacts with Minnesota consist of her ownership of $130 of stock in a Minnesota corporation and an IRA and an annuity that are located in Minnesota. But “mere stock ownership is not a sufficient contact to gain personal jurisdiction over a party.” In re Hibbing Taconite Co., 431 N.W.2d 885, 893 (Minn. App. 1988) (citing Asarco, Inc. v. Idaho State Tax Commissioner, 458 U.S. 307, 102 S. Ct. 3103 (1982)); see also Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 216, 97 S. Ct. 2569, 2586 (1977) (noting that “it strains reason” to suggest that someone buying securities in a corporation impliedly consents to personal jurisdiction in the state of incorporation for any cause of action). Although Walter Baxter asserts in his affidavit that respondent “has conducted substantial and significant business in Minnesota,” he apparently refers to business that respondent conducted when she lived in Minnesota because nothing in the record shows that she currently conducts business in the state. The record does not, therefore, show that respondent has any contacts with Minnesota.
Appellant also argues that under the “effects test,” discussed in Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 104 S. Ct. 1482 (1984), the exercise of personal jurisdiction over respondent is consistent with due process. In Calder, the Supreme Court held that long-arm jurisdiction could be based on the in-state effects of tortious conduct that occurred outside of the state. Id. at 788-89, 104 S. Ct. 1486. The Minnesota Supreme Court interpreted Calder in Griffis, 646 N.W.2d at 534, holding that the effects test
requires the plaintiff to show that: (1) the defendant committed an intentional tort; (2) the plaintiff felt the brunt of the harm caused by that tort in the forum such that the forum state was the focal point of the plaintiff’s injury; and (3) the defendant expressly aimed the tortious conduct at the forum such that the forum state was the focal point of the tortious activity.
The Griffis court noted that “something more than mere effects in the forum state is required” and agreed with the Third Circuit that the Supreme Court did not “‘carve out a special intentional torts exception to the traditional specific jurisdiction analysis, so that a plaintiff could always sue in his or her home state.’” Id. at 535 (quoting Imo Indus., Inc. v. Kiekert AG, 155 F.3d 254, 265 (3d Cir. 1998)).
The supreme court noted that the Griffis plaintiff argued that the alleged defamation was directed at Alabama because the defendant knew that the plaintiff resided in Alabama and knew that the comments posted to the website could be read by anyone in Alabama. Griffis, 646 N.W.2d at 535. But the court held that the website to which the comments were posted was not exclusive to Alabama; rather, it could be accessed anywhere in the world. Id. at 536. Similarly, appellant appears to argue that, because appellant resides in Minnesota, respondent’s conduct could only be directed at Minnesota. But the record shows that respondent was not in Minnesota when she allegedly acted, and there is no evidence that the tax return that she allegedly obtained came from Minnesota. The record does not, therefore, show that respondent “expressly aimed” her conduct at Minnesota.
Further, the Caldereffects test is not a substitute for the requirement that a defendant have minimum contacts with the forum state. Since Calder, the Supreme Court has noted that “the constitutional touchstone remains whether the defendant purposefully established minimum contacts in the forum [s]tate.” Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474, 206 S. Ct. 2174, 2183 (1985) (quotation omitted). Because respondent does not have sufficient minimum contacts with Minnesota, she is not subject to personal jurisdiction here.