This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).







Perry Schwartz, et al.,


Virtucom, Inc., et al.,

St. Regis Ventures, Inc., d/b/a Virtucom Group,



Filed January 17, 2006


Toussaint, Chief Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. CT 02-265



James H. Kaster, Jessica J. Clay, Nichols Kaster & Anderson, PLLP, 4644 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondents)


Jack E. Pierce, Pierce Law Firm, P.A., 6040 Earle Brown Drive, Suite 420, Minneapolis, MN 55430 (for appellant)



            Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Worke, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

St. Regis Ventures, Inc., d/b/a Virtucom Group, appeals from the denial of its motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, arguing that the district court erroneously determined that it had general personal jurisdiction over the appellant.  Because we conclude that respondent has established a prima facie showing of continuous and systematic contacts between appellant and Minnesota, we affirm.


The existence of personal jurisdiction is a question of law, which we review de novo.  Nw. Airlines, Inc. v. Friday, 617 N.W.2d 590, 592 (Minn. App. 2000).  Plaintiff bears the burden to make a prima facie showing that the nonresident defendant has sufficient contacts with the forum.  Dent-Air, Inc. v. Beech Mountain Air Serv., Inc., 332 N.W.2d 904, 906-07 (Minn. 1983).  This remains the focus of the inquiry even if the nonresident defendant disputes the extent of its contacts with the forum state.  Id. at 907 n.1.  In close cases, “doubts should be resolved in favor of retention of jurisdiction.”  Hardrives, Inc. v. City of LaCrosse, 307 Minn. 290, 296, 240 N.W.2d 814, 818 (1976).

In considering a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02 (2004), “the factual allegations in the complaint and supporting affidavits are to be taken as true.”  Marquette Nat’l Bank of Minneapolis v. Norris, 270 N.W.2d 290, 292 (Minn. 1978).  Therefore, for purposes of determining personal jurisdiction, the district court may look beyond the complaint to other facts in evidence without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment.  Hunt v. Nevada State Bank, 285 Minn. 77, 83, 172 N.W.2d 292, 297 (1969).  Plaintiff may satisfy its burden and make a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction even if the district court believes a more developed record might reveal that a basis for such jurisdiction is lacking.  Dever v. Hentzen Coatings, Inc., 380 F.3d 1070, 1076 (8th Cir. 2004). 

Due process requires that, for purposes of personal jurisdiction, “the defendant has ‘minimum contacts’ with the state so that ‘maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.’”  Griffis v. Luban, 646 N.W.2d 527, 531-32 (Minn. 2002) (quoting Int’l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S. Ct. 154, 158 (1945)).  The non-resident “should reasonably anticipate being haled into the [state’s] court.”  World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297, 100 S. Ct. 559, 567 (1980).  Therefore, “[w]here the defendant had ‘continuous and systematic’ contacts with the forum state, the court can exercise ‘general’ jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant for all purposes, even for a claim that is not related to the defendant’s contacts with the forum state.”  Griffis, 646 N.W.2d at 532 (citing Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 415 n.9, 104 S. Ct. 1868, 1872 n.9 (1984)).

Minnesota courts utilize a five-factor test to ascertain when sufficient contacts give rise to personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant.  Hardrives, 307 Minn. at 294, 240 N.W.2d at 817 (adopting the reasoning of Aftanase v. Economy Baler Co., 343 F.2d 187 (8th Cir. 1965)).  The five factors are

(1) the quantity of the contacts;

(2) the nature and quality of the contacts;

(3) the source and connection of those contacts to the cause of action;

(4) the interest of the forum state; and

(5) the convenience of the parties.

Dent-Air, 332 N.W.2d at 907.  The first two factors are dispositive for purposes of a general-personal-jurisdiction analysis.  See Hardrives, 307 Minn. at 298, 240 N.W.2d at 819.  Chiefly, the district court must ascertain whether the nonresident defendant “purposefully availed[ed]” itself of the benefits of Minnesota law.  Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253, 78 S. Ct. 1228, 1240 (1958).

Here, the quantity and quality of appellant’s contacts with Minnesota are critical to a finding of general personal jurisdiction and are best analyzed by looking at the appellant’s contacts in the aggregate.  Compare Perkins v. Benguet Consol. Mining Co., 342 U.S. 437, 445, 447-48, 72 S. Ct. 413, 418, 419 (1952) (holding that the exercise of general personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation was “reasonable and just” because the president maintained an office where he kept company files, held directors’ meetings, conducted business correspondence, and distributed salary checks drawn on bank accounts within the forum), and Lakin v. Prudential Sec., Inc., 348 F.3d 704, 714 (8th Cir. 2003) (allowing for jurisdictional discovery because plaintiff alleged that defendant entered into numerous business transactions with forum residents and because defendant maintained an interactive website that allowed a user to exchange electronic mail, establish online accounts, and calculate home-mortgage rates), with Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 415-17, 104 S. Ct. at 1872-73 (finding that contacts of Colombian corporation were not continuous and systematic when foreign corporation made purchases and related trips to forum, when CEO traveled to forum once to negotiate contract, and when checks payable to foreign corporation were drawn on forum bank), and Dent-Air, 332 N.W.2d at 909 (finding no personal jurisdiction when plaintiff alleged that defendant executed three lease agreements with Minnesota residents, responded to mere inquiries by Minnesota residents without aggressively initiating a contract, and consented only to boilerplate language that Minnesota law would control the lease).

Here, respondent asserts that appellant is a New York corporation conducting business in Minnesota.  The amended complaint alleges that appellant has regular and continuous business contacts with Target Corporation.  The relevant affidavits also suggest that appellant has continuous business contacts with Best Buy Corporation and that appellant creates online content for  These contacts, if existing to the extent alleged by respondent, are sufficient to make a prima facie showing of general personal jurisdiction.

Finally, further fact-finding may demonstrate that appellant’s website provides an additional contact upon which general personal jurisdiction may rest.  But further fact-finding would only be appropriate with evidence that appellant operates an interactive website that Minnesota residents continuously and systematically utilize.  See Lakin, 348 F.3d at 712.  But see Lorix v. Crompton Corp., 680 N.W.2d 574, 582 (Minn. App. 2004), review denied (Minn. Sept. 21, 2004) (due process requires more than a continuously accessible website for purposes of general jurisdiction).  But such facts are not currently before this court.

Thus, while discovery may yield a different result, we cannot say that at this time, given the nature of respondent’s allegations regarding appellant’s contacts with Minnesota, the courts of this state lack general personal jurisdiction over appellant.