United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on the Motion to Dismiss for Lack
of Personal Jurisdiction (Doc. # 21), filed by Defendant
Transplant Resource Center of Maryland, Inc. d/b/a The Living
Legacy Foundation of Maryland (“Living Legacy”).
The Motion has been fully briefed. (Docs. # 22-25).
Legacy is a non-profit corporation incorporated under the
laws of the state of Maryland with its principal place of
business in Arbutus, Maryland. (Doc. # 1-1 ¶ 2; Doc. #
21-2 p. 184). Living Legacy is a certified and accredited
organ procurement organization (“OPO”) that
procures deceased-donor organs for organ transplantation.
(Doc. # 21-2 p. 16). There are 58 OPOs operating in the
United States. (Doc. # 21-2 p. 32-33). Each OPO is
responsible for organ procurement in a specific service area;
Living Legacy's service area is a portion of the state of
Maryland. (Doc. # 21-2 p. 33-34). OPOs also are assigned a
region; Living Legacy's region is Region 2, which
includes New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and parts of
Pennsylvania. (Doc. # 21-2, p. 40, 95-96).
are members of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation
Network (OPTN), which is a federally-established network.
(Doc. # 21-3 at p. 2). The United Network for Organ Sharing
(UNOS) serves as the OPTN under contract with the Health
Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the United
States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). (Doc.
# 21-3 at p. 2-3). The process for determining who will
receive the donated organs is as follows: UNOS has created a
computerized network which matches donated organs with
transplant candidates by applying certain matching criteria.
(Doc. # 21-3 at p. 3). These matching criteria are programmed
into the UNOS database. (Id.). When a transplant
hospital accepts a person as a transplant candidate, it
enters into the UNOS database medical data about that person,
such as the person's blood type, medical urgency, and
location of the transplant hospital. Included in that
information is whether a candidate would entertain a
high-risk organ. (Doc. # 22-1 at 2-19).
organ procurement organization such as Living Legacy obtains
authorization from an organ donor, it enters into the UNOS
database medical data such as the donor's blood type,
body size, and the location of the donor hospital. (Doc. #
21-2, p. 188-190). The UNOS database then generates a
“match run” using the combination of donor and
candidate information to create a rank-ordered list of
potential recipients (or candidates) to be offered each
donated organ. (Doc. # 21-2, p. 188-190). With respect to a
particular donor's kidney, the candidates who appear
highest in the ranking are those who are an exact match.
Thereafter, all other things being equal, local and regional
candidates are given priority, with national candidates
listed afterward. (Doc. # 21-2, p. 188-190). Living Legacy
has no control over the “match run” list that is
generated pursuant to the UNOS database. (Id.).
Plaintiff's name was one-hundred and twenty-second on the
respect to its local and regional matches (i.e.,
candidates in Maryland, D.C., New Jersey, and parts of
Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia), Living Legacy makes the
offer and receives the acceptance. (Doc. # 21-2, p. 190). For
national candidates, like Plaintiff in this case, UNOS makes
the offer, receives the acceptance, and then notifies Living
Legacy of the acceptance. (Doc. # 21-2, p. 191-92). The offer
is made to the candidate's transplant surgeon, and the
decision whether to accept the organ is made by that surgeon,
either in consultation with the potential recipient or alone.
(Doc. # 21-2, 188, 192). Neither Living Legacy nor UNOS
determines who will receive the organ. (Doc. # 21-2, p. 188,
kidney is being transplanted locally or regionally, Living
Legacy arranges the transportation of the kidney from the
procurement site to the transplant hospital or the OPO for
that service area. (Doc. # 22-1, p. 29, 62-64). When,
however, the organ is being sent to a national recipient,
UNOS arranges for the transportation. (Doc. # 22-1, p. 29).
In either case, Living Legacy does not fill out the address
of the organ's destination, someone else (perhaps the
courier) addresses the label. (Doc. # 22-1, at p. 48-49, 51).
Living Legacy only affixes a UNOS-supplied label that
contains information related to the donor UNOS number, the
donor's blood type, the contents of the box, and Living
Legacy's address. (Doc. # 22-1, p. 55-57, 64; Doc. # 22-1
case, UNOS offered the kidney to Plaintiff, an Alabama
recipient, Plaintiff's Alabama surgeon accepted, and UNOS
coordinated with Sterling Courier to pick up the kidney for
delivery to Alabama. (Doc. # 22-1, at p. 64). Sterling
Courier, or someone at Sterling's direction, filled out
the label indicating that the kidney was to be transported to
Alabama. (Doc. # 22-1, at p. 81-85). Typically, Sterling
picks up the organ from Living Legacy, transports it to the
airport, and puts it on a commercial airline. (Doc. # 22-1,
at p. 87).
than the kidney at issue in this case, no kidneys procured by
Living Legacy have been sent to Alabama in the last twelve
years. (Doc. # 24 at 4). A total of ten (10) kidneys procured
by Living Legacy have been sent to Alabama. (Doc. # 24 at 4).
Those transplants occurred between 1991 and 2002. (Doc. # 24
crux of Plaintiff's Complaint in this case is that, when
Plaintiff was notified of the availability of a kidney for
her transplant, she traveled from Florida to Birmingham's
University of Alabama Hospital to undergo the transplant.
(Doc. # 1-1 ¶ 16). Plaintiff was admitted at the
hospital and prepared for surgery. (Doc. # 1-1 ¶ 17).
Thereafter, it was discovered that, allegedly due to improper
packaging and/or transport, the kidney could not be used for
Plaintiff's transplant. (Doc. # 1-1 ¶ 24).
Standard of Review
12(b)(2) motion tests the court's exercise of personal
jurisdiction over a defendant. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(2). “A plaintiff seeking the exercise of personal
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant bears the initial
burden of alleging in the complaint sufficient facts to make
out a prima facie case of jurisdiction.” United
Techs. Corp. v. Mazer, 556 F.3d 1260, 1274 (11th Cir.
2009); see also Posner v. Essex Ins. Co., 178 F.3d
1209, 1214 (11th Cir. 1999) (“A plaintiff seeking to
obtain jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant initially
need only allege sufficient facts to make out a prima facie
case of jurisdiction.”). If a plaintiff satisfies his
initial burden and a defendant then challenges personal
jurisdiction by submitting affidavit evidence in objection to
personal jurisdiction, the burden traditionally shifts back
to the plaintiff to produce evidence supporting jurisdiction.
See Meier ex rel. Meier v. Sun International
Hotels, Ltd., 288 F.3d 1264, 1269 (11th Cir. 2002);
see also Posner, 178 F.3d at 1214 (“The
plaintiff bears the burden of proving ‘by affidavit the
basis upon which jurisdiction may be obtained' only if
the defendant challenging jurisdiction files
‘affidavits in support of his position.'”
(citation omitted)). When the issue of personal jurisdiction
is decided on the evidence, but without a discretionary
hearing, a plaintiff demonstrates a “prima facie case
of personal jurisdiction” by submitting evidence
sufficient to defeat a motion made pursuant to Rule 50(a) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Snow v.
DirecTV, Inc., 450 F.3d 1314, 1317 (11th Cir. 2006). At
this evidentiary juncture, the court construes the
complaints' allegations as true if they are
uncontroverted by affidavits or deposition testimony,
id., and where there are conflicts, the court
“construe[s] all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff[s].” Whitney Info. Network, Inc. v.
Xcentric Ventures, LLC, 199 F.Appx. 738, 741 (11th Cir.
2006) (unpublished) (quoting Meier, 288 F.3d at