United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
WILLIAM H. STEELE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on motions to dismiss filed by
defendants Ascension Health (“Health”) and
Ascension Health Alliance (“Alliance”). (Docs.
15, 21). The plaintiff has filed a response, (Doc.
25),  and the movants a consolidated reply,
(Doc. 27), and the motions are ripe for resolution. After
careful consideration, the Court concludes the motions are
due to be granted in part and denied in part.
to the amended complaint, (Doc. 11), the plaintiff is a deaf
individual who accompanied his wife to Providence Hospital
(“Providence”) in Mobile, Alabama for the birth
of their two children in January 2016 and August 2017. Prior
to arriving at Providence in January 2016, the plaintiff
called the hospital through a videophone relay system to
request that a qualified sign language interpreter be
provided. During both the January 2016 and August 2017 stays,
the plaintiff and/or his wife made repeated requests to
various medical and support staff for a qualified sign
language interpreter. However, no qualified sign language
interpreter was ever provided on either occasion. Nor was the
plaintiff provided with adequate auxiliary aids and services
to enable him to effectively communicate with staff. As a
result, the plaintiff was unable to fully understand his
wife's and his children's medical care, and he
experienced humiliation, fear, anxiety and emotional
amended complaint identifies four defendants: (1) Providence;
(2) Providence Health System; (3) Health; and (4) Alliance.
The plaintiff brings claims against all four defendants under
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504
of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act. Health and Alliance deny
the existence of personal jurisdiction over them in this
plaintiff seeking to establish 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.” Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v.
Mosseri, 736 F.3d 1339, 1350 (11th Cir. 2013)
(internal quotes omitted). “When a defendant challenges
personal jurisdiction by submitting affidavit evidence in
support of its position, the burden traditionally shifts back
to the plaintiff to produce evidence supporting jurisdiction,
” unless “the defendant's affidavits contain
only conclusory assertions that the defendant is not subject
to jurisdiction.” Id. (internal quotes
omitted). “Where the plaintiff's complaint and
supporting evidence conflict with the defendant's
affidavits, the court must construe all reasonable inferences
in favor of the plaintiff.” Meier ex rel. Meier v.
Sun International Hotels, Ltd., 288 F.3d 1264, 1269
(11th Cir. 2002); accord Diamond Crystal
Brands, Inc. v. Food Movers International, Inc., 593
F.3d 1249, 1257 (11th Cir. 2010).
evidentiary hearing on a motion to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction is discretionary, not mandatory.
E.g., Snow v. DirecTV, Inc., 450 F.3d 1314, 1317
(11th Cir. 2008). Because the parties have not
requested an evidentiary hearing, the Court exercises its
discretion not to conduct one. Absent such a hearing, the
plaintiff's burden is to present enough evidence,
construed most favorably to him, to withstand a motion for
directed verdict. Id.
parties agree that, at all relevant times, Alliance was the
sole member of Health, which was the sole member of non-party
Gulf Coast Health System, which was the sole member of
Providence. (Doc. 15 at 3; Doc. 15-1 at 3; Doc. 25 at 3). The
parties also agree that Providence is thus an indirect
subsidiary of Health and Alliance. (Doc. 25 at 3; Doc. 27 at
6). The parties further agree that, at all relevant times,
both movants were entities organized under the laws of
Missouri and that Alliance's principal place of business
was in Missouri. (Doc. 15 at 3; Doc. 15-1 at 2-3; Doc. 25 at
2). Finally, the parties agree that Alliance was at all
relevant times registered to do business in Alabama and
maintained a registered agent for service of process in this
state, while Health at all relevant times was not registered
to do business in Alabama. (Doc. 25 at 2-3; Doc. 25-2; Doc.
27 at 2; Doc. 27-1 at 4). In addition, the plaintiff does not
dispute the movants' evidence that they have never
provided or managed any care or treatment for any person in
Alabama or managed, hired or supervised any person doing so
at Providence. (Doc. 15-1 at 3).
uncertain extent that personal jurisdiction in a case in
which subject matter jurisdiction is based on 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331 depends first on state law, Alabama
“extends the personal jurisdiction of Alabama courts to
the limits of due process under the federal and state
constitutions.” Ex parte Fidelity Bank, 893
So.2d 1116, 1121 (Ala. 2004); accord Ala. R. Civ. P.
4.2(b). Due process under the Alabama Constitution is in this
respect co-extensive with that under the federal
Constitution. Ex parte Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual
Automobile Insurance Co., 889 So.2d 545, 550 (Ala.
state's personal jurisdiction over a defendant may be
either general or specific. “General personal
jurisdiction arises when a defendant maintains continuous and
systematic contacts with the forum state even when the cause
of action has no relation to those contacts.”
HomeBingo Network, Inc. v. Chayevsky, 428 F.Supp.2d
1232, 1241 (S.D. Ala. 2006) (internal quotes omitted).
“Specific jurisdiction refers to jurisdiction over
causes of action arising from or related to a defendant's
actions within the forum.” PVC Windoors, Inc. v.
Babbitbay Beach Construction, N.V., 598 F.3d 802, 808
(11th Cir. 2010) (internal quotes omitted).
a limited set of affiliations with a forum will render a
defendant amenable to general jurisdiction in that
State.” Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior
Court, 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1780 (2017) (internal quotes
omitted). “A court may assert general jurisdiction over
foreign [entities] when their affiliations with the State are
so continuous and systematic as to render them essentially at
home in the forum State.” Goodyear Dunlop Tires
Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011)
(internal quotes omitted). The “at home”
limitation means the defendant's contacts with the forum
must be such that it is “comparable to a domestic
enterprise in that State.” Daimler AG v.
Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746, 758 n.11 (2014).
plaintiff argues that Alliance is subject to general
jurisdiction in Alabama because it is licensed to do business
in Alabama and has a registered agent for service of process
in Alabama. (Doc. 25 at 6-7). The plaintiff cites no
authority even remotely supporting the proposition that such
modest activity could support the exercise of general
jurisdiction, and plainly it does not. “[A]
corporation's operations in a forum other than its formal
place of incorporation or principal place of business will be
so substantial and of such a nature as to render the
corporation at home in that State only in exceptional
cases.” Carmouche v. Tamborlee Management,
Inc., 789 F.3d 1201, 1204 (11th Cir. 2015)
(internal quotes omitted). It would be difficult to imagine a
less exceptional circumstance than the unremarkable
commonplace of an entity registering to do business in a
foreign state or appointing an agent for service of process
there. In Carmouche, the defendant's contacts
with Florida were significantly more substantial than
Alliance's contacts with Alabama, yet the Eleventh
Circuit held them to be incapable of supporting general
jurisdiction. See also Consolidated Development
Corp. v. Sherritt, Inc., 216 F.3d 1286, 1293
(11th Cir. 2000) (“The casual presence of a
corporate agent in the forum [specifically, an agent for
service of process] is not enough to subject the corporation
to suit where the cause of action is unrelated to the
agent's activities.”) (citing cases).
specific jurisdiction, “a State may authorize its
courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state
defendant if the defendant has certain minimum contacts with
the State such that the maintenance of the suit does not
offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” Goodyear Dunlop, 564 U.S. at 923.
That is, “[a] defendant is constitutionally amenable to
a forum's specific jurisdiction if it possesses
sufficient minimum contacts with the forum to satisfy due
process requirements, and if the forum's exercise of
jurisdiction comports with ...