Carmona v. Leo Ship Management, Inc., No. 18-20248 (5th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
After plaintiff was injured while unloading cargo from a vessel docked outside Houston, he filed suit against LSM, a foreign corporation that manged the ship. The district court dismissed the complaint for want of personal jurisdiction.
The Fifth Circuit held that a defendant's contacts with a forum and the purposefulness of those contacts are distinct—though often overlapping—inquiries. Although tortious conduct within a forum ensures the existence of contacts, it does not always guarantee that such contacts are deliberate. In this case, LSM purposefully availed itself of Texas when its employees voluntarily entered the jurisdiction to aboard the vessel. However, the court held that the district court correctly dismissed, for want of personal jurisdiction, the claim of failure to load the pipes properly, because LSM presented undisputed evidence that a third party had stowed the pipes aboard the ship while it was outside the United States. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for the district court to determine whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction accords with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.