CORPORATE FLIGHT MANAGEMENT, INC.
TAL AVIATION, S.A. ET AL.
Session February 26, 2019
from the Chancery Court for Rutherford County No. 17CV-1549
Barry R. Tidwell, Judge
issue in this appeal is whether the Tennessee court had
personal jurisdiction over the Defendant. A Luxemburg company
contracted with a French citizen to provide the citizen with
a certain number of flight hours on the company's private
jets; the contract provided that, if the company did not have
a jet available, it would procure a private jet from a third
party. After providing a jet for the citizen to travel from
Luxemburg to Turks and Caicos, the company did not have a jet
available to return the citizen to his home, so the company
engaged a charter aircraft company based in Tennessee to fly
the citizen home in one of the Tennessee company's jets.
When the Luxemburg company did not pay for the flight, the
Tennessee company filed this breach of contract action
against the Luxemburg company and the French citizen in
Rutherford County Chancery Court. The French citizen moved to
dismiss the action against him on the ground that the
Tennessee court lacked personal jurisdiction over him; the
motion was granted. The Tennessee company appeals, contending
that the court had personal jurisdiction over the French
citizen because the Luxemburg company acted as the
citizen's agent and its contacts with Tennessee were
thereby imputed to him for jurisdictional purposes. We
conclude that the trial court correctly determined that it
did not have personal jurisdiction over the French citizen
and accordingly affirm the judgment granting the motion to
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Pursell, Edward A. Hadley, and Brent A. Kinney, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellant, Corporate Flight Management,
H. Cate, III, Edmund S. Sauer, and Kayleigh E. Butterfield,
Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Patrice
Charles-Louis Mourruau, Ta l Av iation, S.A., and NOAFLY
Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., and W. Neal
McBrayer, J., joined.
RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE
Facts and Procedural History
Aviation, S.A., a company organized under the laws of
Luxembourg and with its principal place of business there,
provides charter aircraft services. On November 10, 2016,
NOAFLY entered into a contract ("the NOAFLY
Contract") with Patrice Charles-Louis Mourruau, in which
NOAFLY agreed to provide Mr. Mourruau 55 flight hours on a
"Legacy 650 type aircraft." Under the contract, if
Mr. Mourruau requested a flight and a Legacy 650 was
unavailable, NOAFLY would provide a Global 6000 aircraft. If
neither a Legacy 650 nor a Global 6000 was available, NOAFLY
was "required to provide a replacement aircraft of the
same type or a higher category than the [Legacy 650]."
The contract allowed NOAFLY to obtain an aircraft and charter
services from a third party, if necessary.
7, 2017, Mr. Mourruau flew from Luxembourg to Turks and
Caicos on an aircraft which NOAFLY procured for Mr.
Mourruau's use from a third party. Mr. Mourruau was
scheduled to return to Luxembourg on May 13 on the same
aircraft; however, that aircraft was not available for his
return. On May 12, NOAFLY asked Corporate Flight Management,
Inc. ("CFM") for a quote on an aircraft to fly Mr.
Mourruau from Turks and Caicos to Luxembourg; CFM quoted
$137, 823.67 for the flight and provided NOAFLY with a
contract that day. The Complaint alleges that NOAFLY
"purported to attempt to pay CFM through wire transfer
on May 12"; payment was not successful. CFM provided the
flight on May 13, and representatives of NOALFY and CFM
signed the contract ("the CFM contract") on May 17.
after May 17,  CFM filed this action in Rutherford County
Circuit Court; CFM filed a Second Amended Complaint against
NOAFLY and Mr. Mourruau on February 26, 2018, asserting,
inter alia, that NOAFLY had breached the CFM
Contract by failing to pay any of the amount due under the
Agreement and that NOAFLY had acted as Mr. Mourruau's
agent in executing the Agreement. Mr. Mourruau moved the court
to dismiss him from the suit pursuant to Tennessee Rule of
Civil Procedure 12.02(2), asserting that the trial court did
not have personal jurisdiction over him; in support of the
motion, Mr. Mourruau attached his declaration and a copy of
the contract he entered into with NOAFLY. CFM responded,
contending that the court had specific personal jurisdiction
over Mr. Mourruau because NOAFLY was acting as his agent and
NOAFLY's contacts with Tennessee "bound Mr. Mourruau
to the jurisdiction of" the court; in support of the
argument, CFM filed the affidavit of its sales manager,
order entered May 25, 2018, the trial court ruled it could
not exercise general or specific personal jurisdiction over
Mr. Mourruau and dismissed him from the suit. CFM appeals,
contending that the trial court erred in holding that Mr.
Mourruau was not subject to personal jurisdiction in
authority of courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over
nonresident defendants is circumscribed by the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, '" which is
co-extensive with the due process protections of the
Tennessee Constitution. First Community Bank, N.A. v.
First Tennessee Bank, N.A., 489 S.W.3d 369, 383 (Tenn.
2015) (quoting Gordon v. Greenview Hosp., Inc., 300
S.W.3d 635, 646 (Tenn. 2009)). "Our General Assembly has
passed long-arm statutes which expand the jurisdictional reach
of Tennessee courts "'as far as constitutionally
permissible.'" Id. (quoting State v. NV
Sumatra Tobacco Trading Co., 403 S.W.3d 726, 740 (Tenn.
are two general categories of personal jurisdiction:
general and specific. [S]pecific jurisdiction:
exists when a defendant has minimum contacts with the forum
state and the cause of action arises out of those contacts.
Determining whether a forum state may exercise specific
personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant is a
two-step analysis which requires a court to analyze first
whether the defendant's activities in the state that gave
rise to the cause of action constitute sufficient minimum
contacts with the forum state to support specific
jurisdiction and, if so, whether the exercise of jurisdiction
over the nonresident defendant is fair.
[I]n order for a nonresident defendant's contacts with
the forum state to be sufficient to give rise to personal
jurisdiction there, those contacts must arise out of the
defendant's own purposeful, deliberate actions directed
toward the forum state.
In other words, "minimum contacts must have a basis in
'some act by which the defendant purposefully avails
itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the
forum State, thus invoking the ...