John Doe, as personal representative of the estate of Jane Doe, deceased v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., et al

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

December 26, 2012

John Doe, as personal representative of the estate of Jane Doe, deceased v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., et al

Motion to Compel Discovery

As active litigators, the team at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. has experience at all phases of personal injury claims. One such stage is the discovery process. In this motion to compel better responses, our maritime attorneys ask the Court to order defendants to provide more information that is critical to the Plaintiff’s lawsuit. By working to ensure that our client’s obtain all necessary discovery in their cases, we ensure that our clients obtain fair results.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
MIAMI DIVISION
CASE NO. 12-CV-21897-COOKE/TURNOFF
JOHN DOE, as Personal Representative
of the Estate of JANE DOE, Deceased,
Plaintiff,

v.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD.,
HARTLEY’S UNDER SEA ADVENTURES, LTD., and
BERMUDA ONSITE, LTD., A/K/A BERMUDA ON SITE LIMITED,
Defendants.

PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANTS, ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD. AND HARTLEY’S UNDER SEA ADVENTURES, LTD., TO PROVIDE BETTER RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF’S JURISDICTIONAL DISCOVERY

COMES NOW, the Plaintiff, JOHN DOE, as Personal Representative of the Estate of JANE DOE (“Plaintiff”), by and through undersigned counsel and pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, hereby moves to compel Defendants, ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD. (“Royal Caribbean” or “RCL”) and HARTLEY’S UNDER SEA ADVENTURES, LTD. (“Hartley”) to provide better responses to Plaintiff’s jurisdictional discovery and relies in good faith on the following memorandum of law.

Memorandum of Law

I. Introduction

This is an action brought on behalf of a Royal Caribbean passenger who died after participating in a shore excursion organized by Defendants. On September 10, 2012, Hartley moved to dismiss based, in part, on lack of personal jurisdiction. [D.E. 31]. As a result of the factual assertions Hartley raised in its motion, the Plaintiff propounded jurisdictional discovery upon Defendants on September 26, 2012. Hartley submitted its responses on November 12, 2012. (Copies of Hartley’s responses are attached hereto and marked as Exhibits “1” and “2”.) Royal Caribbean responded to Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatories on November 2, 2012 and to Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Request for Production on December 14, 2012. (Copies of Royal Caribbean’s responses are attached hereto and marked as Exhibits “3” and “4,” respectively.)

The parties discussed Defendants’ discovery responses and were able to reach agreements on some of the issues.[1] The remaining issues are addressed herein and Plaintiff respectfully requests this Honorable Court enter an order compelling Defendants to provide better responses to the requests specified below.

II. Argument

It is well established that issues of jurisdiction are proper for discovery. See Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 n. 13 (1978). Eleventh Circuit precedent indicates that jurisdictional discovery is highly favored before resolving motions to dismiss for want of personal jurisdiction. Eaton v. Dorchester Dev., Inc., 692 F. 2d 727, 731 (11th Cir. 1982). Specifically, in Majd-Pour v. Georgiana Community Hosp., Inc., the Eleventh Circuit stated that “[a]lthough the plaintiff bears the burden of proving the court’s jurisdiction, the plaintiff should be given the opportunity to discover facts that would support his allegations of jurisdiction.” Majd-Pour, 724 F.2d 901, 903 (11th Cir. 1984); see also Blanco v. Carigulf Lines, 632 F.2d 656, 658 (5th Cir. 1980) (“Plaintiff is not required to rely exclusively upon a defendant’s affidavit for resolution of the jurisdictional issue where that defendant has failed to answer plaintiff’s interrogatories specifically directed to that issue. To hold otherwise would permit an advantage to a defendant who fails to comply with the rules of discovery.”).

Herein, in support of its Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, Hartley alleges, inter alia, that it 1) does not operate, conduct, engage in or carry on a business or business venture in Florida; 2) does not have an office or agency in Florida and is not licensed in Florida; 3) does not use or possess any real or personal property in Florida; 4) does not own, use, possess or hold a mortgage or lien on any real property in Florida; 5) does not have a contract with Royal Caribbean; 6) does not advertise in Florida; 7) never had Royal Caribbean or Bermuda Onsite[2] as its agent or employee; 8) never had a partnership or joint venture with Royal Caribbean or Bermuda Onsite; 9) never shared profits with Royal Caribbean or Bermuda Onsite; and 10) was never paid by Royal Caribbean for the tickets sold for the excursion. [D.E. 31-1].

Accordingly, pursuant to the aforementioned Eleventh Circuit precedent, the Plaintiff propounded jurisdictional discovery upon Defendants in order to refute Hartley’s allegations and establish this Court’s jurisdiction over Hartley. Defendants’ responses to Plaintiff’s jurisdictional discovery requests, however, are lacking information and their objections are without merit. Therefore, Plaintiff respectfully requests this Honorable Court enter an order compelling Defendants to provide better responses to Plaintiff’s jurisdictional discovery.

A. Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatories to Hartley

As discussed in further detail below, Hartley’s responses to Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatories No.’s 1, 3, 6, 13, 14, and 15[b] are improper and its objections are without merit.

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory No. 1

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory:

Indicate the total gross revenues and net income of Hartley’s Under Sea Adventures, Ltd (and/or its agents and/or intermediaries) in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. For each year, itemize the source of such revenues by activity.

Hartley’s Answer:

Objection. This interrogatory is objected to as overbroad, beyond the scope of discovery relevant to jurisdiction, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Furthermore, the interrogatory is not narrowly tailored for the purpose of jurisdictional discovery. Defendant also objects to this interrogatory as the term “intermediaries” is undefined.[3]

This Court has previously held that “financial records can shed significant light on the relationship between a party and a forum and, thus, whether due process would be offended by exercising jurisdiction over a party.” Ochoa v. Empresas ICA, S.A.B. de C.V., 11-23898-CIV, 2012 WL 3260324 (S.D. Fla. 2012). As in Ochoa, such records reasonably could lead to evidence of Hartley’s contacts with this District because they could evidence the type, extent and frequency of Hartley’s business in this District and, accordingly, offer relevant evidence for resolving the Court’s jurisdiction over Hartley, a threshold consideration in this case. Further, based on the information provided here, the Plaintiff can calculate what percentage of Hartley’s business is derived from its contacts in Florida and/or the U.S.

Contrary to Hartley’s objection, the interrogatory is also sufficiently limited in time. A review of jurisdiction cases by other courts shows that contacts are commonly assessed over a period of years prior to the filing of a complaint. See Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Robertson-Ceco Corp., 84 F.3d 560, 569 (2d Cir. 1996) (reviewing defendant’s contacts with forum state over a six year period and cited approvingly in Woods v. Nova Companies Belize Ltd., 739 So. 2d 617, 621 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999); Wilson v. Belin, 20 F.3d 644, 650-51 (5th Cir. 1994) (analyzing defendant’s contacts with forum state over a five year period); see also Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 409-11 (1984) (reviewing contacts over a seven year period prior to the filing of the complaint). Accordingly, Hartley should be compelled to answer Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatory No. 1 as it is relevant, sufficiently limited, and discoverable.

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory No. 3

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory:

State the total share of gross revenues of Hartley’s Under Sea Adventures, Ltd (and/or its agents and/or intermediaries) in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 derived from its United States operations (including but not limited to: Florida). For each year provide the source of the information (ex. annual reports, stockholders reports).

Hartley’s Answer:

Objection. This interrogatory is objected to as overbroad, beyond the scope of discovery relevant to jurisdiction, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Furthermore, this interrogatory is not narrowly tailored for the purpose of jurisdictional discovery as it seeks to obtain information relating to the entire United States, as opposed to limiting the information to Florida. Also, Defendant objects to this interrogatory as the term “intermediaries” is undefined. Without waiving said objections, zero percent of the gross revenues are derived from Defendant’s United States operations as Defendant has no United States operations.

The financial information is relevant to determine the extent that Hartley’s business is derived from its contacts in Florida and/or the United States. Contrary to Hartley’s objection, its contacts with the Unites States as a whole (and not simply Florida) is relevant and discoverable. Pursuant to this Honorable Court prior holding, in cases arising under federal law, Rule 4(k)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides a basis for the assertion of personal jurisdiction on an aggregation of the defendant’s nationwide contacts, even where a foreign defendant would not be subject to jurisdiction in any individual state, provided that two conditions are met. See Khon v. Libertad 54, Ltd., Case No. 11-CV021830-Cooke/Turnoff (S.D. Fla. Oct. 24, 2012) [D.E. 105] (citing Barrocos of Florida, Inc. v. Elmassian, No. 11-CV-22393, 2012 WL 1622988, at *6 (S.D. Fla. May 9, 2012)) (emphasis added); see also Consolidated Dev. Corp. v. Sherritt, Inc., 216 F.3d 1286, 1291 (11th Cir. 2000).

Herein, as in Kohn, the Plaintiff’s causes of action arise under federal law because the Plaintiff alleges negligence under, inter alia, the Death on the High Seas Act. Hartley’s contacts with the U.S. (and not just Florida) is therefore relevant as it goes to the Court’s ability to exercise jurisdiction over Hartley through Rule 4(k)(2). Further, because national contacts are relevant to an inquiry proceeding under Rule 4(k)(2), discovery as to same is appropriate in this case. Khon, supra (citing Bluewater Trading, LLC v. Fountaine Pajor, S.A., 2008 WL 2705432, at *2-3 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 9, 2008)).

Furthermore, the interrogatory is also limited in time for the same reasons and case law discussed in Interrogatory No. 1. Accordingly, Hartley should be compelled to answer Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatory No. 3 as it is relevant, sufficiently limited, and discoverable.

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory No. 6

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory:

State the total share of gross revenues of Hartley’s Under Sea Adventures, Ltd (and/or its agents and/or intermediaries), in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, derived from its operations with other U.S. based cruise lines cruise other than [Royal Caribbean] (i.e. Carnival, Celebrity Cruises , NCL, Regent Seven Seas, etc.). For each year provide the source of the information (ex. annual reports, stockholders reports).

Hartley’s Answer:

Objection. This interrogatory is objected to as overbroad, beyond the scope of discovery relevant to jurisdiction, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Furthermore, this interrogatory is not narrowly tailored for the purpose of jurisdictional discovery as it seeks to obtain information relating to the entire United States, as opposed to limiting the information to Florida. Also, Defendant objects to this interrogatory as the term “intermediaries” is undefined. Additionally, Defendant objects to the interrogatory as written since there appear to be missing words, leaving the Defendant unclear as to what information the interrogatory seeks.[4]

The total share of gross revenues that Hartley derived from its operations with U.S.-based cruise lines (other than Royal Caribbean) is relevant to determine the amount of business Hartley derives from its relationship with such cruise lines – many of which are based in Florida and others which are based in the United States. As discussed, Hartley’s contacts with the U.S. is relevant as it goes to the Court’s ability to exercise jurisdiction over Hartley through Rule 4(k)(2) which allows the Court to consider the foreign defendant’s contacts with the United States as a whole and not simply its contacts with the forum state. See Khon v. Libertad 54, Ltd., Case No. 11-CV021830-Cooke/Turnoff (S.D. Fla. Oct. 24, 2012) [D.E. 105]; Barrocos of Florida, Inc. v. Elmassian, No. 11-CV-22393, 2012 WL 1622988, at *6 (S.D. Fla. May 9, 2012); Consolidated Dev. Corp. v. Sherritt, Inc., 216 F.3d 1286, 1291 (11th Cir. 2000); see also Bluewater Trading, LLC v. Fountaine Pajor, S.A., 2008 WL 2705432, at *2-3 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 9, 2008)).

Upon information and belief, discovery will reveal that Hartley derives a substantial amount of money from passengers booking its excursion from U.S.-based cruise lines on a monthly basis and that these cruise lines, in turn, send Hartley (and/or its agents) a portion of such amount on a monthly basis. Therefore, the information requested is relevant to establish that Hartley maintains continuous and systematic business contacts with Florida and/or the U.S. Furthermore, contrary to Hartley’s objection, the interrogatory is not overbroad as it is sufficiently limited to only cruise lines. The interrogatory is also sufficiently limited in time for the same reasons and case law discussed in Interrogatory No. 1.

Accordingly, Hartley should be compelled to answer Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatory No. 6 as it is relevant, sufficiently limited, and discoverable.

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory No. 13

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory:

State the total amount of passengers from Royal Caribbean (and/other cruise lines) who booked a shore excursion operated by Hartley’s Under Sea Adventures, Ltd (and/or its agents and/or intermediaries)in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. For each year provide the source of the information (ex. Annual reports). Please specify the name of the cruise line and the origin of the ship.

Hartley’s Answer:

Objection. This interrogatory is objected to as overbroad, beyond the scope of discovery relevant to jurisdiction, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. This interrogatory is not narrowly tailored for the purpose of jurisdictional discovery as it seeks to obtain information relating to the entire United States, as opposed to limiting the information to Florida. Furthermore, Defendant objects to this interrogatory as the term “intermediaries” and “other cruise lines” is undefined. Additionally, information related to Royal Caribbean passengers that engaged in a shore excursion with Defendant, regardless of where they started the cruise, has no bearing on the issue of whether a Florida court can exercise jurisdiction over Defendant. Without waiving said objection, Defendant did not operate a shore excursion for Royal Caribbean. Bermuda Onsite operated the shore excursion and hired Defendant in Bermuda, as an independent contractor to provide helmet diving tours in Bermuda. /em>

The amount of passengers that have booked Hartley’s shore excursion in the years indicated is relevant to determine the amount of business Hartley derives from passengers.[5] The total share of gross revenues that Hartley derived by selling its excursions to passengers is relevant to determine the amount of business Hartley derives from its relationship with a Florida-based entity – Royal Caribbean. This Court, in Kilma v. Carnival Corp., 08-20335-CIV, 2008 WL 4559231 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 10, 2008), has stated that business relationships between a non-resident excursion operator and Florida-based cruise lines may be one of the factors considered to establish general jurisdiction under Florida’s long-arm statute. Id. at *3. It is undisputed that Royal Caribbean is an entity with its principal place of business in Florida. As stated, the Plaintiff believes discovery will reveal that Hartley derives a substantial amount of money from passengers booking its excursion from Royal Caribbean cruises on a monthly basis and that Royal Caribbean, in turn, sends Hartley (and/or its agents) a portion of such amount on a monthly basis. Therefore, the information requested is relevant to establish that Hartley maintains continuous and systematic general business contacts with Florida.

In addition, contrary to Hartley’s objection, the interrogatory is not overbroad as it is sufficiently limited to only those passengers booking Hartley’s excursion on Royal Caribbean cruises. The interrogatory is also sufficiently limited in time for the same reasons and case law discussed in Interrogatory No. 1. Lastly, the term “cruise line” is self-explanatory—it is a company that operates cruise ships.

Accordingly, Hartley should be compelled to answer Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatory No. 13 as it is relevant, sufficiently limited, and discoverable.

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory No. 14

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory:
State the total amount of United States residents and/or citizens who booked a shore excursion operated by Hartley’s Under Sea Adventures, Ltd (and/or its agents and/or intermediaries) in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. For each year provide the source of the information (ex. Annual reports).

Hartley’s Answer:

Objection. This interrogatory is objected to as overbroad, beyond the scope of discovery relevant to jurisdiction and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. This interrogatory is not narrowly tailored for the purpose of jurisdictional discovery as it seeks to obtain information relating to the entire United States, as opposed to limiting the information to Florida. Furthermore, Defendant objects to this interrogatory as the term “intermediaries” is undefined. Additionally, information related to Royal Caribbean passengers that engaged in a shore excursion with Defendant, regardless of where the individuals are residents or citizens, has no bearing on the issue of whether a Florida court can exercise jurisdiction over Defendant. Without waiving said objection, Defendant did not operate a shore excursion for Royal Caribbean. Bermuda Onsite operated the shore excursion and hired Defendant in Bermuda, as an independent contractor to provide helmet diving tours in Bermuda. Bermuda Onsite did not notify Defendant of the residency or citizenship for individuals that purchased a ticket from Bermuda Onsite.

As stated, the amount of passengers that have booked Hartley’s shore excursion in the years indicated is relevant to determine the amount of business Hartley derives from U.S. passengers. Specifically, upon information and belief, discovery will reveal that cruise lines derive a substantial amount of money from passengers booking Hartley’s excursion on a monthly basis and that these cruise lines, in turn, send Hartley a portion of such amount on a monthly basis. Therefore, the information requested is relevant to establish that Hartley maintains continuous and systematic business contacts with Florida and/or the U.S. through cruise line passengers. As discussed above, Hartley’s contacts with the U.S. is relevant as it goes to the Court’s ability to exercise jurisdiction over Hartley through Rule 4(k)(2) which allows the Court to consider the foreign defendant’s contacts with the United States as a whole and not simply its contacts with the forum state. See Khon v. Libertad 54, Ltd., Case No. 11-CV021830-Cooke/Turnoff (S.D. Fla. Oct. 24, 2012) [D.E. 105]; Barrocos of Florida, Inc. v. Elmassian, No. 11-CV-22393, 2012 WL 1622988, at *6 (S.D. Fla. May 9, 2012); Consolidated Dev. Corp. v. Sherritt, Inc., 216 F.3d 1286, 1291 (11th Cir. 2000); see also Bluewater Trading, LLC v. Fountaine Pajor, S.A., 2008 WL 2705432, at *2-3 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 9, 2008)).

Accordingly, Hartley should be compelled to answer Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatory No. 14 as it is relevant, sufficiently limited, and discoverable.
Plaintiff’s Interrogatory No. 15[b]

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory:

State the names, telephone numbers and address of all entities located and/or with a principal place of business in the United States (including but not limited to Florida) which entered into a contract and/or agreement with Hartley’s Under Sea Adventures, Ltd (and/or its agents and/or intermediaries) in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. For each contract, indicate a) its purpose, b) the name of the officers and/or representatives which signed each contract, c) the amounts to be paid under the contract, and d) the contract’s place of performance.

Hartley’s Answer:

Objection. This interrogatory is objected to as overbroad, beyond the scope of discovery relevant to jurisdiction and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. This interrogatory is not narrowly tailored for the purpose of jurisdictional discovery as the request is not limited to the State of Florida. Furthermore, Defendant objects to this interrogatory as the term “intermediaries” is undefined.

Whether Hartley contracts with entities to work on its behalf in the United States is clearly relevant to determine its contacts with the U.S. and to determine whether Hartley is conducting business in the U.S. through agents. As discussed above, Hartley’s contacts with the U.S. is relevant as it goes to the Court’s ability to exercise jurisdiction over Hartley through Rule 4(k)(2) which allows the Court to consider the foreign defendant’s contacts with the United States as a whole and not simply its contacts with the forum state. See Khon v. Libertad 54, Ltd., Case No. 11-CV021830-Cooke/Turnoff (S.D. Fla. Oct. 24, 2012) [D.E. 105]; Barrocos of Florida, Inc. v. Elmassian, No. 11-CV-22393, 2012 WL 1622988, at *6 (S.D. Fla. May 9, 2012); Consolidated Dev. Corp. v. Sherritt, Inc., 216 F.3d 1286, 1291 (11th Cir. 2000); see also Bluewater Trading, LLC v. Fountaine Pajor, S.A., 2008 WL 2705432, at *2-3 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 9, 2008)). The contracts are also relevant to determine whether there is a forum selection clause and where performance was required.

Accordingly, Hartley should be compelled to answer Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatory No. 15[b] as it is relevant, sufficiently limited, and discoverable.

B. Jurisdictional Request for Production to Hartleystrong>

As discussed in further detail below, Hartley’s responses to Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Requests for Production No.’s 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 16, 18, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 32, 33, 34, 42, 46, 47, 48, 49 and 50 are improper and its objections are without merit.

The parties conferred in an attempt to narrow the issues and, as evident from footnote 1 above, they reached agreement on many requests. One of the objections that Hartley maintains to the requests below is that they seek information relating to the entire United States, as opposed to limiting the information to Florida. As discussed above, however, the Plaintiff maintains that Hartley’s contacts with the U.S. is relevant as it goes to the Court’s ability to exercise jurisdiction over Hartley through Rule 4(k)(2) which allows the Court to consider the foreign defendant’s contacts with the United States as a whole and not simply its contacts with the forum state. See Khon v. Libertad 54, Ltd., Case No. 11-CV021830-Cooke/Turnoff (S.D. Fla. Oct. 24, 2012) [D.E. 105]; Barrocos of Florida, Inc. v. Elmassian, No. 11-CV-22393, 2012 WL 1622988, at *6 (S.D. Fla. May 9, 2012); Consolidated Dev. Corp. v. Sherritt, Inc., 216 F.3d 1286, 1291 (11th Cir. 2000); see also Bluewater Trading, LLC v. Fountaine Pajor, S.A., 2008 WL 2705432, at *2-3 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 9, 2008)).

In light of the same objection for all requests for production, the Plaintiff discusses the relevancy of the requests by grouping them into subject matters for convenience and efficiency.

Requests No.’s 4, 6, 7, 8 & 10 – Agreements/contracts with individuals and/or companies (including cruise lines)

Plaintiff’s Requests No.’s 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10 seek Hartley’s agreements and/or contracts with individuals and/or companies (including cruise lines) based in Florida and/or the United States. Whether Hartley contracts and/or pays individuals and/or companies (including cruise lines) to work on its behalf in the United States is clearly relevant to determine its contacts with the U.S. and to determine whether Hartley is conducting business in the U.S. through agents. These contracts are also relevant to determine whether there is a forum selection clause and where performance was required.

Request No. 5 – Applications to cruise lines

Plaintiff’s Request No. 5 seeks applications or proposals filled out and/or submitted by Hartley to U.S.-based cruise lines. In response, Hartley objects on grounds that the request is irrelevant and overbroad.

Plaintiff submits that applications or proposals filled out and/or submitted by Hartley to U.S.-based cruise lines is relevant to establish that Hartley purposely availed itself to this forum by seeking to contract with U.S. entities. The Supreme Court, in Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, explained as follows:

Th[e] “purposeful availment” requirement ensures that a defendant will not be haled into a jurisdiction solely as a result of “random,” “fortuitous,” or “attenuated” contacts, or of the “unilateral activity of another party or a third person”[.] Jurisdiction is proper, however, where the contacts proximately result from actions by the defendant himself that create a “substantial connection” with the forum State. Thus where the defendant “deliberately” has engaged in significant activities within a State, or has created “continuing obligations” between himself and residents of the forum, he manifestly has availed himself of the privilege of conducting business there, and because his activities are shielded by “the benefits and protections” of the forum’s laws it is presumptively not unreasonable to require him to submit to the burdens of litigation in that forum as well.

Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475-76, 105 S. Ct. 2174, 2183-84, 85 L. Ed. 2d 528 (1985) (internal citations omitted) (emphasis added).

Therefore, the information and documents Plaintiff seeks in this request is relevant to show that Hartley itself created a “substantial connection” with the United States, “deliberately” engaged in significant activities within the Unites States, and/or created “continuing obligations” between itself and U.S.-based entities (e.g., Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival, NCL, Princess Cruise Lines, etc.). Furthermore, the request is sufficiently limited in scope by requesting only applications to cruise lines, and it is also sufficiently limited in time to the period of 2006 to present.

Accordingly, because the request is relevant and not overbroad, Hartley should be compelled to produce responsive documents to Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Request No. 5.

Requests No.’s 8, 42, 46, 47, 48 & 49 – Bills and Invoices

Plaintiff’s Requests No.’s 8, 42, 46, 47, 48, and 49 seek records of money transfers and invoices between Hartley and entities located in Florida and/or the U.S. (including cruise lines). These documents are relevant to determine whether Hartley has business relationships with U.S. entities and, if so, the extent of business Hartley conducts with such entities. With regard to Request No. 8, specifically, contrary to Hartley’s objection, it is not a duplicate of Request No. 6 because No. 8 requests “invoices” and No. 6 does not. Furthermore, Requests No.’s 48 and 49 are not duplicates either – No. 48 requests records evidencing payments by Defendant and No. 49 requests records evidencing payments to Defendant.

Requests No.’s 16, 23, 24 & 26 – Financial and tax records

Plaintiff’s Requests No.’s 16, 23, 24 and 26 seek Hartley’s financial and tax records. As discussed above, “financial records can shed significant light on the relationship between a party and a forum and, thus, whether due process would be offended by exercising jurisdiction over a party.” Ochoa v. Empresas ICA, S.A.B. de C.V., 11-23898-CIV, 2012 WL 3260324 (S.D. Fla. 2012). As in Ochoa, such records reasonably could lead to evidence of Hartley’s contacts with this District because they could evidence the type, extent and frequency of Hartley’s business in this District and, accordingly, offer relevant evidence for resolving the Court’s jurisdiction over Hartley, a threshold consideration in this case.

Request No. 18 – Annual Operating Plans

Plaintiff’s Request No. 18 seeks Hartley’s annual operating plans submitted to Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and/or other U.S.-based cruise lines. The request is relevant because Hartley’s annual operating plans may reveal information regarding the extent of business Hartley proposed to derive from its relationship with cruise lines located in Florida (i.e., Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises) as well as the United States (e.g., Princess Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, etc.)

Requests No.’s 21 & 33 – Bank Records

Plaintiff’s Request No.’s 21 and 33 seek information of Hartley’s bank accounts located in the United States. Whether Hartley maintains a bank account in the United States is clearly relevant to determine the extent of Hartley’s contacts in the U.S. The bank account records may also lead to information concerning the extent of Hartley’s business contacts in Florida and/or the U.S.

Request No. 25 – Pay Roll Records

Plaintiff’s Request No. 25 seeks records of Hartley’s payroll tax records. Hartley’s pay roll records are relevant to determine whether any of Hartley’s employees are based in Florida and/or the U.S. which goes to its contacts and the extent of business it conducts in Florida and/or the U.S. through agents.

Request No. 32 – Mortgage, Properties and Offices

Plaintiff’s Request No. 32 seeks information concerning the location of Hartley’s offices. The Plaintiff is entitled to know where Hartley maintains offices.

Request No. 34 – Vessel

Plaintiff’s Request No. 34 seeks records regarding the purchase of any vessels and/or marine equipment by Hartley in and/or from the United States. These are relevant to determine whether Hartley owns and/or operates any vessels and, if so, whether and how often such vessel(s) travel to and/or from Florida and/or the U.S. These requests are also relevant to refute Hartley’s affidavit [D.E. 31-1] that it does not use or possess real or personal property in Florida.

Request No. 50 – Documents regarding Business Operations in the U.S.

Plaintiff’s Request No. 50 seeks documents pertaining to Hartley’s business operations in the United States. This request is clearly related to whether Hartley conducts business in the U.S. which is relevant under the Court’s Rule 4(k)(2) analysis.

C. Jurisdictional Interrogatories to Royal Caribbean

As discussed in further detail below, Royal Caribbean’s objections to Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatories No.’s 1 and 2 are without merit.

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory No. 1

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory:

State the total share of gross revenues of ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD., in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 derived by selling Hartley’s Under Sea Adventures excursions to cruise passengers. For each year provide the source of the information.

Royal Caribbean’s Answer:

RCL objects to Interrogatory No. 1 on the grounds that it is overbroad, irrelevant, unduly burdensome, harassing and not reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence. The total revenues RCL may have derived from selling tickets for a shore excursion operated by a foreign independent contractor with no physical presence in Florida and who did not engage in business activities in Florida, has no bearing on the issue of whether the Court can assert jurisdiction over said independent contractor. The grounds supporting this objection should apply with greater force to Plaintiff’s specific inquiry requesting “the total share of gross revenues” which requires a comparison between the aforementioned total and the gross revenues RCL derived from its entire operations over a seven year period.

Moreover, for the reasons articulated in Co-defendants [sic] motion to dismiss plaintiff’s Amended Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to effect service of process (plaintiff has not even served Hartley through the mandatory channels, ie. Hague Convention for Service Abroad) and supporting memoranda, RCL contends Plaintiff has failed to establish he is entitled to jurisdictional discovery.

The total share of gross revenues that Royal Caribbean derived by selling Hartley’s excursions to passengers is relevant to determine the amount of business Hartley derives from its relationship with a Florida-based entity – Royal Caribbean. As stated above, the Plaintiff believes that discovery will reveal that Royal Caribbean derives a substantial amount of money from passengers booking Hartley’s excursion on a monthly basis and that Royal Caribbean, in turn, sends Hartley (and/or its agents) a portion of such amount on a monthly basis. Therefore, the information requested is relevant to establish that Hartley maintains continuous and systematic business contacts with Florida. The information is also relevant to refute Hartley’s affidavit [D.E. 31-1] that it does not share profits with Royal Caribbean.

Furthermore, contrary to Royal Caribbean’s objection, the interrogatory is not overbroad as it is sufficiently limited to only those excursion(s) provided by Hartley.[6] The interrogatory is also sufficiently limited in time for the same reasons and case law discussed in Section II(A) above. In addition, Royal Caribbean’s objection that the request is unduly burdensome is meritless because it fails to comply with this Court’s Local Rules. Local Rule 26.1(g)(3)(A) provides that a party is required to “show specifically how a discovery request is… unduly burdensome… by submitting evidence or offering evidence which reveals the nature of the burden.” Henderson v. Holiday CVS, LLC, No. 09-80909-CIV, 2010 WL 3153979, *2 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 9, 2010) (citation omitted) (emphasis added); see also Guzman v. Irmadam, Inc., 249 F.R.D. 399 (S.D. Fla. 2008). Herein, Royal Caribbean has not offered any evidence to support the alleged burden and, thus, such claim should be considered meritless pursuant to Henderson.

Accordingly, Royal Caribbean should be compelled to answer Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatory No. 1 as it is relevant, sufficiently limited, and discoverable.

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory No. 2

Plaintiff’s Interrogatory:

State the total amount of ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD. passengers who booked a shore excursion operated by Hartley’s Under Sea Adventures, Ltd., in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010., 2011 and 2012. For each year provide the source of the information (ex. Annual reports). For each year provide a breakdown of the passengers who originally boarded the ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD. ship in the United States.

Royal Caribbean’s Answer:

RCL adopts herein the objections and arguments it raised in response to interrogatory No. 1. The number of RCL passengers that brooked the subject shore excursion during the applicable period, regardless of where they started their cruise, has no bearing on the issue of whether Florida Courts can exercise jurisdiction over Hartley.

Similar to Interrogatory No. 1, the amount of passengers that have booked Hartley’s shore excursion(s) in the years indicated is relevant to determine the amount of business Hartley derives from passengers.[7] The total share of gross revenues that Royal Caribbean derived by selling Hartley’s excursions to passengers is relevant to determine the amount of business Hartley derives from its relationship with a Florida-based entity – Royal Caribbean. This Court, in Kilma v. Carnival Corp., 08-20335-CIV, 2008 WL 4559231 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 10, 2008), stated that business relationships between a non-resident excursion operator and Florida-based cruise lines may be one of the factors considered to establish general jurisdiction under Florida’s long-arm statute. Id. at *3. It is undisputed that Royal Caribbean is an entity with its principal place of business in Florida. As stated, the Plaintiff believes discovery will reveal that Royal Caribbean derives a substantial amount of money from passengers booking Hartley’s excursion on a monthly basis and that Royal Caribbean, in turn, sends Hartley (and/or its agents) a portion of such amount on a monthly basis. Therefore, the information requested is relevant to establish that Hartley maintains continuous and systematic general business contacts with Florida.

In addition, contrary to Royal Caribbean’s objection, the interrogatory is not overbroad as it is sufficiently limited to only those passengers booking Hartley’s excursion(s). The interrogatory is also sufficiently limited in time for the same reasons and case law discussed above. Furthermore, Royal Caribbean fails to offer any evidence to support the alleged burden and, thus, such claim should be considered meritless pursuant to Henderson. Henderson, supra (a party is required to “show specifically how a discovery request is… unduly burdensome… by submitting evidence or offering evidence which reveals the nature of the burden”).

Accordingly, Royal Caribbean should be compelled to answer Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Interrogatory No. 2 as it is relevant, sufficiently limited, and discoverable.
D. Jurisdictional Requests for Production No.’s 3, 5, 6 and 7

As discussed in further detail below, Royal Caribbean’s objections to Plaintiff’s Jurisdictional Requests for Production No.’s 3, 5, 6 and 7 are without merit.

Request for Production No. 3

Plaintiff’s Request:

Any and all e-mails, memoranda and/or correspondence between Hartley’s Under Sea Adventures, Ltd (and/or its agents and/or intermediaries) and CELEBRITY CRUISES, INC. AND/OR ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD.

Royal Caribbean’s Response:

After a reasonable search and inquiry of its records in the manner and location where such records are ordinarily maintained, RCL has not located correspondence between RCL or Celebrity and Hartley. RCL objects to the terminology memoranda on the grounds it is vague and ambiguous. RCL further objects to the request for correspondence between RCL and any other entity besides Hartley on the grounds that the request is not reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence on the issue of whether the court can exercise personal jurisdiction over Hartley. This request is also overly broad as it is not limited in time and scope.

Plaintiff submits that emails, memoranda and/or correspondence between Hartley and/or Bermuda Onsite Ltd. (as Hartley’s agent) and Royal Caribbean and/or Celebrity Cruises (owned by RCL) is relevant and reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence pertaining to Hartley’s general course of business with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. The Supreme Court has stated that “it is an inescapable fact of modern commercial life that a substantial amount of business is transacted solely by mail and wire communications across state lines,” and that personal jurisdiction cannot be defeated merely because a defendant did not “physically enter” the forum state. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 476, 105 S. Ct. 2174, 85 L. Ed. 2d 528 (1985); see Cable/Home Comm. Corp. v. Network Prods., Inc., 902 F.2d 829, 858 (11th Cir. 1990) (“[i]n our technologically sophisticated world permitting interstate business transactions by mail, wire and satellite signals, physical presence by the nonresident defendant is not necessary for personal jurisdiction in the forum state”); see also Exhibit Icons, LLC v. XP Companies, LLC, 609 F.Supp.2d 1282, 1293-94 (S.D. Fla. 2009) (relying on the aforementioned cases in considering defendant’s communications via telephone, email and facsimile to Florida and ultimately exercising personal jurisdiction over such defendant).

Therefore, emails, memoranda and/or corresponde