2004 | Cited 0 times | D. Maine | August 26, 2004


In this action William Bloomquist is suing a wide array ofdefendants in Maine and New Hampshire over their allegedinvolvement in the issuance of a New Hampshire protection fromstalking order filed and prosecuted by a private party, SusanBenfield,2 which impacted Bloomquist's firearm rights. Inthis recommended decision I address a motion to dismiss for lackof personal jurisdiction filed by defendants Justice PamelaAlbee, Justice James Patten, and Chief Clerk Jean Huntoon, all ofwhom are employees of the New Hampshire judiciary and arehereinafter referred to as the New Hampshire Judicial Defendants.(Docket No. 35.) Bloomquist has filed a memorandum in opposition(Docket No. 51) to which the defendants have replied (Docket No.55). I recommend that the Court GRANT the motion to dismisspursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for thefollowing reasons. Discussion

There is no possibility based on Bloomquist's complaint and hisresponse to this motion to dismiss that this court has general,as opposed to specific, personal jurisdiction over thesedefendants. See Foster-Miller, Inc. v. Babcock & Wilcox Canada,46 F.3d 138, 144 (1st Cir. 1995); see generally Donatelli v.Nat'l Hockey League, 893 F.2d 459, 462-63 (1st Cir. 1990)(outlining and distinguishing the contours of general andspecific personal jurisdiction).3

Accordingly, the court must determine if it has specificpersonal jurisdiction over these defendants. In Foster-Miller,Inc., the Court explained: The existence of specific personal jurisdiction depends upon the plaintiff's ability to satisfy two cornerstone conditions: "first, that the forum in which the federal district court sits has a long-arm statute that purports to grant jurisdiction over the defendant; and second, that the exercise of jurisdiction pursuant to that statute comports with the strictures of the Constitution." Pritzker v. Yari, 42 F.3d 53, 60 (1st Cir. 1994); see also Ticketmaster-New York, Inc. v. Alioto, 26 F.3d 201, 204 (1st Cir. 1994); Hahn v. Vermont Law Sch., 698 F.2d 48, 51 (1st Cir. 1983). Although we deem the first of the cornerstone conditions to be self-explanatory, the second condition requires amplification. This condition implicates three distinct components, namely, relatedness, purposeful availment (sometimes called "minimum contacts"), and reasonableness: First, the claim underlying the litigation must directly arise out of, or relate to, the defendant's forum-state activities. Second, the defendant's in-state contacts must represent a purposeful availment of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum state, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of that state's laws and making the defendant's involuntary presence before the state's courts foreseeable. Third, the exercise of jurisdiction must, in light of the Gestalt factors, be reasonable.46 F.3d at 144 (quoting United Elec. Workers v. 163 Pleasant St.Corp., 960 F.2d 1080, 1089 (1st Cir. 1992)). Maine's Long Arm statute "is coextensive with the due processclause of the United States Constitution," Murphy v. Kennan,667 A.2d 591, 593 (Me. 1995), and so this "court need onlyconsider whether due process requirements have been satisfied."Suttie v. Sloan Sales, Inc., 1998 ME 121, ¶ 4, 711 A.2d 1285,1286 (citing Mahon v. East Moline Metal Prods., 579 A.2d 255,256 (Me. 1990)).

As postured, this case requires me to assess whether Bloomquisthas made a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction inresponse to the Albee/Patten/Huntoon motion to dismiss. "Todefeat a motion to dismiss when the court uses [the primafacie] method," Bloomquist, must make the showing as to every fact required to satisfy "both the forum's long-arm statute and the due process clause of the Constitution." U.S.S. Yachts, Inc. v. Ocean Yachts, Inc., 894 F.2d 9, 11 (1st Cir. 1990); accord Dakota Industries, Inc. v. Dakota Sportswear, Inc., 946 F.2d 1384, 1389 (8th Cir. 1991); American Express International, Inc. v. Mendez-Capellan, 889 F.2d 1175, 1178 (1st Cir. 1989); CutCo Indus., Inc. v. Naughton, 806 F.2d 361, 364-65 (2d Cir. 1986). This standard for deciding a motion to dismiss is commonly referred to as the "prima facie" standard or a standard requiring a "prima facie" showing. . . . The prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction must be based on evidence of specific facts set forth in the record. Kowalski v. Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy, 787 F.2d 7, 9 (1st Cir. 1986). The "plaintiff must go beyond the pleadings and make affirmative proof." Chlebda v. H.E. Fortna & Bro. Inc., 609 F.2d 1022, 1024 (1st Cir. 1979); see also Serras v. First Tennessee Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 875 F.2d 1212, 1214 (6th Cir. 1989) (noting that plaintiffs may not rest on their pleadings to make the prima facie showing).Boit v. Gar-Tec Prods., Inc., 967 F.2d 671, 675 (1st Cir. 1992)(footnote omitted).

The thrust of the defendants' motion is simple. All the acts ofthese defendants alleged by Bloomquist occurred in the course ofprotection from stalking proceedings, and subsequent relatedproceedings, that took place in the Northern Carroll County District Court in New Hampshire; not one of their alleged actionstook place in Maine. Bloomquist's arguments in response, incontrast, are scattershot and I take them in turn.

First, Bloomquist argues that these defendants should beestopped from arguing that the District of Maine does not havepersonal jurisdiction over them because when Bloomquist filed amotion to dismiss based on a lack of personal jurisdiction overhim in the New Hampshire stalking proceedings Justice Pattenruled that the New Hampshire Court did have jurisdiction overBloomquist for purposes of taking action on the petition filed bya New Hampshire residence. This estoppel argument is entirelyillogical, utterly without merit, and not worthy of furtherdiscussion.4

In his second and third arguments Bloomquist argues that thiscourt has jurisdiction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922, § 923, § 924,§ 925A, and § 2265. At most5 these provisions might givea court federal subject matter jurisdiction but this does nothingto forward Bloomquist's argument that this court has specificpersonal jurisdiction over these defendants.

Next Bloomquist argues, in his fourth, fifth, and sixthsections, that with respect to the orders issued in the NewHampshire proceeding it was foreseeable, indeed intended, bythese defendants that the orders would have an impact outside ofNew Hampshire. Bloomquist asserts that the fact that thesedefendants knew, or should have known, that the orders issuingfrom the New Hampshire proceedings might be enforced out-of-state means they "purposefully availed themselves offederal and Maine jurisdiction." Bloomquist points out that it isnot necessary for a defendant to have a physical location inMaine to justify personal jurisdiction in this court.

Vis-à-vis Justice Albee, he states that Albee directed ClerkHuntoon to send the temporary stalking order to the Maine StatePolice for service on Bloomquist, ordered Bloomquist to appear inthe Northern Carroll County Court, and ordered Bloomquist tosurrender his firearms, ammunition, and deadly weapons to aCarroll County Sheriff Scott Carr. Bloomquist states that Albeehad clear notice that she was asserting her court's limitedjurisdiction over a non-New Hampshire resident becauseBloomquist's Maine address was on the face of the stalkingpetition.

With respect to Justice Patten's proceedings, Bloomquist setsforth a similar array of contentions regarding Patten's issuanceof a final stalking order on February 15, 2002, claiming that "heshould not be surprised to be dragged into Court in anotherjurisdiction to answer for his intentional violations of DueProcess." (Pl.'s Opp'n Mot. Dismiss at 8.) Patten, Bloomquistalleges, also ordered Bloomquist not to possess firearms in Maineand to turn over his federally licensed firearms business toBloomquist's partners. Bloomquist claims that Huntoon thencontacted the National Crime Information Computer System statingthat Bloomquist was subject to a domestic violence stalkingorder, even though, in Bloomquist's opinion, the strangerstalking order did not meet that definition.

Bloomquist also points to Patten's actions with respect to acontempt motion brought on the final stalking order. WhenBenfield filed a motion for contempt of the stalking order (basedon an incident that Bloomquist contends was orchestrated by Benfield) Patten noticed a hearing, had notice sent to Bloomquistin Maine, and convened a hearing on September 26, 2002.Bloomquist did not attend this hearing after speaking with aperson in the clerk's office on Monday, September 20, seekingclarification of the nature of the proceedings.6 Afterthe hearing Patten entered an order accepting Benfield'sallegations of contempt but — without Bloomquist being presentand having the benefit of counsel — stopped short of entering afinding of contempt in view of the potential of incarceration.(Bloomquist Ex. 12 at 1-2, Attach. 13.) The court deferred afinding on Bloomquist's motion and entered an order for arrest tosecure Bloomquist's appearance to answer the motion. ClerkHuntoon faxed this bench warrant to the Bridgeton, Mainecourthouse in a failed attempt to have Bloomquistserved.7

On February 11, 2003, Benfield filed a motion to extend thefinal protection order. On March 7, 2003, Patten convened ahearing on Benfield's February 11, 2003, motion to extend thefinal protection order. This hearing was held ex parte"solely due to [Bloomquist's] refusal to leave Maine and againsubject himself to New Hampshire jurisdiction for DefendantPatten threatened prosecution for criminal and for contempt."(Pl.'s Opp'n Mot. Dismiss at 13.)8 Patten's resultingorder extended the final protection order for a further year.9 On September 24, 2003,Bloomquist received a letter notifying him that the Bureau ofAlcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) was moving to revoke hisfederal firearms license, an action that Bloomquist contends wasprincipally based on Patten's stalking order.10

Bloomquist's argument that these allegations and his supportingdocumentation substantiate a purposeful availment on the part ofthe New Hampshire Judicial Defendants of the benefits andprotections of Maine law is logically flawed and not supported bythe governing law. Most fundamentally there is an utter lack ofany conceivable benefit or protection from Maine's laws runningto any of the New Hampshire Judicial Defendants who were simplyfulfilling their official duties in New Hampshire with respect toBenfield's request for the protective order.11 Bloomquisthas presented no evidence in support of his allegations thatthese defendants somehow, whether unilaterally or as part of aconspiracy, willfully interfered with his rights under Maine law.And, despite Bloomquist's ardent contention to the contrary, thefact that they could foresee that a New Hampshire order wouldhave some effect in Maine is not sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction. See Burger KingCorp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474 (1985) ("Although it hasbeen argued that foreseeability of causing injury in anotherState should be sufficient to establish such contacts there whenpolicy considerations so require, the Court has consistently heldthat this kind of foreseeability is not a "sufficient benchmark"for exercising personal jurisdiction.") (citing World-WideVolkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 295 (1980)). Oncemore, as stated in Foster-Miller, Inc., "`the in-state contactsmust represent a purposeful availment of the privilege ofconducting activities in the forum state, thereby invoking thebenefits and protections of that state's laws and making thedefendant's involuntary presence before the state's courtsforeseeable.'" 46 F.3d at 144 (quoting United Elec. Workers,960 F.2d at 1089) (emphasis added). That this court could assertpersonal jurisdiction over these defendants based on theirissuance of these orders is also squarely countered by the caselaw cited by the defendants. See Pyle v. Hatley,239 F.Supp.2d 970, 981 (C.D. Cal. 2002); Schroll v. Plunkett,760 F.Supp. 1385, 1388-89 (D.Or. 1991); Fuller v. Harding,699 F.Supp. 64, 69 (E.D.Pa. 1988). I am confident that in respondingto this motion to dismiss Bloomquist has not met his burden ofmaking a prima facie showing that personal jurisdictionexists. See Boit, 967 F.2d at 675.


For the reasons given above I recommend that the Court GRANTthe New Hampshire Judicial Defendants' motion to dismiss (DocketNo. 35) on the ground that the Court does not have personaljurisdiction over these defendants.


A party may file objections to those specified portions of a magistrate judge's report or proposed findings or recommended decisions entered pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) for which de novo review by the district court is sought, together with a supporting memorandum, within ten (10) days of being served with a copy thereof. A responsive memorandum shall be filed within ten (10) days after the filing of the objection. Failure to file a timely objection shall constitute a waiver of the right to de novo review by the district court and to appeal the district court's order.

1. This amendment merely corrects the caption, nothing in thebody of the recommendation has been altered.

2. Defendant Scott Floccher, who had an association withBenfield, also filed a petition for a temporary restraining orderagainst Bloomquist contemporaneous with Benfield's. I refer forthe most part only to Benfield's proceedings against Bloomquistas, as far as I can tell, she was the only one of the two topursue a permanent order and a motion for contempt which are alsoat issue in this case, nothing turns on Floccher's petition inparticular, and sidetracking the immaterial twists and turnsmakes the pertinent events a little simpler to follow.

3. For instance, in the motion to dismiss the defendantsrepresent that not one of these defendants is a resident ofMaine, a representation that Bloomquist does not dispute.

4. Bloomquist also goes on to attack the propriety of JusticePatten's personal jurisdiction determination but he cannot usethis action as a vehicle to challenge the validity of that NewHampshire order. See, e.g., Reppert v. Marvin Lumber & CedarCo., Inc., 359 F.3d 53, 57 & n. 3 (1st Cir. 2004) (observingthat a state court's conclusion that the notice procedures usedvis-à-vis certified class members in a state proceeding met therequirements of the applicable state rule of civil procedure andcomported with due process requirements would be entitled to fullfaith and credit and not subject to collateral attack in thefederal court, citing 28 U.S.C. § 1257, D.C. Court of Appeals v.Feldman, 60 U.S. 462 (1983) and Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co.,263 U.S. 413 (1923)).

5. I am not in anyway intimating that these firearm-relatedprovisions in the criminal statutory title would in fact providea basis for a private cause of action in federal court.

6. Bloomquist provides a self-prepared transcript of thisconversation which is not cognizable as competent evidence. Italso, in my view, does not support Bloomquist's contention thathe was in some way mislead by this information into believing hispresence was not necessary.

7. Bloomquist also states that when Bloomquist later requestedof Huntoon a transcript of the September 26, 2002, hearingHuntoon made no response. I fail to see how this allegationpertains in anyway to the jurisdictional question. He also alleges that Benfield had a notice of registration offoreign protection order filed in the Bridgton District Courtwhich made the order enforceable in Maine. This action onBenfield's part is not relevant to the inquiry concerning thesedefendants' contacts with Maine.

8. Bloomquist asserts that Huntoon intentionally failed tomail a copy of this motion to Bloomquist until March 7, 2003, andin support of this assertion Bloomquist cites to the attachedmotion, signed February 11, 2003, by Benfield. (Pl.'s Opp'n Mot.Dismiss at 12; Bloomquist Ex. 14, attach. 15.) In his motion inopposition to the motion to dismiss Bloomquist makes it sound asthough he made a conscience choice not to attend the proceeding.On this record I cannot see how this sways the court'sdetermination vis-à-vis this personal jurisdiction controversy.Once again, this is certainly not the venue for challenging thelegitimacy of the order entered on Benfield's February 11, 2003,motion. See footnote 3.

9. Bloomquist describes this order as threatening criminal andcontempt prosecution. The cited order however states with respectto future consequences: The Defendant shall be given notice of Plaintiff's request and this Order. If the Defendant objects to the extension, he/she shall file a timely written request with the Court and a hearing shall be conducted within 30 days of this Order. At such hearing, . . . the Court may . . . reaffirm, modify or vacate this extension order. If a hearing is scheduled, both parties shall appear.(Bloomquist Ex. 16, Attach 17.)

10. Bloomquist alleges that he was forced to "successfullyappeal" this revocation and the Boston Bureau of the ATF was"unwilling to put the New Hampshire Protection from StalkingFinal Order to any legal test due to the numerous facial fataldefects." (Pl.'s Opp'n Mot. Dismiss at 14.) He states that hisFederal Firearms license was renewed on April 20, 2004. (Id.)However, in support of this assertion Bloomquist cites to recordsupport that evidences only that he received his notice of denialand that he requested a hearing. (Bloomquist Ex. 19, Attach. 20.)There is no record evidence as to what stance or action theBureau took on his appeal.

11. Bloomquist also alleges that he served Benfield viaHuntoon with a motion to stay the foreign protection order andthat he filed this motion in the Bridgton District Court.Bloomquist's using Huntoon as a vehicle of service for a motionfiled in a Maine proceeding can hardly be construed as an actionby Huntoon availing herself of the benefits and protections ofMaine laws.

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