The determination of whether a Florida court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant requires a two-step analysis, as explained by the Florida Supreme Court in Venetian Salami Co. v. Parthenais, 554 So. 2d 499 (Fla. 1989). “First, it must be determined that the complaint alleges sufficient jurisdictional facts to bring the action within the ambit of Florida’s long-arm statute, section 48.193.” Balboa v. Assante, 958 So. 2d 573 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007). “If so, the next inquiry is whether sufficient ‘minimum contacts’ are demonstrated to satisfy due process requirements.” Balboa v. Assante, 958 So. 2d 573 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007). “Both parts must be satisfied for a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant.” Am. Fin. Trading Corp. v. Bauer, 828 So. 2d 1071 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002). Peter Mavrick is a Miami business litigation attorney, and represents clients in business litigation in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and Palm Beach. The Mavrick Law Firm represents businesses and their owners in breach of contract litigation and related claims of fraud, non-compete agreement litigation, trade secret litigation, trademark infringement litigation, employment litigation, and other legal disputes in federal and state courts and in arbitration.
The proper procedure for invoking and challenging the court’s personal jurisdiction is as follows. “Initially, the plaintiff may seek to obtain jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant by pleading the basis for service in the language of the statute without pleading the supporting facts.” Venetian Salami Co. v. Parthenais, 554 So. 2d 499 (Fla. 1989). “By itself, the filing of a motion to dismiss on grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction over the person does nothing more than raise the legal sufficiency of the pleadings.” Venetian Salami Co. v. Parthenais, 554 So. 2d 499 (Fla. 1989). “A defendant wishing to contest the allegations of the complaint concerning jurisdiction or to raise a contention of minimum contacts must file affidavits in support of his position.” Venetian Salami Co. v. Parthenais, 554 So. 2d 499 (Fla. 1989). “To be legally sufficient, the defendant’s affidavit must contain factual allegations which, if taken as true, show that the defendant’s conduct does not subject him to jurisdiction.” Hilltopper Holding Corp. v. Estate of Cutchin ex rel. Engle, 955 So. 2d 598 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007).
If a defendant disputing jurisdiction files a legally sufficient affidavit containing allegations showing he is not subject to the court’s jurisdiction, the burden then shifts back to the plaintiff to “prove by affidavit the basis upon which jurisdiction may be obtained.” Peznell v. Doolan, 722 So. 2d 881 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998). Where the plaintiff files a counter affidavit that raises conflicting facts, the trial court will hold a limited evidentiary hearing to resolve any disputed facts relating to jurisdiction. Venetian Salami Co. v. Parthenais, 554 So. 2d 499 (Fla. 1989).