Personal Jurisdiction: Ex Parte International Creative Management Partners, LLC, DBA ICM Partners
Ex parte International Creative Management Partners, LLC, d/b/a ICM Partners, [Ms. 1161059, Feb. 2, 2018] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2018). This decision by Justice Parker (Stuart, C.J., Bolin, Shaw, Main, Wise, and Sellers, JJ., concur and Bryan, J., concurs in the result), issues a writ of mandamus reversing the Mobile Circuit Court’s order denying Defendant International Creative Management Partners, LLC’s (ICM) Ala. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
ICM, a Delaware limited liability company, with its principal place of business in Los Angeles, California, is a talent agency representing clients throughout the world. Ms. *2. ICM represents Cannibal Corpse, a “death-metal” music band. Ms. *3. C.C. Touring is Cannibal Corpse’s manager. Red Mountain Entertainment, an Alabama company, contacted ICM about scheduling Cannibal Corpse to perform at Soul Kitchen Music Hall in Mobile. Ms. *3. ICM acting as agent for Cannibal Corpse and C.C. Touring, conducted fee negotiations for Cannibal Corpse’s performance with an employee of Red Mountain Entertainment. Ibid. Storch testified that all of the negotiations were conducted by phone or email and that ICM received a $250 commission for Cannibal Corpse’s appearance at Soul Kitchen. Ms. *3-4.
During the Mobile performance by Cannibal Corpse, the plaintiff was thrown to the ground when the crowd became violent and was paralyzed as a result. Ms. *4. The plaintiff sued a number of parties, including the talent agency ICM. The plaintiff conceded on mandamus review that ICM was not subject to general personal jurisdiction in Alabama. In regard to the conduct necessary to support an exercise of specific personal jurisdiction, the Court reiterated the standard set out in Hinrichs v. General Motors of Canada, Ltd., 222 So. 3d 1114, 1136-37 (Ala. 2016):
“‘[O]ur “minimum contacts” analysis looks to the defendant’s contacts with the forum State itself, not the defendant’s contacts with persons who reside there. See, e.g., International Shoe [Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310,] 319 [(1945)] (Due process “does not contemplate that a state may make binding a judgment in personam against an individual ... with which the state has no contacts, ties, or relations”); Hanson [v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235,] 251 [(1958)] (“However minimal the burden of defending in a foreign tribunal, a defendant may not be called upon to do so unless he has had the ‘minimal contacts’ with that State that are a prerequisite to its exercise of power over him”). Accordingly, we have upheld the assertion of jurisdiction over defendants who have purposefully “reach[ed] out beyond” their State and into another by, for example, entering a contractual relationship that “envisioned continuing and wide-reaching contacts” in the forum State, Burger King [Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462,] 479-480 [(1985)], or by circulating magazines to “deliberately exploit” a market in the forum State, Keeton [v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U.S. 770,] 781 [(1984)]. And although physical presence in the forum is not a prerequisite to jurisdiction, Burger King, supra, at 476, physical entry into the State – either by the defendant in person or through an agent, goods, mail, or some other means – is certainly a relevant contact. See, e.g., Keeton, supra, at 773-774.’”
Ms. *16-17, (quoting Walden, 571 U.S. at ___, 134 S. Ct. at 1122).
In finding that personal jurisdiction over ICM was lacking, the Court found that “ICM simply facilitated the performance agreement between C.C. Touring and Red Mountain Entertainment at the unsolicited request of Red Mountain Entertainment.” Ms. *17.
The Court further concluded that ICM’s conduct did not give rise to the episode in suit because “ICM’s relationship with Alabama is very tenuous, [and] the claims asserted by the parties do not arise out of or relate to ICM’s contacts with Alabama ....” Ms. *20.