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Mark Myers v. Casino Queen

August 21, 2012

MARK MYERS PLAINTIFF - APPELLANT
v.
CASINO QUEEN, INC. DEFENDANT - APPELLEE



Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bye, Circuit Judge.

Submitted: June 13, 2012

Before BYE, BEAM, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.

Mark Myers sued Casino Queen, Inc. in Missouri state court based on theories of negligence and premises liability. The action was removed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Following removal, Casino Queen filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, arguing Missouri's long-arm statute did not authorize jurisdiction and the exercise of jurisdiction over Casino Queen by a Missouri court would not comport with due process requirements. The district court granted the motion. We reverse.

I

Casino Queen operates a gambling and hotel establishment in East St. Louis, Illinois. Casino Queen's location places it within a larger metropolitan area that is comprised of East St. Louis, Illinois, St. Louis, Missouri, and several smaller suburbs in both Missouri and Illinois. As such, Casino Queen actively pursues marketing campaigns directed at Missouri residents for the purpose of attracting customers to patronize the casino and hotel.

Casino Queen's advertising and promotional campaigns are numerous and extensive. Not only does Casino Queen advertise through print, radio, and television media in Missouri, but it also engages in direct mailing campaigns targeted at Missouri addresses. Casino Queen maintains business relationships with professional sports teams in Missouri. Specifically, Casino Queen advertises at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, and pays for a special area located inside the stadium known as the "Casino Queen Party Porch." To facilitate movement of customers between Missouri and Illinois, Casino Queen operates a fleet of shuttle buses that ferry customers to and from Busch Stadium. In addition to licensing agreements and transportation, Casino Queen donates to political efforts in Missouri. In 2008, Casino Queen donated $150,000 to a group that opposed the repeal of gambling loss limit laws in Missouri.

Myers is a resident of St. Louis County, Missouri. Prior to the events that gave rise to this dispute, Myers had come into repeated contact with Casino Queen. Myers had seen and heard Casino Queen radio, television, and print media advertisements in Missouri and visited the "Casino Queen Party Porch" while attending a sports event at Busch Stadium. Myers had also visited Casino Queen.

On April 12, 2009, Myers went to Casino Queen to gamble. Myers sat at a blackjack table for several hours where he was served several alcoholic drinks. Myers won approximately $17,500. Myers proceeded to cash out his winnings at a cashier station in public view. After collecting the cash and filling out a tax form, a visibly intoxicated Myers left the casino. Myers alleges that two individuals saw him cash out his winnings and followed him out of the casino. After leaving the casino, Myers hailed a cab and returned to Missouri. The two individuals who followed Myers out of the casino also followed Myers's cab. When Myers arrived back home in Missouri, the two individuals beat and robbed Myers.

Casino Queen observes precautionary procedures for patrons who win substantial amounts at the casino. These procedures include offering the customer a private room in which to have winnings counted, providing security escorts for the customer while inside the casino, and allowing for a security vehicle to follow the customer's vehicle after exiting the casino to ensure the customer's vehicle is not harassed or followed after leaving the premises. Casino Queen was aware that Myers had won a substantial amount of money, as it alleges it offered him the option of having his funds wired to a bank account of his choice. Myers asserts Casino Queen did not extend any of these other precautions to him on April 12. Prior to Myers's injuries, Casino Queen was aware of three incidents involving "follow home" robberies. During these robberies, casino patrons were targeted at Casino Queen, followed out of the casino, and robbed. In Myers's case, Casino Queen was able to produce video surveillance footage from the casino floor that showed Myers being followed by two individuals.

Myers filed suit against Casino Queen in Missouri state court. Casino Queen removed the action to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1332(a)(1). Casino Queen filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court granted the motion and Myers now appeals.

II

A district court's decision to dismiss a case for lack of personal jurisdiction is reviewed de novo. Johnson v. Arden, 614 F.3d 785, 793 (8th Cir. 2010). "Although a plaintiff seeking to predicate long-arm jurisdiction on the accrual of a tort action within the forum state need not make a full showing on the merits that the nonresident defendant committed the tort, a prima facie showing is required to defeat a motion to dismiss for want of jurisdiction." Block Indus. v. DHJ Indus., Inc., 495 F.2d 256, 259 (8th Cir. 1974).

Casino Queen contends the district court could not exercise jurisdiction unless Casino Queen's actions satisfy one of the enumerated sections of Missouri's long-arm statute, and the exercise of jurisdiction comports with due process requirements. Some of our cases have held where a state supreme court interprets its long-arm statute to permit jurisdiction over nonresidents to the full extent permissible under the Due Process Clause, this dual inquiry collapses into a single inquiry of whether asserting jurisdiction violates the Due Process Clause. See, e.g., Clune v. Alimak AB, 233 F.3d 538, 541 (8th Cir. 2000) (conducting only a due process analysis after noting "Missouri courts have interpreted the [long-arm] statute broadly to cover those cases where the Due Process Clause permits the assertion of personal jurisdiction"). In contrast, other cases have held the jurisdictional ...


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