United States District Court, N.D. New York
Memorandum-Decision and Order pertains to: Reece, No.
1:19-CV-219; Bamrick, No. 1:19-CV-225; Driscoll, No.
1:19-CV-231; Gates, No. 1:19-CV-221; Slowey, No. 1:19-
CV-216; Webber, No. 1:19-CV-220; Wyman, No. 1:19-CV-215.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Lawrence E. Kahn U.S. District Judge.
action concerns allegations of tortious acts committed by:
(1) operators of facilities that discharged or released
perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) into the Village
of Hoosick Falls's (“Hoosick Falls” or the
“Village”) water supply; and (2) several
suppliers of those PFOAs. The plaintiffs-Kathleen Reece,
Diane Bamrick, Mark Driscoll, Crystal Gates, Ryan Slowey, Ian
Webber, and Lori Wyman (collectively, “Individual
Plaintiffs”)-assert claims in their individual
capacities (and several on behalf of an estate) against these
facility operators and PFOA suppliers under New York State
law for negligence, gross negligence, strict liability, and
strict products liability. Some of the Individual Plaintiffs
also assert claims for loss of consortium and wrongful
Plaintiffs each bring claims against Saint-Gobain Corporation
(“Saint-Gobain”) and its subsidiary, Saint-Gobain
Performance Plastics Corporation (“SGPP”). Compl.
Saint-Gobain moves to dismiss the Individual Plaintiffs'
cases pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2)
for lack of personal jurisdiction. Individual Plaintiffs oppose
the Motions to Dismiss,  and Saint-Gobain has filed
following reasons, the Court denies all of the Motions to
Dismiss and grants Individual Plaintiffs' requests to
conduct jurisdictional discovery.
relevant allegations and assertions of fact appear to be as
Overview of Saint-Gobain and SGPP
is incorporated and has its principal place of business in
Pennsylvania. Compl. ¶ 20. SGPP, of which Saint-Gobain
is the “parent” company, is incorporated in
California and has its principal place of business in
Pennsylvania. Id. ¶¶ 2, 18. “SGPP is
a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain Ceramics &
Plastics, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain
Delaware Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Defendant
Saint-Gobain.” Id. ¶ 19. And SGPP
“is present in 16 countries in North American, Europe
and Asia, and operates 45 manufacturing sites.”
Id. ¶ 21.
Overlap Between Saint-Gobain and SGPP
“was actively involved in the management of, and
decision-making by, SGPP, including issues relating to
environmental health and safety” and the
“disposal of hazardous or toxic substances and wastes
by SGPP.” Id. ¶¶ 2, 3. Furthermore,
Saint-Gobain has provided SGPP with “[v]arious types of
services, for example, tax, treasury, risk management, human
resources, [and] environmental health and safety” over
a seventeen-year period. Resps., Ex. S at 81-82. “SGPP
remains the owner and operator of the Hoosick Facilities,
with significant input from Saint-Gobain regarding
operations.” Compl. ¶ 80.
January 2017 to January 2019, Thomas Kinisky was the CEO of
both Saint-Gobain and SGPP. Resps., Exs. J; O; H. As CEO of
both companies, Kinisky interacted with the Mayor of Hoosick
Falls regarding the PFOA contamination of the Village's
drinking supply. Id., Exs. M; Q. And “[i]n
response to a [New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation] questionnaire in 2016, SGPP admitted to
disposal of PFOA containing wastes at the Hoosick Facilities
in documents attested to or confirmed by Edward Canning, an
employee of SGPP and/or Saint-Gobain.” Compl. ¶
SGPP employee, Phil Guy, previously testified that
Saint-Gobain and SGPP employees were “all part of the -
ultimately part of the French corporation overall.”
Resps., Ex. R at 10.
Other Facts Purportedly Supporting Jurisdiction Over
Plaintiffs also allege Saint-Gobain is “a past owner
and operator of the Hoosick Facilities.” Compl. ¶
5. As an owner of the Hoosick Facilities, “Saint-Gobain
knew, or should have known, that PFOA-containing materials
had been used in the Hoosick Facilities and thereby posed a
risk to those exposed to PFOA contamination originating from
the Hoosick Facilities during the time of [its]
ownership.” Id. ¶ 110.
at least one manufacturer of PFOA-containing materials, E. I.
DuPont De Nemours and Company, sold such materials “to
Saint-Gobain . . . that were used at the [Village of] Hoosick
[Falls] facilities, ” which in turn “discharged,
released or otherwise disposed of” PFOA into the
Village's drinking supply. Id. ¶¶ 8,
“on December 30, 2014, SGPP filed a Toxic Substances
Control Act (‘TSCA') Section 8(e) Notice with EPA.
In that Notice, SGPP and Saint-Gobain reported the presence
of PFOA in the Village water supply and the nexus of that
contamination to the Hoosick Facilities.” Id.
¶ 116. The Notice listed Lauren
Alterman-Saint-Gobain's Vice President of Environmental,
Health and Safety-as the point of contact. Resps., Exs. K; L.
a defendant moves to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2),
the plaintiff bears the burden of showing that the court has
jurisdiction over the defendants.” Micro Fines
Recycling Owego, LLC v. Ferrex Eng'g, Ltd., No.
17-CV-1315, 2019 WL 1762889, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 22, 2019)
(Kahn, J.) (citing Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Robertson-Ceco
Corp., 84 F.3d 560, 566 (2d Cir. 1996)). The court is
not limited to considering “the four corners of the
complaint.” Phillips v. Reed Grp., Ltd., 955
F.Supp.2d 201, 225 (S.D.N.Y. 2013). “[T]he Court may
also rely on submitted affidavits and other supporting
materials submitted in relation to the motion.”
plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of personal
jurisdiction over a defendant. Grand River Enters. Six
Nations, Ltd. v. Pryor, 425 F.3d 158, 165 (2d Cir.
2005). “A prima facie showing of jurisdiction
‘does not mean that plaintiff must show only some
evidence that defendant is subject to jurisdiction; it means
that plaintiff must plead facts which, if true, are
sufficient in themselves to establish
jurisdiction.'” Tamam v. Fransabank Sal,
677 F.Supp.2d 720, 725 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (quoting
Bellepointe, Inc. v. Kohl's Dep't Stores,
Inc., 975 F.Supp. 562, 564-65 (S.D.N.Y. 1997)).
Pleadings that assert only “conclusory
non-fact-specific jurisdictional allegations” or state
a “legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation” do not meet this burden. Jazini v.
Nissan Motor Co., 148 F.3d 181, 185 (2d Cir. 1998).
While “the pleadings and affidavits are to be construed
in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, and all doubts are
to be resolved in Plaintiff's favor, ” Minholz
v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 227 F.Supp.3d 249, 255