No personal jurisdiction in Florida over a foreign corporation that supplied a Florida business with a defective product



United States

In ProAmpac Holdings, Inc. v. RCBA Nutraceuticals, LLC, 5D21-2019 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. September 2, 2022), the petitioner (“ProAmpac”) appealed an order denying its motion to dismiss RCBA Nutraceuticals, LLC’s (“RBCA”) complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. RCBA is a Florida limited liability company that sells supplements in plastic zipper bags. RCBA purchased zipper bags from a company that, they alleged, outsourced the manufacturing of the bags to another company that was acquired by ProAmpac. RBCA’s complaint sought damages caused by defects in the zipper bags. 

Long-arm jurisdiction two-part test

The Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal explained that to determine whether a Florida state court has long-arm jurisdiction over a nonresident, courts apply a two-part test set out by the Florida Supreme Court in Venetian Salami Co. v. Parthenais, 554 So. 2d 499 (Fla. December 14, 1989) (“Venetian Salami”). First, the court must determine whether the complaint alleges sufficient facts to bring the action within Fla. Stat. § 48.193 (2022). This can be done by establishing either specific or general jurisdiction. Next, the court must determine whether sufficient minimum contacts are demonstrated to satisfy due process requirements. Both prongs must be satisfied to establish long-arm jurisdiction over a non-resident. 

RCBA’s complaint did not establish specific jurisdiction

Fla. Stat. § 48.193(1) sets out specific causes of action for which a non-resident submits themself to the jurisdiction of Florida courts. The Court found that the RCBA’s assertion that ProAmpac was a Delaware corporation doing business in Florida was insufficient to allege specific jurisdiction. Citing Venetian Salami, the Court noted that to plead jurisdiction, a plaintiff can either plead supporting facts or plead the language of the statute. The pertinent language in section 48.193(1) is “operating, conducting, engaging in, or carrying on a business or business venture in this state or having an office or agency in this state.” A plaintiff cannot plead jurisdiction by summing up the statutory language in a phrase not included in the statute, such as “doing business.” Additionally, the fact that purchase orders reflected a Florida “ship to” address did not sufficiently allege that ProAmpac’s bags were actually shipped to Florida.

The Complaint also failed to allege that any of the defendants committed a tortious act in Florida. Likewise, the allegations fell short of establishing that the defendants’ omission outside of the state caused injury to persons or property within Florida. Economic harm is insufficient to establish personal jurisdiction on this basis. The Complaint alleged property damages at the Plaintiff’s major distributors around the world and its New York plant; however, the only damages tied to Florida were purely economic damages.

RCBA’s complaint did not establish general jurisdiction

To establish general jurisdiction under section 48.193(2), the defendant must have engaged in continuous and systematic general business contact with Florida. The Complaint contained no allegations that ProAmpac had a business presence in Florida, shipped the defective bags to Florida, or interacted with Florida in any material way. Therefore, RCBA failed to establish general jurisdiction. 


The Court rejected RCBA’s argument that ProAmpac waived the issue of personal jurisdiction by lodging objections in response to a subpoena. The Court explained that these objections were lodged when ProAmpac was a non-party. Actions taken in response to a foreign subpoena do not necessarily constitute waiver of personal jurisdiction for a later-filed suit.  


The Court found the RCBA failed to meet the first prong of the test for personal jurisdiction of a non-resident. Accordingly, the Court reversed the order denying ProAmpac’s motion to dismiss and remanded the case.

October 24, 2022
ProAmpac Holdings, Inc. v. RCBA Nutraceuticals, LLC, 5D21-2019 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. September 2, 2022)
Author: Grace Baehren
Florida Courts