United States District Court, D. Maryland
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge
Kathie Wilson Sgiers filed suit in the Circuit Court for
Frederick County, Maryland on February 7, 2018, against
Lamers Bus Lines, Inc. (“Lamers”), a
Wisconsin-based bus company, and “John Doe, ” an
unnamed bus driver working on behalf of Lamers. ECF 2
(Complaint). Plaintiff was an adult chaperone for a middle
school trip from Chicago to Washington, D.C. Id.
¶ 3. The Complaint alleges that on February 15, 2015, as
a result of defendants' negligence, plaintiff was injured
when the bus driver “slammed on the brakes” as
plaintiff was standing to load a movie into the bus's DVD
player. Id. ¶ 6. Following the injury,
plaintiff was driven to Frederick Memorial Hospital in
Frederick, Maryland. Id. ¶ 7.
removed the case to this Court on March 19, 2018. ECF 1
(Notice of Removal).Thereafter, Lamers moved to dismiss
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6) or, in the
alternative, for summary judgment. ECF 7. The motion is
supported by a memorandum of law. ECF 7-1 (collectively,
“Motion”). In particular, Lamers asserts that
this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Lamers because
plaintiff was injured in Virginia, not in Maryland, and
Lamers has no other minimum contacts with Maryland.
See ECF 7-1 at 5-7. Further, Lamers contends that
the Complaint fails to state a claim because the injury
occurred in Virginia, and therefore Virginia law applies,
under the principle of lex loci delictus. Id. at 7.
According to Lamers, Virginia's statute of limitations is
only two years for personal injury cases, and therefore
plaintiffs claims are time-barred. Id. at 7-8;
see Va. Code § 8.01-243(A). In support of the
Motion, Lamers attaches several exhibits, including the
affidavit of the bus driver, Robert Mohr (ECF 7-7),
a purportedly contemporaneous accident report, completed by a
manager for Lamers. ECF 7-8.
opposes the Motion. ECF 9 (“Opposition”). She
maintains that the injury in fact occurred in Maryland, and
therefore the Court has personal jurisdiction over Lamers
because Lamers caused tortious injury in Maryland.
Id. at 7; see Md. Code (2013 Repl. Vol.,
2017 Supp.), § 6-103(b) of the Courts & Judicial
Proceedings Article. Her Opposition is accompanied by two
affidavits, one from plaintiff herself (ECF 9 at 11-13), and
one from Charles Rhodes, who was also on the trip, although
on a different bus. ECF 9 at 14. The affidavits state that,
given the relatively short drive from the site of the injury
to Frederick Memorial Hospital, the bus must have been in
Maryland when plaintiff was injured. Id. at 12, 15.
Lamers replied. ECF 10. It resubmitted its earlier exhibits,
plaintiffs affidavits, and several documents from the
seems evident that the entirety of the dispute, at this stage
of litigation, concerns the location of the bus at the time
plaintiff was injured. If the bus was in Maryland when the
injury occurred, the case will go forward. And, if the bus
was in Virginia at the time of the injury, plaintiff offers
no basis for this Court's exercise of personal
jurisdiction over Lamers. Nor does she explain how the suit
would escape dismissal under Virginia's two-year statute
legal issue here is whether Maryland's long-arm statute
is satisfied by Lamers' conduct. The answer depends
entirely on a disputed fact, i.e., whether the bus
was in Maryland at the time of the injury. District courts
have discretion to grant limited discovery to explore
jurisdictional facts when the issue of personal jurisdiction
is unclear. See Carefirst of Maryland, Inc. v. Carefirst
Pregnancy Centers, Inc., 334 F.3d 390, 402 (4th Cir.
2003) (citations omitted); Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Azko,
N.V., 2 F.3d 56, 64 (4th Cir. 1993); see also Estate
of Alford v. Fuji Heavy Indus., Ltd., No. CV 3:15-16449,
2016 WL 756489, at *2 (S.D. W.Va. Feb. 25, 2016);
Celgard, LLC v. SK Innovation Co., No.
3:13-CV-00254-MOC, 2013 WL 7088637, at *6 (W.D. N.C. Nov. 26,
2013). Jurisdictional discovery is appropriate here.
I shall deny the Motion, without prejudice, and I shall grant
the parties until July 16, 2018, to conduct discovery as to
the question of the location of the bus at the time plaintiff
was injured. Following discovery, Lamers shall have until
September 7, 2018, to renew its Motion or, alternatively, to
inform the Court that this specific question has been
 Lamers styles its motion as one for
summary judgment, but it does not cite Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 or
otherwise discuss summary judgment at all.
 Although it appears that Mohr is the
John Doe bus driver named in the Complaint, Mohr has not been