Transfer in MA. Creditor in TX. Jurisdiction?

Plaintiffs, citizens of Texas, sued two citizens of Massachusetts and their companies, alleging violations of the Texas Fraudulent Transfer Act.  Dontos v. Vendomation NZ Ltd., No. 12-10986 (Sept. 16, 2014, unpublished).  The district court dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction and the Fifth Circuit reversed.

Noting that it was “hesitant to make per se rules regarding fact-specific minimum contacts analysis,” the Court observed generally that “a debtor who is liable under TUFTA to a Texas resident is likely subject to suit in the creditor’s forum state because the debtor acted with actual or constructive fraudulent intent to expressly aim their conduct at a creditor in the forum, where the tort’s harm was felt.”  Similarly, while “a mere ‘passive transferee[]” is unlikely to be subject to jurisdiction in the creditor’s resident state,” if ” the transferee ‘precipitate[s] and direct[s] an alleged fraudulent transfer at the expense of a known . . . creditor in Texas,” jurisdiction is likely.  (reviewing and applying Mullins v. TestAmerica, Inc., 564 F.3d 386, 400 (5th Cir. 2009) (citing Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 789-90 (1984)).

Applying those principles, and accepting the plaintiffs’ allegations as true, the Court found sufficiently detailed allegations to state a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction as to both the debtor and the initial transferees.

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