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Slayden v. Schulz Boat Company, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Oregon

January 16, 2015

BRUCE SLAYDEN and NORA SLAYDEN, Plaintiffs,
v.
SCHULZ BOAT COMPANY, INC., a Rhode Island corporation, and WILLIAM RAMOS, Defendants.

TIMOTHY A. LAWSON, CHARLES R. MARKLEY, Greene & Markley, P.C., Portland, Oregon, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

SCHULZ BOAT CO., INC. Providence, Rhode Island, Defendant, Pro Se.

WILLIAM RAMOS, Bristol, Rhode Island, Defendant, Pro Se.

OPINION AND ORDER

ANNA J. BROWN, District Judge.

Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta issued Findings and Recommendation (#31) on October 28, 2014, in which he recommends the Court grant in part Defendants' Motion (#12) to Dismiss as to the lack of personal jurisdiction but, nonetheless, transfer this case to the District of Rhode Island. The Magistrate Judge also recommends the Court deny as moot that portion of Defendants' Motion in which they move to dismiss Plaintiffs' fraud claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs filed timely Objections to the Findings and Recommendation. The matter is now before this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b).

When any party objects to any portion of the Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendation, the district court must make a de novo determination of that portion of the Magistrate Judge's report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). See also Dawson v. Marshall, 561 F.3d 930, 932 (9th Cir. 2009); United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) ( en banc ).

This Court has carefully considered Plaintiffs' Objections and has reviewed the pertinent portions of the record de novo. For the following reasons, the Court adopts only in part the Findings and Recommendation and concludes it has personal jurisdiction over Defendants. In the interest of justice and in the exercise of its discretion, the Court, nonetheless, transfers this case to the District of Rhode Island.

BACKGROUND

The Court adopts the Magistrate Judge's factual statement with the following addition:

On November 27, 2012, Defendant William Ramos contacted Plaintiff to inquire whether Plaintiff was prepared to finalize the contract with Schultz Boat Company, Inc., to build a boat for summer delivery. Ramos informed Plaintiff that another customer who lived in Chile was also interested in a boat and that Schultz could only build one boat for summer delivery. Ramos informed Plaintiff, however, that Schultz Boat would prefer to build a boat for Plaintiff rather than the customer in Chile because Plaintiff's location in the Pacific Northwest provided a greater opportunity for additional business.

DISCUSSION

In their First Amended Complaint (#10), Plaintiffs raise claims for breach of contract, negligence, and fraud. Defendants contend this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over them as to all claims. Plaintiffs, in turn, contend this Court has stand-alone personal jurisdiction over Defendants with regard to the breach-of-contract and fraud claims and should exercise pendent personal jurisdiction over Defendants as to Plaintiffs' negligence claim.

I. Personal Jurisdiction

After a review of the record as a whole, this Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that this Court does not have stand-alone personal jurisdiction over Defendants as to Plaintiffs' breach-of-contract claim, and the Court adopts that portion of the Findings and Recommendation. The Court concludes, however, a separate analysis is necessary for Plaintiffs' fraud claim. See Action Embroidery Corp. v. Atl. Embriodery, Inc., 368 F.3d 1174, 1180 (9th Cir. 2004) ("Personal jurisdiction must exist for each claim asserted against a defendant.").

A. Plaintiffs' Fraud Claim

As the Magistrate Judge noted, the due-process standard for specific personal ...


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