United States District Court, D. Oregon
RICKY R. WASCHER and PATRICIA B. WASCHER, Plaintiffs,
STATE OF WISCONSIN - DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, STATE OF WISCONSIN - TAX APPEALS COMMISSION, PATRICIA CLARK, CARRIE KLOSS, KEVIN BRANDT, MARY NELSON, MAIA PEARSON, BONNIE JORSTAD, JOHN DOE and JANE DOE, Defendants.
Michael J. McShane, United States District Judge
Ricky Wascher and Patricia Wascher bring this action for RICO
conspiracy, racketeering, fraud, breach of contract,
conversion, libel, extortion, and blackmail against the
Wisconsin Department of Revenue, the Wisconsin Tax Appeals
Commission, and various individual defendants. Defendants
move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Because
Plaintiffs fail to allege that Defendants have sufficient
contacts with the State of Oregon to support general or
specific jurisdiction, the motion is GRANTED and the case is
DISMISSED with prejudice.
are Oregon residents who allege that Defendants engaged in
racketeering by communicating with Plaintiffs regarding a
review of their 2013 Wisconsin tax filing. Plaintiffs claim
that Defendants impermissibly and maliciously expanded the
scope of Plaintiffs' tax review when Plaintiffs refused
to provide additional information regarding the 2013 filing.
Wisconsin Department of Revenue and the Wisconsin Tax Appeals
Commission are Wisconsin state agencies. Both agencies make
determinations on various tax issues for the State of
Wisconsin. They are not located in Oregon and do not conduct
business in Oregon.
allege thirty-two counts in their complaint related to
Defendants' alleged conspiracy to engage in a pattern of
racketeering activity and predicate acts. Plaintiffs request
two million dollars in compensatory damages and additional
move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiffs
submit no response on the merits of the personal jurisdiction
argument; instead arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment
provides this Court with federal question jurisdiction over
their claims anywhere in the United States. Whether a
district court has federal question jurisdiction over a
particular action, however, is a different question than
whether a district court has personal jurisdiction over the
particular defendants named in the action. Fed.R.Civ.P.
4(k)(1)(A) authorizes personal jurisdiction in federal court
only as far as it would be authorized in state court. By
failing to respond to Defendants' personal jurisdiction
arguments, Plaintiffs implicitly concede that personal
jurisdiction is not proper in this case. See adidas-Am.,
Inc. v. Payless Shoesource, Inc., 546 F.Supp.2d 1029,
1076 (D. Or. 2008); S. Nevada Shell Dealers Ass'n v.
Shell Oil Co., 725 F.Supp. 1104, 1109 (D. Nev. 1989). As
such, Defendants' motion is granted and the case is
dismissed. Despite the Plaintiff's failure to address the
issue, it is clear, based on the allegations in the
complaint, that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over
Defendants. Because Plaintiffs proceed pro
se, the basis for finding that the court lacks personal
jurisdiction is discussed below.
as here, there is no applicable federal statute governing
personal jurisdiction, a district court must apply the law of
the state in which it sits. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
4(k)(1)(A); Panvasion Int'l, L.P. v. Toeppen,
141 F.3d 1316, 1320 (9th Cir. 1998). Oregon law authorizes
personal jurisdiction to the full extent permitted by the Due
Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. See Or. R.
Civ. P. 4L. To comport with the requirements of due process,
a court may only exercise personal jurisdiction over a
non-resident defendant if that defendant has sufficient
“minimum contacts” with the forum state, such
that the exercise of personal jurisdiction would not
“offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.” Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (citations and
quotation marks omitted). A defendant's minimum contacts
may be established through a showing of either general or
specific jurisdiction. Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin
Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 801 (9th Cir. 2004). Plaintiffs
bear the burden of establishing either basis for personal
jurisdiction, addressed in turn.
General Personal Jurisdiction
defendant is subject to general jurisdiction if its contacts
with the forum state are “so continuous and systemic as
to render it essentially at home” there. Daimler v.
Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 127 (2014) (citations and
quotation marks omitted).
there is no evidence that Defendants have sufficient contacts
to support general jurisdiction in Oregon. Defendants are
Wisconsin State tax agencies that have no regular contacts
with Oregon. To the extent that they interact with residents
outside of Wisconsin, it is only to collect taxes owed to
Wisconsin or resolve disputes thereof. Such contacts do not
“approximate physical presence in the forum
state.” Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 801
(citation omitted). It would therefore be inconsistent with
due process for the Court to exercise general jurisdiction
Specific Personal Jurisdiction
Ninth Circuit, courts apply a three-part test to determine
whether the exercise of specific jurisdiction over a