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Redi-Co, LLC v. Prince Castle, LLC

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division

February 20, 2019

REDI-CO, LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, Plaintiff,
v.
PRINCE CASTLE, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendant.

          George W. Mead THE MEAD LAW FIRM PC Attorney for Plaintiff

          Anna Helton SCHWABE, WILLIAMSON & WYATT PC

          David Duffy Patrick Morales-Doyle THOMPSON COBURN LLP Attorneys for Defendant

          OPINION & ORDER

          MARCO A. HERANDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In this contract action, Plaintiff Redi-Co, LLC contends that Defendant Prince Castle, LLC breached the parties' supply contract. Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), (2), and (6), Defendant moves to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. I grant the motion because the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendant.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is an Oregon company with its principal place of business in West Linn, Oregon. Am. Compl., ¶ 1, ECF 43.[1] Defendant is a Delaware company with its principal place of business in Carol Stream, Illinois. Id., ¶ 2. On August 28, 2013, the parties entered into a written supply agreement for Plaintiff to sell grill scrapers and other related products to Defendant. Am. Compl., Ex. 1. Slightly less than two years later, on or about August 18, 2015, Defendant notified Plaintiff that it would no longer purchase the products it had been ordering. Am. Compl., ¶ 12. Several days later, Plaintiff sent Defendant a default notice stating its intent to pursue remedies. Am. Compl., Ex. 2.

         STANDARDS

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), a defendant may move for dismissal on the grounds that the court lacks personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff has the burden of showing personal jurisdiction. Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008). When the district court decides a motion without an evidentiary hearing, “the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of the jurisdictional facts” based on the plaintiff's pleadings and affidavits. Id. “Uncontroverted allegations in the plaintiff's complaint must be taken as true, ” and “[c]onflicts between the parties over statements contained in affidavits must be resolved in the plaintiff's favor.” Id.

         In diversity cases such as this, the court applies the law of the state in which it sits to determine whether it has personal jurisdiction over the nonresident defendant. Hunt v. Erie Ins. Grp., 728 F.2d 1244, 1246 (9th Cir. 1984). Generally, personal jurisdiction is proper if it is permitted by the forum state's long-arm statute and if the exercise of that jurisdiction does not violate federal due process. Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). Because Oregon's long-arm statute confers jurisdiction to the extent permitted by due process, the court proceeds directly to the federal due process analysis. Gray & Co. v. Firstenberg Mach. Co., 913 F.2d 758, 760 (9th Cir. 1990); see Harris Rutsky & Co. Ins. Servs., Inc. v. Bell & Clements Ltd., 328 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2003) (when a state long-arm statute reaches as far as the Due Process Clause, the court need only analyze whether the exercise of jurisdiction complies with due process). To comport with due process, the nonresident defendant must have “certain minimum contacts” with the forum state so that the exercise of jurisdiction “does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 126 (2014).

         The forum state may exercise either general or specific jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1016. If the contacts are insufficient for a court to invoke general jurisdiction, the court then applies the relevant test to determine whether specific jurisdiction exists. In re Tuli, 172 F.3d 707, 713 n.5 (9th Cir. 1999).

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff concedes that Defendant's contacts in Oregon are not so continuous and systematic as to warrant general jurisdiction. Pl.'s Resp., 12, ECF 49. Thus, I discuss only whether this Court has specific jurisdiction over Defendant.

         The Ninth Circuit uses a three-prong test to determine whether a party has sufficient minimum contacts for specific jurisdiction. Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004). First, the defendant must “purposefully direct his activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or resident thereof; or perform some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.” Id. Second, “the claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the defendant's forum-related activities.” Id. Third, the exercise of jurisdiction must be reasonable, meaning it comports with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. Id. Plaintiff bears the burden on the first two prongs of the test. Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1016. If the plaintiff establishes both prongs one and two, ...


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