United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell United States District Judge.
Lavinia Aircraft Leasing, LLC (“Lavinia”) and
Thomas McDermott (“McDermott”) have sued
Defendant Piper Aircraft Inc. (“Piper”) and
others for the failure of an engine in a Piper aircraft.
Piper has moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims against it
for lack of personal jurisdiction. Doc. 4. The issues are
fully briefed, and the Court determines that oral argument
will not aid its decision. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
78(b); Partridge v. Reich, 141 F.3d 920, 926 (9th
Cir. 1998). For the following reasons, the Court will deny
Thomas McDermott is an Arizona resident and the sole member
of Lavinia. He and Lavinia own a 2001 Piper Meridian aircraft
and allege that the aircraft's engine exploded on July 7,
2014. Defendant Piper is a Delaware corporation with its
principal place of business in Florida. Doc. 1-1, ¶ 3.
Plaintiffs bring product liability claims arising out of the
has filed a declaration stating that he first learned about
the Piper Meridian model aircraft from Piper's website.
Doc. 20-1, ¶ 4. McDermott became interested in
purchasing such an aircraft, but wanted to make the purchase
from an authorized Piper dealer in case the aircraft
developed problems. Id., ¶ 5. McDermott learned
from Piper's website that Keystone Aviation, located in
Utah, was an authorized Piper dealer. Id.,
¶¶ 6-7. McDermott arranged to test fly a Keystone
Piper Meridian in Arizona, but, to avoid expenses and
logistical issues associated with purchasing an aircraft
out-of-state, he decided to locate an authorized Piper dealer
in Arizona. Id., ¶ 10.
located Cutter Southwest Aviation Aircraft Sales, LLC
(“Cutter”) using the Piper webpage. Id.,
¶ 11. McDermott contacted Cutter and learned that it
sells new and used Piper aircraft to Arizona residents.
Id., ¶ 12. McDermott also knew there were two
authorized Piper service centers in Arizona, and that Piper
sells aircraft parts in Arizona through a nationwide
distribution network. Id., ¶¶ 16-17.
November 7, 2013, McDermott purchased a 2001 Piper Meridian
from Cutter. Id., ¶ 15. On July 7, 2014,
McDermott was preparing to take off from a Colorado airport
when the engine exploded. Doc. 20-1, ¶¶ 18, 21. On
July 6, 2016, Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendants under
theories of strict product liability, negligence, and breach
of warranties. Doc. 1-1. On August 25, 2016, the action was
removed to this Court based on diversity of citizenship. Doc.
a defendant moves to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating
that the court has jurisdiction over the defendant.”
Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th
Cir. 2006). “Where, as here, the defendant's motion
is based on written materials rather than an evidentiary
hearing, the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing
of jurisdictional facts to withstand the motion to
dismiss.” Mavrix Photo, Inc. v. Brand Techs.,
Inc., 647 F.3d 1218, 1223 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing
Brayton Purcell LLP v. Recordon & Recordon, 606
F.3d 1124, 1127 (9th Cir. 2010)). “The plaintiff cannot
‘simply rest on the bare allegations of its complaint,
' but uncontroverted allegations in the complaint must be
taken as true.” Id. (quoting
Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d
797, 800 (9th Cir. 2004)). The Court may not assume the truth
of allegations that are contradicted by an affidavit, but
factual disputes are resolved in Plaintiff's favor.
long-arm statute, Ariz. R. Civ. P. 4.2(a), applies to this
diversity action. See Terracom v. Valley Nat'l
Bank, 49 F.3d 555, 559 (9th Cir. 1995). Rule 4.2(a)
“provides for personal jurisdiction co-extensive with
the limits of federal due process.” Doe v. Am.
Nat'l Red Cross, 112 F.3d 1048, 1050 (9th Cir. 1997)
corporation “may be subject to personal jurisdiction
only when its contacts with the forum state support either
specific or general jurisdiction.” Martinez v. Aero
Caribbean, 764 F.3d 1062, 1068 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing
Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 310
(1945)). General jurisdiction enables a court to entertain
any claim against a defendant over which it has subject
matter jurisdiction, even claims arising from the
defendant's actions in other states. Daimler AG v.
Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746, 754 (2014). General jurisdiction
exists if the defendant's activities in the state are
“so continuous and systematic as to render [it]
essentially at home in the forum State.” Id.
Plaintiffs do not argue that Piper has such contacts with
Plaintiffs allege that Piper is subject to specific personal
jurisdiction. Doc. 20. A court may exercise specific
jurisdiction over a foreign defendant if his or her contacts
with the forum give rise to the cause of action before the
court. Doe v. Unocal Corp., 248 F.3d 915, 923 (9th
Cir. 2001). The Ninth Circuit employs a three-prong test to
determine whether a party has sufficient minimum contacts for
(1) The non-resident 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; (2) the claim must be one which
arises out of or relates to the defendant's forum-related
activities; and (3) the ...