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Haines v. Get Air Tucson Inc.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

March 31, 2017

Blake Haines, Plaintiff,
Get Air Tucson Incorporated, et al., Defendants.


          Honorable Rosemary Márquez United States District Judge.

         On February 13, 2017, Magistrate Judge Eric J. Markovich issued a Report and Recommendation (Doc. 158) recommending that this Court deny Defendant Get Air, LLC's second Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 97). Defendant Get Air, LLC objected to the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 164), and Plaintiff responded in opposition (Doc. 170) to Defendant's Objections.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Blake Haines alleges that he suffered catastrophic injuries when he performed a multiple-flip maneuver from a trampoline platform into a foam pit at the Get Air Tucson indoor trampoline park. (Doc. 84 at 10, ¶ 69.) He alleges that Get Air, LLC created deficient and defective safety rules applicable to trampoline park customers and supplied those safety rules to Get Air Tucson for use in the Tucson trampoline park. (Id. at 6, ¶¶ 37-38.)

         Defendant Get Air, LLC filed its first Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction on July 30, 2015. (Doc. 43.) This Court denied that motion as moot after granting Plaintiff leave to amend his complaint. (Doc. 83.) Plaintiff filed his Third Amended Complaint (Doc. 84) on February 8, 2016.

         On March 1, 2016, Get Air, LLC filed the currently pending Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. (Doc. 97.) After allowing the parties time to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery (see Doc. 117), Judge Markovich found that Plaintiff had met his burden of establishing a prima facie showing of specific personal jurisdiction, and accordingly recommended that Get Air, LLC's Motion to Dismiss be denied. (Doc. 158.)

         II. Standard of Review

         A district judge must “make a de novo determination of those portions” of a magistrate judge's “report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). “If no objection or only partial objection is made, the district court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear error.” Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999); see also Prior v. Ryan, CV 10-225-TUC-RCC, 2012 WL 1344286, at *1 (D. Ariz. Apr. 18, 2012) (reviewing for clear error unobjected-to portions of Report and Recommendation); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b) advisory committee's note to 1983 addition (“[w]hen no timely objection is filed, the court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation” of a magistrate judge).

         III. Discussion

         Plaintiff alleges that this Court has specific (as opposed to general) personal jurisdiction over Get Air, LLC. (See Doc. 102 at 3.) Judge Markovich accordingly applied the three-prong test for specific personal jurisdiction:

(1) The non-resident defendant must purposefully direct [its] activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or resident thereof; or perform some act by which [it] purposefully avails [itself] 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 exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice, i.e. it must be reasonable.

(Doc. 158 at 5-6 (citing Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004)).)[1] Get Air, LLC objects only to the factual findings that Judge Markovich made in applying the test.

         Judge Markovich held that Plaintiff had identified evidence sufficient to support a finding that Get Air, LLC purposefully directed its activities at Arizona by creating a generic employee handbook with the specific intent that it be used at all then-existing and future Get Air trampoline parks, including Get Air Tucson; that Plaintiff's claims arose out of and relate to Get Air, LLC's contacts with Arizona because they are based on the allegedly defective safety rules contained in the employee handbook; and that this Court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over Get Air, LLC would be reasonable. In its Objections, Get Air, LLC argues that the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation erroneously describes the deposition testimony of Amy Iverson, Jacob Goodell, Val Iverson, and Jessica Bybee[2] and draws unsupported inferences. According to Get Air, LLC, Amy Iverson drafted a generic employee handbook to be used at other Get Air trampoline parks, but she drafted it for Trampoline Parks, LLC rather than Get Air, LLC.

         The evidence indicates that Get Air, LLC operated a trampoline park in Roy, Utah but that the Get Air Roy park is now closed, and Get Air, LLC is currently a holding company. (V. Iverson Dep. at 7:10-19, 19:4-15, 23:14-24:8; J. Goodell Dep. at 15:5-15.) Trampoline Parks, LLC is a company that designs and constructs trampoline parks nationwide and internationally. (V. Iverson Dep. at 7:21-25, 18:7-19:3; J. Goodell Dep. at 45:22-24.) Both companies were originally founded by Val Iverson. (V. Iverson Dep. at 7:10-15, 21-25.) In approximately 2013, a company called Get Air Management, LLC was formed in order to manage various Get Air trampoline parks, including Get Air Tucson. (V. Iverson Dep. at 9:4-12; J. Goodell Dep. at 67:10-68:3.) However, Val Iverson and his family began expanding the Get Air business by opening and supporting parks in new locations prior to the creation of Get Air Management, LLC. The deposition testimony of Amy Iverson and Jacob Goodell shows significant confusion regarding whether support for new Get Air trampoline parks was performed on behalf of Get Air, LLC or Trampoline Parks, LLC prior to the formation of ...

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