United States District Court, D. Arizona
Murray Snow Chief United States District Judge.
before the Court are Defendant Augusta International
Incorporated's Motion to Dismiss or Stay Plaintiff's
Complaint to Avoid Duplicative Proceedings, and Motion to
Transfer Venue. (Doc. 13).
Augusta International Incorporated (“ANI”) is a
private golf club that operates the Masters Tournament in the
state of Georgia. Plaintiff Green Jacket Auctions
Incorporated (“Green Jacket”) is a business that
auctions golf memorabilia online. In 2006, Ryan Carey
registered the domain name greenjacketauctions.com with
GoDaddy, LLC (“Registrar”). On November 14, 2017,
ANI submitted a domain dispute complaint to the Internet
Cooperation for Assigned Names and Number
(“ICANN”) alleging trademark violations against
Green Jacket. (Doc. 13-3 at 2) (“ICANN
Complaint”). Green Jacket responded that ANI should be
found liable for reverse domain hijacking. (Doc. 4-1 at 2). A
single member arbitration panel agreed with ANI, and ordered
the Registrar to transfer the Domain Name from Green Jacket
to ANI. (Doc. 14 Ex. G). Green Jacket then filed this lawsuit
to appeal that determination. (Doc. 1).
complaints submitted to the ICANN are governed by the Uniform
Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”).
UDRP paragraph 3(b)(xii) provides that any complaint to the
ICANN must “state that the Complainant will submit,
with respect to any challenges to a decision in the
administrative proceeding, to the jurisdiction of the courts
in at least one specified Mutual Jurisdiction.” (Doc.
13-3 at 32). A mutual jurisdiction under the UDRP Rules is
either a district where the principal office of the Registrar
is located, or the domain-name holder's address. (Doc.
13-3 at 26). Here, the two mutual jurisdictions that meet the
requirements of the UDRP Rules are the Middle District of
Florida, where the domain-name holder's address is
located, and the District of Arizona, where the
Registrar's principal office is located.
ANI requests that any challenges to a decision in the
administrative proceeding canceling or transferring the
Domain Name be heard before the Southern District of Georgia,
Augusta Division, as that Court possesses the foundational
knowledge concerning the infringing activities of
Registrant/Respondent. If the Forum denies Complainant's
request, Complainant will submit to the jurisdiction of
Scottsdale, Arizona-the location of the principal office of
the concerned registrar.
the arbitration panel issued its decision, ANI, Green Jacket,
and the Registrar disagreed about the location of the mutual
jurisdiction, so Green Jacket filed three lawsuits to appeal
the decision by the arbitration panel. First, Green Jacket
filed suit in the Middle District of Florida. (Doc. 14 Ex.
E). ANI then argued to both the Registrar and Green Jacket
that the proper forum was in the Southern District of
Georgia, or alternatively in the District of Arizona, but not
the Middle District of Florida. (Doc. 14 Ex. H). After ANI
objected to Green Jacket's choice of forum, Green Jacket
then filed this lawsuit in the District of Arizona to avoid
transfer of the domain name to ANI. (Doc. 1). Because of
further confusion with the Registrar, Green Jacket later
filed a complaint with the Southern District of Georgia to
avoid immediate transfer of the domain name. (Doc. 14 Ex. M).
The Georgia and Arizona complaints are nearly identical.
April 2018 the Southern District of Georgia published an
order and transferred that case to this Court. (Doc. 20-1 at
11). That order found that the Southern District had personal
jurisdiction over Green Jacket for all claims in the
complaint, but the “first-filed” rule required
the Southern District of Georgia to transfer the case to the
District of Arizona. The Southern District's analysis was
limited to whether the action was filed in Arizona first, and
whether the complaints were substantially similar.
Court must determine whether it has personal jurisdiction
over the parties for each of the claims, and whether this
case should be transferred to the Southern District of
party seeking to invoke the court's jurisdiction bears
the burden of establishing that jurisdiction exists.”
Scott v. Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927 (9th Cir. 1986)
(citations omitted). “When a defendant moves to dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff is obligated
to come forward with facts, by affidavit or otherwise,
supporting personal jurisdiction.” Id.
(quotation marks and citations omitted). “The mere
allegations of a complaint, when contradicted by affidavits,
are not enough to confer personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant.” Chem Lab Products, Inc. v.
Stepanek, 554 F.2d 371, 372 (9th Cir. 1977) (citations
establish personal jurisdiction over a defendant, the
plaintiff has the burden of showing that the exercise of
jurisdiction comports with the state long-arm statute.
Omeluk v. Langsten Slip & Batbyggeri A/S, 52
F.3d 267, 269 (9th Cir. 1995). Arizona's long-arm statute
confers jurisdiction to the maximum extent allowed by the Due
Process Clause of the United States Constitution. Ariz. R.
Civ. P. 4.2(a); Doe v. American Nat'l Red Cross,
112 F.3d 1048, 1050 (9th Cir. 1997).
the “personal jurisdiction requirement recognizes and
protects an individual liberty interest it can, like other
such rights, be waived.” Dow Chemical v.
Calderon, 422 F.3d 827, 830 (9th Cir. 2005) (internal
citation and quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, “a
litigant may give express or implied consent to the personal
jurisdiction of the court . . . ...