United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable Roslyn O. Silver Senior, United States District
2017, Plaintiff Arturo Leon purchased a truck from a business
in Tennessee. Defendants Peterbilt Motors Company
(“Peterbilt”) and Cummins, Inc.
(“Cummins”), were involved in the manufacture of
that truck and its component parts. Peterbilt and Cummins
both provided Plaintiff with written warranties regarding the
truck's performance. Not long after buying the truck,
Plaintiff experienced a variety of problems that could not be
repaired to his satisfaction. In 2018, Plaintiff filed the
present suit in Maricopa County Superior Court against
Peterbilt and Cummins. Plaintiff asserted claims for
“breach of factory warranty” and “breach of
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.” (Doc. 1-3 at 15-16).
Peterbilt filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal
jurisdiction as well as a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim on which relief can be granted. Cummins joined
the latter motion but did not join the jurisdictional motion.
Because “jurisdictional questions ordinarily must
precede merits determinations in dispositional order, ”
the Court will address the matter of personal jurisdiction
first. Sinochem Int'l Co. v. Malaysia Int'l
Shipping Corp., 549 U.S. 422, 431 (2007).
“bear[s] the burden of demonstrating that [personal]
jurisdiction is appropriate.” Dole Food Co. v.
Watts, 303 F.3d 1104, 1108 (9th Cir. 2002). When, as
here, the Court does not hold an evidentiary hearing,
Plaintiff need only make “a prima facie showing of
jurisdictional facts” establishing personal
jurisdiction. Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d
1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). That showing requires the Court
accept Plaintiff's version of events where there are
disputes. Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co.,
374 F.3d 797, 800 (9th Cir. 2004). But the Court can rely on
evidence provided by Peterbilt if Plaintiff does not
controvert it. Id.
Peterbilt has offered a variety of facts regarding the
manufacture, distribution, and purchase of the relevant
truck. Plaintiff has not controverted any of those facts.
Accordingly, the following is based on Peterbilt's
representations regarding the relevant facts.
is “an unincorporated division of PACCAR Inc.”
(Doc. 9-1 at 2). Accordingly, the proper defendant is PACCAR,
not Peterbilt. PACCAR and its various divisions are in the
business of designing, manufacturing, and assembling “a
variety of vehicles that serve a wide range of commercial
applications in the United States.” (Doc. 9-1 at 2).
PACCAR is incorporated in Delaware but its “corporate
affairs” are managed from its office in Bellevue,
Washington. PACCAR “performs design and marketing
functions in Denton, Texas.” (Doc. 9-1 at 2). PACCAR
has no offices, plants, or facilities in Arizona. Thus,
PACCAR does not design or manufacture vehicles in Arizona.
March 2016 at its facilities in Texas, PACCAR manufactured
and assembled a “glider kit.” As defined by
PACCAR, “[a] glider kit is an incomplete vehicle
without an engine or transmission and in some instances, a
rear axle.” (Doc. 9 at 2). After it was assembled, that
glider kit was sold to “Peterbilt of Atlanta, an
independent dealer located in Kennesaw, Georgia.” (Doc.
9-1 at 3). The glider kit was subsequently sold to Fitzgerald
Truck and Part Sales, LLC (“Fitzgerald Truck”) in
Byrdstown, Tennessee. Fitzgerald Truck “is a wholly
separate entity unrelated to PACCAR.” Fitzgerald Truck
“performed the final stage of manufacturing” by
adding the necessary components to the glider kit to create a
truck. Fitzgerald Truck then sold the completed truck to
Plaintiff in June 2017.(Doc. 1-3 at 9). At some point during
the assembly process, an engine manufactured by Defendant
Cummins, Inc., was incorporated into the truck.
after he purchased the truck, Plaintiff experienced a wide
variety of problems with it. Plaintiff took the truck to
various service providers for repairs under the written
warranties provided by PACCAR and Cummins. Some of the
problems were minor, such as a rattling door. (Doc. 1-3 at
19). Other problems were much more substantial, such as the
speedometer malfunctioning. (Doc. 1-3 at 14). The service
providers repaired what they could but Plaintiff was not
satisfied. In May 2018, Plaintiff filed the present suit
against PACCAR and Cummins in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Cummins removed the suit to federal court based on diversity
jurisdiction. (Doc. 1 at 3).
after removal, PACCAR filed a motion to dismiss arguing
personal jurisdiction does not exist. Plaintiff responded by
arguing PACCAR “has expressly consented to personal
jurisdiction in Arizona” and PACCAR has sufficient
minimum contacts with Arizona. (Doc. 15 at 3). Put in terms
of the two types of personal jurisdiction courts have
recognized, these arguments are that PACCAR has consented to
“general personal jurisdiction” in Arizona and
that PACCAR has sufficient contacts with Arizona such that
“specific personal jurisdiction” exists.
Freestream Aircraft (Bermuda) Ltd. v. Aero Law Grp.,
905 F.3d 597, 602 (9th Cir. 2018). Plaintiff has not,
however, pointed to sufficient facts establishing either type
general personal jurisdiction requires a defendant's
“contacts with the forum state [be] so
‘continuous and systematic' as to render the
defendant essentially ‘at home' in that
forum.” Id. at 602 n.2 (quoting Daimler AG
v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 127 (2014)). For a corporation,
those contacts usually exist only in the state where the
corporation is incorporated and where it has its principal
place of business. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S.
117, 137 (2014). General personal jurisdiction for a
corporation, however, can also exist if it has affirmatively
consented to being sued in a particular forum. See,
e.g., King v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 632
F.3d 570, 573 (9th Cir. 2011) (discussing general personal
jurisdiction through consent). Plaintiff argues PACCAR has
consented to general personal jurisdiction in Arizona by
appointing and registering an agent for service of process in
has not cited the specific statutes under which PACCAR
appointed and registered an agent for service of process but
it appears PACCAR did so pursuant to Arizona's statutes
regarding foreign corporations who wish to “transact
business” in the state. A.R.S. § 10-1501(A). Under
those statutes, a foreign corporation wishing to
“transact business” in Arizona must be granted
authority to do so by the Arizona Corporation Commission. A
corporation obtains such permission by submitting an
application containing information such as its date of
incorporation and the address of its principal office. A.R.S.
§ 10-1503(A). The Corporation Commission then reviews
the application and, if complete, the corporation “is
granted authority to transact business in [Arizona].”
A.R.S. § 10-1503(C). Under these statutes, each
corporation “authorized to transact business” in
Arizona must maintain a statutory agent. A.R.S. §
10-1507. And pursuant to A.R.S. § 10-1510, a foreign
corporation authorized to transact business in Arizona may be
served by serving the corporation's statutory agent.
The statue regarding service on a statutory agent provides,
in relevant part:
The statutory agent appointed by a foreign corporation is an
agent of the foreign corporation on whom process, notice or
demand that is required or permitted by law to be served on
the foreign corporation may be served and that, when so
served, is lawful personal service on the foreign
Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 10-1510. Plaintiff seems to
believe this language should be interpreted as PACCAR having
consented to ...