United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable Steven P. Logan United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant LG Chem, Ltd.'s Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 33). Having considered the briefing (Docs. 33, 40, 41),
Court rules as follows.
October 28, 2019, Plaintiff purchased two LG HG2 18650
(“HG2”) batteries from retailer Oueis Gas in
Mesa, Arizona (Doc. 30 at ¶¶ 8-9). The HG2
batteries were designed, manufactured, tested, marketed, and
sold by LG Chem, a company based in Seoul, South Korea (Doc.
30 at ¶ 2, 8).
November 18, 2016, while sitting at a table in a restaurant,
the subject batteries exploded and set Plaintiff on fire
(Doc. 30 at ¶ 10). Plaintiff spent two weeks in a burn
unit, underwent physical therapy, missed two months of work,
incurred over $170, 000 in medical bills, and ultimately
suffered third-degree burns over 8% of his body (Doc. 30 at
initiated this product liability action, alleging four causes
of action: (1) negligent design, (2) negligent failure to
warn, (3) strict liability/design defect, and (4) strict
liability/information defect (Docs. 1, 30). Defendant LG Chem
now moves to dismiss the claims against it for lack of
personal jurisdiction (Doc. 33).
“[p]laintiff bears the burden of establishing personal
jurisdiction.” Repwest Ins. Co. v. Praetorian Ins.
Co., 890 F.Supp.2d 1168, 1184 (D. Ariz. 2012). When a
defendant moves to dismiss a complaint for lack of personal
jurisdiction, “the plaintiff is ‘obligated to
come forward with facts, by affidavit or otherwise,
supporting personal jurisdiction'” over the
defendant. Cummings v. W. Trial Lawyers Ass'n,
133 F.Supp.2d 1144, 1151 (D. Ariz. 2001) (citation omitted).
“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 a motion to dismiss.”
Mavrix Photo, Inc. v. Brand Techs., Inc., 647 F.3d
1218, 1223 (9th Cir. 2011). The Court may not, however,
“assume the truth of allegations in a pleading that are
controverted by affidavit.” Id. (citation
no applicable federal statute governing personal jurisdiction
exists, Arizona's long-arm statute applies. See
Terracom v. Valley Nat'l Bank, 49 F.3d 555, 559 (9th
Cir. 1995). Arizona's long-arm statute provides for
personal jurisdiction “to the maximum extent permitted
by the Arizona Constitution and the United States
Constitution.” Ariz. R. Civ. P. 4.2(a). Ultimately,
“the jurisdictional analyses under state law and
federal due process are the same.” Schwarzenegger
v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 801 (9th Cir.
2004). Absent traditional bases for personal jurisdiction,
the Due Process Clause requires that a nonresident have
certain minimum contacts with the forum state such that the
exercise of personal jurisdiction “does not offend
traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” Id. (quoting Int'l Shoe Co.
v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). “In
determining whether a defendant had minimum contacts[, ] . .
. courts focus on ‘the relationship among the
defendant, the forum, and the litigation.'”
Brink v. First Credit Res., 57 F.Supp.2d 848, 860
(D. Ariz. 1999). “Depending on the nature and extent of
the defendant's contacts with the forum state, the court
may exercise either general or specific jurisdiction over the
Plaintiff does not allege that LG Chem is subject to general
jurisdiction (Doc. 40 at 2, § III(A)). Instead,
Plaintiff alleges that LG Chem is subject to specific
jurisdiction (Doc. 40 at 2, § III(A)-(C)). In
determining whether a defendant has contacts with the forum
state sufficient to establish specific jurisdiction, courts
apply a three-prong test:
(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 exercise of jurisdiction must comport
with fair play and substantial justice, i.e. it must be
Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 802. Plaintiff bears the
burden of satisfying the first two prongs. Id. If
Plaintiff succeeds, the burden shifts to Defendant to
“present a compelling case” that the exercise of
specific jurisdiction would be unreasonable. Id.
Purposeful Availment & Purposeful Direction
first prong of the test “may be satisfied by purposeful
availment of the privilege of doing business in the forum; by
purposeful direction of activities at the forum; or some
combination thereof.” Yaoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre
Le Racisme Et L'Antisemitisme, 433 F.3d 1199, 1206
(9th Cir. 2006). “Purposeful availment requires that
the defendant engage in some form of affirmative conduct
allowing or promoting the transaction of business within the
forum state. This focus upon the affirmative conduct of the
defendant is designed to ensure that the defendant is not
haled into court as the result of random, fortuitous or
attenuated contacts.” Gray & Co. v. Firstenberg
Mach. Co., Inc., 913 F.2d 758, 760 (9th Cir. 1990)
(citation omitted). Ultimately, a defendant is found to have
purposefully availed himself of the forum's benefits if
he has intentionally “engaged in significant activities
within a State or has created ‘continuing
obligations' between himself and the residents of the
forum.” Id. (quoting Burger King Corp. v.
Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 476 (1985)). In contrast,
purposeful direction is evaluated using the “effects
test” articulated in Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S.
783 (1984), which assesses whether the defendant has
“(1) committed an intentional act, (2) expressly aimed
at the forum state, (3) causing harm that the defendant knows
is likely to be suffered in the forum state.” Dole
Food Co., Inc. v. Watts, 303 F.3d 1104, 1111 (9th Cir.
2002). “A purposeful availment analysis is most often
used in suits sounding in contract. A purposeful direction
analysis, on the other hand, is most often used in suits
sounding in tort.” Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin
Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004) (internal
citation omitted). Because the Calder effects test
only applies to intentional torts, however, the
Court will analyze the first prong using the purposeful
availment test. See J. McIntyre Mach., ...