Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rodriguez v. West Coast Aircraft Maintenance

United States District Court, D. Arizona

October 15, 2019

Jose Rodriguez and Georgina Rodriguez, husband and wife, as parents of Daniel Rodriguez, Deceased, Plaintiffs,
v.
West Coast Aircraft Maintenance, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Honorable James A. Soto United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court are Defendant Textron Aviation Inc.'s[1] Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Doc. 18), Defendant Pratt & Whitney Engine Services, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Doc. 20), Defendant Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp.'s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Doc. 30), Defendant Hartzell Propeller Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Doc. 37), and Defendant Woodward Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Doc. 38).[2] These motions are fully briefed.

         PROCEDURAL POSTURE/FACTS[3]

         On January 23, 2017, an aircraft crashed after some electrical problem. There were two individuals in the plane, Jeff Green and Daniel Rodriguez, both of whom perished as a result of the crash. The day before the crash, the “West Coast” Defendants sold the aircraft to KAAZ, LLC. Daniel Rodriguez's parents brought this suit in the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County. Plaintiffs allege that the parts were defective and that there were safe and practical alternatives, that work done on the aircraft was done negligently, and that representations that the aircraft was airworthy were false. Plaintiffs requests “all damages recoverable under applicable law for the wrongful death of Daniel Rodriguez.” (Doc. 1-2 p. 34 ¶ 209.) This includes attorney fees. Textron asserts that the amount in controversy is over $75, 000.

         On March 30, 2019, Textron removed this action to this Court. (Doc. 1.) The other Defendants[4] either consented or joined the removal. (Docs. 14, 16, 17, 25.)

         Plaintiffs' complaint states the following regarding the personal jurisdiction: “The Pratt & Whitney Defendants are subject to the jurisdiction of this Court because of their systematic and continuous contacts in the State of Arizona and because they have transacted business in the State of Arizona, committed a tort in the State of Arizona, entered into contracts with residents of the State of Arizona to do work on the aircraft and caused injury in the State of Arizona arising out of an act or omission. At all material times, Pratt & Whitney Defendants either were engaged in solicitation or service activities in the State of Arizona or products, materials or things processed, serviced or manufactured by the Pratt & Whitney Defendants were used or consumed in the State of Arizona in the ordinary course of trader use.” (Doc. 1-2 p. 10 ¶ 15.)[5]; “The Defendants Hartzell is subject to the jurisdiction of this Court because of their systematic and continuous contacts in the State of Arizona and because it transacted business in the State of Arizona, committed a tort in the State of Arizona, entered into a contract with residents of the State of Arizona to work on aircraft and cause injury in the State of Arizona.” (Doc. 1-2 p. 11 ¶ 16); “The Defendants Woodward is subject to the jurisdiction of this Court because of their systematic and continuous contacts in the State of Arizona and because it transacted business in the State of Arizona, committed a tort in the State of Arizona, entered into a contract with residents of the State of Arizona to work on aircraft and cause injury in the State of Arizona.” (Doc. 1-2 p. 11 ¶ 18); “The Defendants [Textron[6] is subject to the jurisdiction of this Court because of their systematic and continuous contacts in the State of Arizona and because it transacted business in the State of Arizona, committed a tort in the State of Arizona, entered into a contract with residents of the State of Arizona to work on aircraft and cause injury in the State of Arizona.” (Doc. 1-2 p. 11 ¶ 17); “In addition, all of the Defendants supply literature to aircraft owners located within the State of Arizona and to mechanics, fixed based operations and others to perform aircraft maintenance in the State of Arizona for the purposes of providing information and knowledge as to parts that can be purchased for the repair or replacement of aircraft and their components.” (Doc. 1-2 p. 10 ¶ 14).

         STANDARD

         The burden is on plaintiffs to demonstrate that a particular district court has personal jurisdiction over defendant. Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008); Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 800 (9th Cir. 2004). If the court does not conduct an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiffs must make a prima facie showing. Mavrix Photo, Inc. v. Brand Tech. Inc., 647 F.3d 1218, 1223 (9th Cir. 2011); Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1015. Uncontroverted allegations in plaintiffs' complaint are taken as true and conflicts over statements in affidavits are resolved in the plaintiffs' favor. Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1015; Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 800.

         Personal jurisdiction in this matter is governed by the general jurisdictional statute, which applies the state's law regarding personal jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(a)(A); see Axiom Foods, Inc. v. Acerchem Int'l, Inc., 874 F.3d 1064, 1067 (9th Cir. 2017) (evaluating personal jurisdiction in a copyright infringement action). Arizona authorizes the exercise of personal jurisdiction to the full extent permitted by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. See Ariz. R. Civ. P. 4.2(a); Wake Up and Ball LLC. v. Sony Music Entm't Inc., 119 F.Supp.3d 944, 947 (D. Ariz. 2015).

         Under the Federal Due Process Clause, personal jurisdiction may be found under two categories: general or specific. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 122 (2014); Picot v. Weston, 780 F.3d 1206, 1211 (9th Cir. 2015).

         General jurisdiction provides jurisdiction over defendant in matters unrelated to its litigation-related contacts. Daimler AG, 571 U.S. at 121-22. General jurisdiction requires that defendants have contacts that are so “continuous and systematic” as to render them “at home” in the forum state. Id. at 138; Mavrix Photo, Inc., 647 F.3d at 1223. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit suggests that courts look to the contact's “[l]ongevity, continuity, volume, economic impact, physical presence, and integration into the [forum] state's regulatory or economic markets, ” when considering this exacting standard. Mavrix Photo, Inc., 647 F.3d at 1224 (first alteration in original) (quoting Tuazon v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 433 F.3d 1163, 1172 (9th Cir. 2006)). Corporations are generally “at home” where they are incorporated or have their principal place of business. See Daimler AG, 571 U.S. at 139.

         Specific jurisdiction provides jurisdiction over defendants in forums with case-linked contacts. Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 283-84 (2014); Axiom Foods, Inc., 874 F.3d at 1068. Specific jurisdiction requires that courts ensure that the defendant has “minimum contacts” with a forum to ensure that litigating in the jurisdiction “does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'” Axiom Foods, Inc., 874 F.3d at 1068 (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)); see Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1015-16. The crux of the inquiry is the defendant's contact with the forum and not the defendant's contacts with the plaintiffs or plaintiffs' contacts with the forum. Walden, 571 U.S. at 284; Axiom Foods, Inc., 874 F.3d at 1068. “[A] plaintiff[s'] contacts with the forum State cannot be ‘decisive in determining whether the defendant's due process rights are violated[.]'” Walden, 571 U.S. at 279 (quoting Rush v. Savchuk, 444 U.S. 320, 332 (1980)).

         The Ninth Circuit has created and implemented a three-prong test to determine if a court has specific jurisdiction over a defendant. Axiom Foods, Inc., 874 F.3d at 1068 (applying the Schwarzenegger test); Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1016. “(1) the defendant must either ‘purposefully direct his activities' toward the forum or ‘purposefully avail[ ] himself of the privileges of conducting activities in the forum'; (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.'” Axiom Foods, Inc., 874 F.3d at 1068 (alteration in original) (quoting Dole Food Co., Inc. v. Watts, 303 F.3d 1104, 1111 (9th Cir. 2002)); see Picot, 780 F.3d at 1211. The first two prongs are the plaintiffs' burden to show, while the third prong requires the defendant to “present a compelling case.” Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 802 (citation omitted). Pendant personal jurisdiction may be extended from claims with jurisdiction if the claims share a “common nucleus of operative facts.” Picot, 780 F.3d at 1211 (quoting Action Embroidery Corp. v. Atl. Embroidery, Inc., 368 F.3d 1174, 1181 (9th Cir. 2004)). If plaintiffs' arguments fail under the first prong, then the court is not obligated to consider the remaining prongs. Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1155 (9th Cir. 2006).

         The first prong can be satisfied in two separate ways, depending on the type of case. Axiom Foods, Inc., 874 F.3d at 1069 (applying the purposeful direction test for a case alleging an intentional tort); Picot, 780 F.3d at 1212 (applying purposeful availment in an action sounding in contract). When both contract and tort claims are presented, if either test is ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.