United States District Court, D. Nevada
GLORIA M. NAVARRO, Chief District Judge.
Pending before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 6) filed by Defendant Catherine H. Puttmann ("Puttmann"). Puttmann filed a Memorandum in Support of her Motion (ECF No. 7), Plaintiff Ramin Zabeti ("Plaintiff") filed a Response (ECF No. 25) and Puttmann filed a Reply (ECF No. 32).
Also pending before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 9) filed by Defendant Shanell N. Sanchez ("Sanchez"). Plaintiff filed a Response (ECF No. 26) and Sanchez filed a Reply (ECF No. 31).
Finally, pending before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 11) filed by Defendant Angela R. Arkin ("Judge Arkin") and in and for Douglas County, Colorado ("Colorado Court Defendant"). Plaintiff filed a Response (ECF No. 27) and Judge Arkin and the Colorado Court Defendant filed a Reply (ECF No. 30).
This case arises from litigation between Plaintiff and Sanchez that took place in Colorado state court relating to the "custody, control and care" of their minor child (the "Colorado Litigation"). (Compl. 3:¶ 1, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges that during the Colorado Litigation, Judge Arkin made several rulings against Plaintiff that resulted in Plaintiff losing custody of the child. Plaintiff further contends that these rulings were the result of a conspiracy between Sanchez, the child's mother; Puttmann, Sanchez's attorney; and Judge Arkin. Finally, Plaintiff asserts that, through this conspiracy and Judge Arkin's rulings, Defendants deprived Plaintiff of his constitutional rights.
As a result of these actions, Plaintiff commenced this suit in which he alleges four causes of action: (1) Count I - Violation of "Fourth Amendment False Representations or Omissions in Support of Warrant" against Judge Arkin, Sanchez, and Puttmann; (2) Count II - Violation of "Fourth and Sixth Amendments Malicious Prosecution in the complete absence of probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and criminal charge(s)" against Judge Arkin; (3) Count III - Violation of "Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments Deprivation of Notice and Opportunity to be Heard" against Judge Arkin, Puttmann, Sanchez, and the Colorado Court Defendant; and (4) Count IV - Violation of "Fourteenth Amendment on August 02, 2010 and August 04, 2010; Discrimination against race, ethnicity and national origin as a basis for deprivation of the custody, control and care of minor child." (Compl. 4-6-A.) In response, Defendants filed the instant Motions to Dismiss. (ECF Nos. 6, 9, 11.) For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.
II. THE COURT LACKS PERSONAL JURISDICTION OVER PUTTMANN & JUDGE ARKIN
A. Legal Standard
Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a defendant may move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). Once a defendant raises the defense, the burden then falls on the plaintiff to prove sufficient facts to establish that jurisdiction is proper. Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008). A plaintiff can carry this burden only by presenting sufficient evidence to establish that (1) personal jurisdiction is proper under the laws of the state in which jurisdiction is asserted; and (2) the exercise of jurisdiction does not violate the defendant's right to due process secured by the United States Constitution. Ziegler v. Indian River Country, 64 F.3d 470, 473 (9th Cir. 1995). Because Nevada's long-arm statute is co-extensive with the limits of due process, this analysis collapses into a single inquiry. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 14.065(1) ("A court of this state may exercise jurisdiction over a party to a civil action on any basis not inconsistent with the Constitution of this state or the Constitution of the United States").
Courts may exercise personal jurisdiction, consistent with the Constitution, only over those defendants that have "certain minimum contacts with [the state] such that the maintenance of a suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" Core-Vent Corp. v. Nobel Indus. AB, 11 F.3d 1482, 1485 (9th Cir. 1993) (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). A defendant can be subject to either general personal jurisdiction or specific personal jurisdiction in a given state. See Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 413-415 (1984). In this case, Plaintiff acknowledges that this Court lacks general personal jurisdiction over Puttmann and Judge Arkin. Therefore, the Court determines only whether Puttmann and Judge Arkin are subject to specific personal jurisdiction in Nevada..
A court can exercise specific personal jurisdiction over a defendant when "the case arises out of certain forum-related contacts." Bancroft & Masters, Inc. v. Augusta Nat'l Inc., 223 F.3d 1082, 1086 (9th Cir. 2000). "[S]pecific' jurisdiction exists if (1) the defendant has performed some act or consummated some transaction within the forum or otherwise purposefully availed himself of the privileges of conducting activities in the forum, (2) the claim arises out of or results from the defendant's forum-related activities, and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction is reasonable." Id. (citing Cybersell, Inc. v. Cybersell, Inc., 130 F.3d 414, 416 (9th Cir. 1997)). "The plaintiff bears the burden of satisfying the first two prongs of the test." Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004). Once the plaintiff satisfies these two prongs, "the burden then shifts to the defendant to present a compelling case' that the exercise of jurisdiction would not be reasonable." Id. (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 476-78 (1985)). At bottom, the specific jurisdiction inquiry "focuses on the relationship among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation." Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1123 (2014) (quoting Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U.S. 770, 775 (1984)).
The Supreme Court recently addressed the personal jurisdiction inquiry in Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115 (2014). Because the issues presented by the instant case are virtually indistinguishable from Walden, the Court concludes that it lacks jurisdiction over Defendant Puttmann and Judge Arkin. Specifically, in Walden, the Supreme Court held that a Georgia police officer lacked sufficient contacts with Nevada when the officer seized a large amount of cash from two Nevada residents who were traveling through the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. 134 S.Ct. at 1125-26. The Nevada residents asserted that personal jurisdiction was proper because the officer knew they were residents of Nevada and, thus, knew that his decision to seize the cash would affect Nevada. Id. at 1125. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court held that a Nevada court could not exercise personal jurisdiction over the officer because he "had no other contacts with Nevada, and because a plaintiff's contacts with the forum State cannot be decisive in determining whether the ...