United States District Court, D. Nevada
M. Navarro, Chief Judge.
before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss, (ECF No. 8), filed
by Defendant Dean Koontz (“Defendant”) to which
Plaintiff Raymond Davis (“Plaintiff”) filed a
Response, (ECF No. 11). Defendant did not file a reply, and the
deadline to do so has passed. For the reasons discussed
below, the Court GRANTS Defendant's
Motion. I.BACKGROUND This case
arises from an alleged breach of contract. Plaintiff is a
Nevada resident, and Defendant, a California resident, is a
prominent author. (Compl. ¶¶ 1-2, ECF No. 1-1).
Both Plaintiff and Defendant knew John Paul Bodner
(“Bodner”), who is now deceased. (Id.
¶¶ 6- 10). Bodner owned a “large collection
of literary works written by Defendant” with many of
the works “personally signed by Defendant.”
(Id. ¶¶ 7-8).
2012, before passing away, Bodner gave Plaintiff his
collection of works written and signed by Defendant.
(Id. ¶¶ 9-10). After accepting the
collection, Plaintiff received a letter from Defendant (the
“Letter”) stating, “I'll try to make
sure that you're able to get as much as possible out of
these books, but as I said, it will probably be on a
consignment basis and take awhile [sic].” (Ex. 1 to
Resp. at 2, ECF No. 11-1). Thereafter, Defendant instructed
Plaintiff to ship the books to his California address so that
Defendant could sell the books for him. (Id.).
2013, Plaintiff sent the collection to Defendant in
California, and Defendant began attempting to sell the books.
(Compl. ¶ 13). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
successfully sold some of the books and issued Plaintiff a
share of the proceeds. (Id. ¶ 14). Despite this
initial success, Plaintiff ultimately asked Defendant to
return the books to Plaintiff, but Defendant refused.
(Id. ¶ 15-16).
2016, Plaintiff filed suit in state court against Defendant
alleging breach of contract, fraud, conversion, and unjust
enrichment. (See generally id.). Defendant removed
the action to this Court, (see Pet. for Removal, ECF
No. 1), and now seeks dismissal pursuant to a lack of
personal jurisdiction, (see Mot. to Dismiss
(“MTD”), ECF No. 8).
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 where it
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
County, 64 F.3d 470, 473 (9th Cir. 1995); Chan v.
Soc'y Expeditions, Inc., 39 F.3d 1398, 1404-05 (9th
Cir. 1994). To survive a motion to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction, a plaintiff need only make “a
prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts.”
Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th
Cir. 2006) (quoting Doe v. Unocal, 248 F.3d 915, 922
(9th Cir. 2001)). Furthermore, when analyzing such a motion
to dismiss, “the court resolves all disputed facts in
favor of the plaintiff.” Id.
federal statute governs personal jurisdiction, the district
court applies the law of the forum state. See Panavision
Int'l L.P. v. Toeppen, 141 F.3d 1316, 1320 (9th Cir.
1998). Nevada has authorized its courts to exercise
jurisdiction over persons “on any basis not
inconsistent with . . . the Constitution of the United
States.” Nev. Rev. Stat. § 14.065. Thus, the due
process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is the relevant
constraint on Nevada's authority to bind a nonresident
defendant to a judgment of its courts. World-Wide
Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 291 (1980).
In order to exercise jurisdiction, the nonresident must have
“certain minimum contacts . . . such that the
maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice.'”
International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310,
316 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457,
instant Motion, Defendant argues that the Court lacks
personal jurisdiction over him because Defendant does not
have sufficient relevant contacts in Nevada. (MTD 3:11-13).
Plaintiff, on the other hand, asserts that the Court has
personal jurisdiction over Defendant pursuant to both general
jurisdiction and specific jurisdiction based off of
Defendant's profession and Defendant's Letter.
(See Resp. 5:2-24, 6:19-23, ECF No. 11); (see
also Ex. 1 to Resp.).
personal jurisdiction analysis is governed by the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which limits the power of
a state's courts over defendants who do not consent to
jurisdiction. Martinez v. Aero Caribbean, 764 F.3d
1062, 1066 (9th Cir. 2014). Personal jurisdiction has been
limited under the Constitution to defendants that have
“certain minimum contacts with [a 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)). Moreover, the
contacts must arise out of relationships that the
“defendant himself created with the forum state.
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475
(1985). The “minimum contacts” inquiry is
defendant-focused and is not satisfied by demonstrating
contacts between the plaintiff and the forum state. See
Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466
U.S. 408, 417 (1984) (“[The] unilateral activity of
another party or a third person is not an appropriate
consideration when determining whether a defendant has
sufficient contacts with a forum [s]tate to justify an
assertion of jurisdiction.”).
the defendant must have “minimum contacts” with
the forum state itself, rather than mere contacts with
persons who reside there. See Burger King, 471 U.S.
at 478 (“If the question is whether an individual's
contract with an out-of-state party alone can automatically
establish sufficient minimum contacts in the other
party's home forum, we believe the answer clearly is that
it cannot.”); Kulko v. Superior Court of Cal, City
and Cnty. of San Francisco, 436 U.S. 84, 93 (1978)
(declining to “find personal jurisdiction in a state .
. . merely because [the plaintiff in a child support action]
was residing there”). The defendant's contacts with
the forum state may be intertwined with his transactions or
interactions with the plaintiff or other parties, but a
defendant's relationship with a plaintiff or third party,
standing alone, is an insufficient basis for jurisdiction.
See Rush v. Savchuk, 444 U.S. 320, 332 (1980).
determines sufficient minimum contacts either through
specific jurisdiction, where the specific interaction with
the forum relating to the cause of action gives rise to the
contacts, or through general jurisdiction, where the contacts
with the forum are systematic and continuous, warranting the
exercise of personal jurisdiction. See, e.g.,
Int'l Shoe Co., 326 U.S. at 316. If
such contacts are established, a court must still determine
that exercising personal jurisdiction would not offend the
“traditional notions of fair play and justice.”
Id. The Court first addresses general jurisdiction
and then addresses specific jurisdiction.