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Eternal Charity Foundation v. BBC Broadcasting Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 12, 2017

ETERNAL CHARITY FOUNDATION, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BBC BROADCASTING, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is a motion to dismiss filed by defendants BBC Broadcasting, Inc. (“BBC”), KPRI-AM 1550 kHz-Sher-E-Punjab Radio Broadcasting, Inc. (“KPRI”), and Bhag Singh Khela (“Khela”). (ECF No. 17). Plaintiffs Eternal Charity Foundation (“Eternal”) and Kalgidhar Trust (“KT”) filed a response (ECF No. 38), to which defendants replied (ECF No. 54).

         Also before the court is pro se defendant Jagreet Singh Gill's motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 23). Plaintiffs filed a response (ECF No. 33), to which Gill replied (ECF No. 55).

         Also before the court is plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend/correct complaint. (ECF No. 58). BBC filed a response (ECF No. 60), to which plaintiffs replied (ECF No. 62).

         I. Facts

         The instant action involves allegedly false statements made by defendants over broadcast radio, on Facebook, and on YouTube.

         On October 6, 2016, plaintiffs filed the underlying complaint against defendants BBC, KPRI, Khela, Gill, Kuldip Singh (“Singh”), and Amarjit Singh Duggal (“Duggal”), alleging six causes of action: (1) defamation; (2) slander per se; (3) libel per se; (4) false light; (5) preliminary and permanent injunction; (6) intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. (ECF No. 1).

         On November 23, 2016, Gill filed an answer. (ECF No. 12). On December 27, 2016, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed defendants KPRI and Khela. (ECF No. 31). Defendants Singh and Duggal have yet to be served.

         In the instant motions, BBC moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue (ECF No. 17), Gill moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue (ECF No. 23), and plaintiffs move for leave to amend their complaint (ECF No. 58). The court will address each as it sees fit.

         II. Legal Standards

         A. Personal Jurisdiction

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) allows a defendant to move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(2), a plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that its allegations would establish a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction. See Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008). Allegations in plaintiff's complaint must be taken as true and factual disputes should be construed in the plaintiff's favor. Rio Props, Inc. v. Rio Int'l Interlink, 284 F.3d 1007, 1019 (9th Cir. 2002).

         When no federal statute governs personal jurisdiction, the district court applies the law of the forum state. Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1015; see also Panavision Int'l L.P. v. Toeppen, 141 F.3d 1316, 1320 (9th Cir. 1998). Where a state has a “long-arm” statute providing its courts jurisdiction to the fullest extent permitted by the due process clause, as Nevada does, a court need only address federal due process standards. See Arbella Mut. Ins. Co. v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 134 P.3d 710, 712 (Nev. 2006) (citing Nev. Rev. Stat. § 14.065); see also Boschetto, 539 F.3d at 1015.

         An assertion of personal jurisdiction must comport with due process. See Wash. Shoe Co. v. A-Z Sporting Goods Inc., 704 F.3d 668, 672 (9th Cir. 2012). To satisfy due process, a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant only where the defendant has certain minimum contacts with the forum state “such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945).

         Two categories of personal jurisdiction exist: (1) general jurisdiction; and (2) specific jurisdiction. See Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 413-15 (1984); see also LSI Indus., Inc. v. Hubbell Lighting, Inc., 232 F.3d 1369, 1375 (Fed. Cir. 2000).

         B. Venue

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3), a defendant may rely on improper venue as a valid defense to a plaintiff's claim. To withstand dismissal under Rule 12(b)(3), plaintiff bears the burden to establish that venue is properly in this district. Nat'l Fitness Co. v. Procore Labs., LLC, 2:10-cv-2168-JCM (RJJ), 2011 WL 2463296, at *1 (D. Nev. June 20, 2011) (citing Piedmont Label Co. v. Sun ...


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