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Fejeran v. United Airlines, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 26, 2017

UNITED AIRLINES, INC., a foreign corporation; CONTINENTAL MICRONESIA, INC., a foreign corporation; and DOES I-X individually; ROE CORPORATIONS, I-X, Defendants.



         I. SUMMARY

         This case concerns an employment discrimination claim brought by a former employee of Continental Micronesia, Inc. (“CMI”) against CMI and United Airlines (“United”). Before the Court is Defendant CMI's Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's response and CMI's reply. For the reasons discussed below, CMI's Motion to Dismiss is granted.


         The following facts are taken from Plaintiff Anthony Fejeran's (“Plaintiff” or “Fejeran”) First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). (ECF No. 38.)

         Fejeran began his employment with Continental Airlines (“Continental”) on March 16, 1991. In May 2012, a physician employed by the United Airlines Family Medical Center in Guam prescribed Fejeran the painkiller Tramadol for a work-related foot pain. Immediately after beginning to take Tramadol, Fejeran suffered from headaches, anxiety, and panic issues. Over the following year, Fejeran experienced anxiety and an inability to focus. In August of 2012, Fejeran's employer[1] placed him on a termination warning for reacting improperly to an inflight/onboard situation. In February of 2013, Fejeran's employer launched an investigation when Fejeran's Flight Operating Manual was found to be incorrect. On February 22, 2013, a United-employed physician placed Fejeran on approved leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and referred him to a neurologist for an evaluation, including an MRI. Ultimately, Fejeran was diagnosed with Bipolar II Manic disorder as a result of taking Tramadol.

         On April 5, 2013, Fejeran's employer required him to attend a meeting in Las Vegas, during which he was incoherent and unable to represent himself. His employer then informed him of a mandatory meeting to be held in Guam on May 7, 2013. Clarissa Perez, employed by Fejeran's employer, reiterated to Fejeran that the meeting was mandatory because he was on a “Last Chance Agreement.” (ECF No. 38 at 4.) Fejeran's employer denied Fejeran's reasonable request for accommodation to reschedule the meeting or to participate by conference call. On May 10, 2013, Scott Goodman and Cynthia Iverson of the Association of Flight Attendants called Fejeran to let him know he would be terminated unless he agreed to retire that day. Scott Goodman, who was the Association of Flight Attendants' counsel, informed Fejeran that the “Company's position is that they must see an email from you today or they will withdraw their offer.” (Id. at 5.)

         On February 20, 2014, Fejeran filed a Charge of Discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). On October 7, 2015, the EEOC issued a Notice of Right to Sue Letter.[2] The initial complaint in this case (ECF No. 1) was filed on January 6, 2016.

         The FAC asserts two claims for relief: (1) disability discrimination, harassment and failure to accommodate pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 12111 et seq. and NRS § 613.330; and (2) violation of FMLA pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. (ECF No. 38 at 5-7.)


         In opposing a defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, a plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that jurisdiction is proper. Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008). Where, as here, the defendant's motions are based on written materials rather than an evidentiary hearing, “the plaintiff need only make ‘a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts to withstand the motion to dismiss.'” Brayton Purcell LLP v. Recordon & Recordon, 606 F.3d 1124, 1127 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006)). The plaintiff cannot “simply rest on the bare allegations of its complaint, ” but uncontroverted allegations in the complaint must be taken as true. Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 800 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Amba Mktg. Sys., Inc. v. Jobar Int'l, Inc., 551 F.2d 784, 787 (9th Cir. 1977)). The court “may not assume the truth of allegations in a pleading which are contradicted by affidavit, ” Data Disc, Inc. v. Sys. Tech. Assocs., Inc., 557 F.2d 1280, 1284 (9th Cir. 1977), but it may resolve factual disputes in the plaintiff's favor. Pebble Beach Co., 453 F.3d at 1154.


         A two-part analysis governs whether a court retains personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. “First, the exercise of jurisdiction must satisfy the requirements of the applicable state long-arm statute.” Chan v. Soc'y Expeditions, 39 F.3d 1398, 1404 (9th Cir. 1994). Since “Nevada's long-arm statute, NRS [§] 14.065, reaches the limits of due process set by the United States Constitution, ” the Court moves on to the second part of the analysis. See Baker v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court ex rel. Cnty. of Clark, 999 P.2d 1020, 1023 (Nev. 2000). “Second, the exercise of jurisdiction must comport with federal due process.” Chan, 39 F.3d at 1404-05. “Due process requires that nonresident defendants have certain minimum contacts with the forum state so that the exercise of jurisdiction does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Id. at 1405 (citing Int'l Shoe v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). Courts analyze this constitutional question with reference to two forms of jurisdiction: general and specific jurisdiction.

         Plaintiff argues that this Court has general jurisdiction over CMI based on the theory that CMI is the alter ego of United or, in the alternative, that the Court has specific jurisdiction over CMI based on an April 5, 2013, meeting ...

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