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EnvTech, Inc. v. Petrochem Field Services, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

August 1, 2017

ENVTECH, INC., Plaintiff,


          MIRANDA M. DU, Judge

         I. SUMMARY

         This case concerns a contract dispute between a manufacturer of cleaning supplies for oil refineries and a refinery services company. Before the Court is Defendant Petrochem Field Services, Inc.'s (“Petrochem”) Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (“Motion”). (ECF No. 7.) The Court has reviewed Plaintiff EnvTech, Inc.'s (“EnvTech”) response (ECF No. 11) and Petrochem's reply (ECF No. 16). For the reasons discussed below, Petrochem's Motion to Dismiss is granted.


         EnvTech initially filed its complaint in the Second Judicial District Court of Washoe County on December 22, 2016. (ECF No. 1-1.) Petrochem then removed the case to this Court on February 6, 2017, on the basis of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). (ECF No. 1.) The following facts are taken from the complaint (ECF No. 1-1).

         EnvTech is a Nevada-based company that produces and sells chemicals used to clean oil and gas refineries. Petrochem is a Texas-based company that installs, modifies, and cleans towers and vessels at refineries. Petrochem began purchasing chemicals from EnvTech in 2010 and continued to do so until 2014. During that period, Petrochem would contact EnvTech in Nevada in order to create a purchase order. EnvTech would then invoice Petrochem and, most often, [1] deliver the chemicals. Generally, Petrochem would pay approximately half of the cost of the chemicals up front. Shortly after delivery, Petrochem would then pay EnvTech the remaining amount.

         Around April of 2014, Petrochem ordered $575, 900 worth of chemicals. The purchase order was officially placed on May 7, 2014, and specified that payment was due within “net 30 days.” Petrochem made a partial payment of $287, 980. In early July 2014, before paying off the outstanding balance, Petrochem placed an additional order for $248, 980 worth of chemicals. The order was memorialized in an email from Paul Stanco at EnvTech to several employees at Petrochem on July 14, 2014, and an invoice was created on that date for the order. Shortly thereafter, EnvTech shipped the chemicals out of Nevada to Petrochem. Petrochem did not object to the chemicals it received for the May 7, 2014, invoice or the July 14, 2014, invoice.

         Despite accepting these orders, Petrochem never paid EnvTech the outstanding balances of $287, 920 (May 7, 2014, order) or $248, 980 (July 14, 2014, order). EnvTech is now suing Petrochem in order to recover the outstanding amounts owed and any accompanying damages.

         The complaint asserts three claims for relief: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and (3) unjust enrichment. (ECF No. 1-1 at 4-5.)


         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.

         EnvTech argues that this Court has specific jurisdiction[2] over Petrochem because Petrochem purposefully consummated transactions with Nevada, thereby having several contacts with the state, and EnvTech's breach-of-contract claims arise ...

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