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Henning v. Arya

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 1, 2018

JESSICA HENNING, Plaintiff,
v.
CHEERAG ARYA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Cheerag Arya (“Arya”). (ECF No. 130). Arya argues that this case should be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. For the reasons stated below, Arya's motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         II. BACKGROUND

         At the hearing on September 22, 2015, the Court stated on the record the facts alleged in Plaintiff Jessica Henning (“Henning”)'s Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 70). The Court incorporates those alleged facts here, and also incorporates the background set forth in its prior Order.[1] (ECF No. 137).

         On June 13, 2016, Arya filed the instant Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 130). Henning filed her Response on June 27, 2016. (ECF No. 135). Arya filed his Reply on July 11, 2016. (ECF No. 136).On July 26, 2016, the Court entered an Order granting in part and denying in part the prior Motion to Dismiss, and granting in part and denying in part Defendants' Motion to Strike. (ECF No. 137). On August 3, 2016, the Court held a hearing on the instant Motion to Dismiss, and took the matter under submission. (ECF No. 139).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

         A plaintiff bears the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction. Picot v. Weston, 780 F.3d 1206, 1211 (9th Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). Where, as here, the Court resolves a motion to dismiss without holding an evidentiary hearing, a plaintiff must “make a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts to withstand the motion to dismiss.” Morrill v. Scott Fin. Corp., 873 F.3d 1136, 1141 (9th Cir. 2017) (citations omitted). To make a prima facie showing, the plaintiff “need only demonstrate facts that if true would support jurisdiction.” Ballard v. Savage, 65 F.3d 1495, 1498 (9th Cir. 1995). When evaluating the plaintiff's prima facie showing, “[a]ll uncontroverted allegations in the complaint are deemed true, and factual disputes are to be resolved in favor of the non-moving party.” Morrill, 873 F.3d at 1141.

         “Federal courts ordinarily follow state law in determining the bounds of their jurisdiction over persons.” Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1121 (2014); see also Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 125 (2014) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A)). Nevada permits its courts to exercise jurisdiction to the same extent as the Constitution. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 14.065. Therefore, this Court need only consider the constitutional principles of due process. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Super. Ct. of Cal., San Francisco Cty., 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1779 (2017). This due process determination has two components: (1) whether the defendant has the requisite minimum contacts with the forum state to render it subject to the forum's jurisdiction; and (2) whether the assertion of jurisdiction complies with “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Walden, 134 S.Ct. at 1121. The Supreme Court has articulated a two-part test for the “substantial connection” or minimum contacts required for personal jurisdiction: (1) the relationship between defendant and the forum must arise out of contacts the defendant himself creates, and (2) defendant must have contacts with the forum state and not merely with persons residing in the forum state. Id. at 1122.

         There are two categories of personal jurisdiction: general and specific. Bristol-Myers Squibb, 137 S.Ct. at 1779-80. General jurisdiction is appropriate in the one location where an individual defendant has her domicile; any claim may be heard against a defendant in the place where she is subject to general jurisdiction. Id. at 1780 (citations omitted). Alternatively, a court may find specific jurisdiction where the subject of a lawsuit is related to a defendant's in-state contacts with the forum. Id. (citations omitted).

         B. Forum Non Conveniens

         A district court may “decline to exercise jurisdiction in a case where litigation in a foreign forum would be more convenient for the parties.” Lueck v. Sundstrand Corp., 236 F.3d 1137, 1142 (9th Cir. 2001). “A forum non conveniens determination is committed to the sound discretion of the district court.” Id. at 1143.

         A party moving to dismiss on grounds of forum non conveniens must “show two things: (1) the existence of an adequate alternative forum, and (2) that the balance of private and public interest factors favors dismissal.” Boston Telecomm. Grp. v. Wood, 588 F.3d 1201, 1206 (9th Cir. 2009) (citation and quotation marks omitted).

         C. Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

         In order to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a pleading must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, “[a]ll well-pleaded allegations of material fact in the complaint are accepted as true and are construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Faulkner v. ADT Security Servs., Inc., 706 F.3d 1017, 1019 (9th Cir. 2013). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” meaning that the court can reasonably infer “that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation and quotation marks omitted).

         IV. RELEVANT FACTUAL FINDINGS FOR JURISDICTION

         The Court has reviewed the record in this case and makes the following factual findings solely for the purpose of the jurisdictional inquiry.

         A. Arya's 2012 Introduction to Henning

         Henning is a resident of Clark County, Nevada. Arya is a resident of the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”). Arya became a client of Selective Search, a matchmaking service, in Summer 2012, for the purpose of finding a romantic partner. That summer, Arya visited the Selective Search offices in Chicago, Illinois in person, and described to the client representative that his ideal partner was “a young, career-minded woman that would be open to relocate.” After Arya returned to his residence, he signed a contract with Selective Search and began to receive profiles of potential partners. Selective Search sent Arya an email with Henning's profile, which showed that Henning was a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. After Selective Search confirmed that Henning was willing to relocate, Arya expressed interest in meeting Henning, and Selective Search provided Arya with Henning's phone number and email address.

         B. 2012 Communications and Arya's 2013 Visit to Nevada

         Henning and Arya first spoke on the telephone on or about November 12, 2012. Henning informed Arya that she was a resident of the State of Nevada and located in Las Vegas at the time. The parties continued to communicate by telephone, text message, and email from November 12, 2012 through January 24, 2013.

         On or about January 24, 2013, Arya traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada for the purpose of meeting Henning. The parties met for dinner, which lasted approximately one hour. On or about January 25, 2013, Henning and Arya met for dinner again in Las Vegas, Nevada. After Arya was escorted from the property by security, Henning paid the dinner bill and took a taxi cab home.

         The following morning, Arya contacted Henning by telephone, while Arya was still in Las Vegas. Arya apologized for his conduct the prior evening. Henning expressed her concern regarding Arya's conduct. Arya told Henning he was nervous and that was the basis for his excessive alcohol consumption on the previous night. He also assured Henning that he did not have an alcohol abuse problem.

         Henning relied upon those representations and agreed to meet with Arya again that evening. The parties met for dinner at a Las Vegas hotel. Arya presented Henning with a Cartier watch and three Chanel handbags, stating that the items were belated Christmas gifts and an early birthday gift.

         C. Enticements to Leave Nevada

         On or about January 27, 2013, Arya departed Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to his departure Arya invited Plaintiff to travel to Switzerland, Belgium, and Dubai to visit Arya during races in which his Ferrari team was competing. On or about January 30, 2013, Arya directed an email to Henning while she was in Las Vegas, Nevada, in which he invited Henning on a trip to Portofino, Italy.

         On or about February 6, 2013, Arya emailed Henning while she was in Las Vegas, Nevada, in which he informed Henning that he would be purchasing her a Bentley Continental Wl2 automobile and a Bentley Flying Spur automobile.

         On or about February 7, 2013, Arya directed an email to Henning while she was in in Las Vegas, Nevada, in which he informed Henning that he would be purchasing for Henning a Ferrari in Switzerland. The content of the email allegedly states “the Swiss one will be for you.” On or about February 23, 2013, Henning flew to Switzerland at Arya's request. Arya purchased the airline tickets and sent them to Henning while she was in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the parties were in Switzerland, Arya gave Henning several gifts valued in total at $345, 000, including:

• Diamond earrings
• A Rolex watch
• A Frank Muller watch
• An Hermes watch

         On or about March 1, 2013, while Henning and Arya were still in Switzerland, Arya consumed alcohol in excess, contrary to his prior representations. He became verbally abusive toward Henning. Henning stated she would cut the trip short and book travel back to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the next day. Arya insisted that the four gifts he gave to Henning be given back to him. Henning, feeling threatened, gave the gifts back to Arya. Henning returned to Las Vegas, Nevada the next day.

         On or about March 6, 2013, Arya emailed Plaintiff while she was in Las Vegas, requesting to speak by telephone. Henning agreed. During the phone call, Arya apologized for his earlier conduct, apologized for taking Henning's property, and stated that he “wanted to make it up” to Henning.

         On or about April 9, 2013, Arya had a Frank Muller watch shipped to Henning in Las Vegas, Nevada, to replace the watch Arya had previously taken from Henning. Arya made the travel arrangements for Henning to meet him in Antwerp, Belguim and directed those arrangements to Henning in Las Vegas, Nevada. On or about April 15, 2013, at Arya's request, Henning flew to Antwerp.

         On April 15, 2013, Arya presented Henning with a 7.52 carat yellow diamond “commitment ring.” Arya told Henning that an official 20 carat engagement ring would be presented to her in an Indian customary ceremony. Arya represented that ...


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