United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT DANA CANADA
CORPORATION'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL
S. LASNIK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on defendant Dana Canada
Corporation's motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction. Dkt. # 98. Plaintiffs Matthew and Sylvia
Hodjera, a married couple, allege that Mr. Hodjera's
mesothelioma was proximately caused by various corporate
defendants' manufacture, sale, and/or distribution of
asbestos-containing products. Defendant Dana Canada
Corporation (“Dana Canada”) moves to dismiss,
arguing that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over it.
Having reviewed the memoranda, declarations, and exhibits
submitted by the parties, the Court grants the motion for the
reasons that follow.
to the complaint, Mr. Hodjera was exposed to asbestos or
asbestos-containing products in Toronto, Ontario, between
1986 and 1994. Dkt. # 1-1 at 4. On May 20, 2016, Mr. Hodjera
was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Id.
December 2, 2016, plaintiffs filed suit in King County
Superior Court, alleging that Mr. Hodjera's mesothelioma
had been proximately caused by the manufacture, sale, and/or
distribution of asbestos-containing products by the following
defendants: BASF Catalysts LLC; BorgWarner Morse Tec Inc.;
Central Precision Limited; Charles B. Chrystal Company, Inc.;
Dana Companies, LLC; Dana Canada Corp.; DAP Products, Inc.;
Felt Products Mfg. Co.; Honeywell International Inc.; Imerys
Talc America, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Johnson &
Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.; Pneumo Abex LLC; Union
Carbide Corporation; Vanderbilt Minerals LLC; Volkswagen
Aktiengesellschaft; Volkswagen Group of Canada; Volkswagen
Group of America, Inc.; Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc.;
and Does 1-350, inclusive. Dkt. # 1-1 at 2-3. On January 11,
2017, defendant Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. removed the
case. Dkt. # 1. Various defendants have moved to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction.
Canada argues that the complaint fails to allege facts
supporting personal jurisdiction over it. Dana Canada is a
Canadian corporation with its principal place of business in
Ontario. Dkt. # 99, ¶¶ 2, 3. Dana Canada is not
registered to do business in Washington; nor does it have
facilities, real property, or employees in Washington.
Id., ¶ 4. The complaint's only allegations
specific to Dana Canada are that it has “been engaged
in the mining, processing, manufacture, sale, and
distribution of asbestos or asbestos-containing products and
machinery requiring or calling for the use of asbestos and
asbestos-containing products, ” Dkt. # 1-1 at 5, and
that it “knew or should have known of the specific
medical and scientific data, literature and test results
relating to the manufacture, as well as to the grinding and
drilling, of automobile asbestos containing brake linings
and/or clutch friction materials, which first began to be
known or knowledgeable to defendants in the 1930's,
” Dkt. # 1-1 at 11-12. The complaint does not allege
that Dana Canada's products were present in Toronto
between 1986 and 1994. See generally Dkt. # 1-1.
process requires a district court to have personal
jurisdiction over a defendant in order to adjudicate a claim
against it. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746, 753
(2014). Plaintiffs have the burden of demonstrating that the
Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over Dana Canada.
Harris Rutsky & Co. Ins. Services, Inc. v. Bell &
Clements Ltd., 328 F.3d 1122, 1128-29 (9th Cir. 2003).
Absent an evidentiary hearing, plaintiffs need only make,
through the submission of pleadings and affidavits, a prima
facie showing of facts supporting personal jurisdiction to
avoid dismissal. Myers v. Bennett Law Offices, 238
F.3d 1068, 1071 (9th Cir. 2001). Provided the long-arm
statute of the state in which the Court sits permits the
Court's exercise of personal jurisdiction,  there are two
ways to establish that the Court has personal jurisdiction
over a particular defendant. Id. at 753-55. This
order considers each in turn.
defendant is subject to a court's general personal
jurisdiction when its contacts are “so constant and
pervasive as to render it essentially at home” in the
forum. Daimler AG, 134 S.Ct. at 751 (internal
quotation and brackets omitted). General jurisdiction over a
party ensures personal jurisdiction over that party for any
claim, regardless of that claim's relationship to the
forum. Id. at 761. Because Dana Canada is not
incorporated in Washington and does not have its principal
place of business in Washington, the Court agrees that it
lacks general personal jurisdiction over Dana Canada. See
Daimler AG, 134 S.Ct. at 760-61 (quoting Goodyear
Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915,
defendant may also be sued in a forum where it has minimal
contacts, provided those contacts are purposefully directed
at the forum, the claim arises out of those contacts, and the
exercise of jurisdiction over that party is reasonable.
See Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1155
(9th Cir. 2006).
fail to satisfy the second prong of the specific
jurisdiction, which requires that their claim arise out of
the defendant's purposeful contacts with the forum state.
Though plaintiffs allege that Mr. Hodjera's asbestos
exposure occurred in Toronto, Ontario, where Dana Canada
presumably conducted business, Dkt. # 1-1 at 4, plaintiffs
have not alleged that Mr. Hodjera's exposure in Ontario
would not have occurred “but for” Dana
Canada's contacts with Washington, as is
required for this Court to exercise personal jurisdiction
over Dana Canada. See Menken v. Emm, 503 F.3d 1050,
1058 (9th Cir. 2007).
plaintiffs have failed to argue that Dana Canada purposefully
availed itself of this Washington forum by selling products
in Washington state or otherwise. See generally Dkt.
# 113. Instead, plaintiffs argue that the fairness prong of
the specific jurisdiction test should be sufficient in this
case: “it would be manifestly unfair to this dying
plaintiff and his wife to break this case up into multiple
claims and require plaintiffs to start over in many different
states.” Dkt. # 113 at 11. While the Court sympathizes
with the plaintiffs' circumstances, the Constitution does
not permit it to exercise jurisdiction over a particular
defendant merely because it would be most fair to the
plaintiff. See Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326
U.S. 310, 319 (1945) (“[The due process] clause does
not contemplate that a state may make binding a judgment in