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Tucker v. British Airways PLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

December 14, 2017

FREDERICK TUCKER, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
BRITISH AIRWAYS PLC, dba BRITISH AIRWAYS PLC, LTD, a foreign corporation; OMNISERV LIMITED, an ABM COMPANY and foreign corporation; AIR SERV CORPORATION, a foreign corporation; ABM Industries, a foreign corporation; Defendants.

          ORDER

          The Honorable Richard A. Jones, United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Omni Serv Limited (“Omni”), Air Serv Corporation (“Air Serv”), and ABM Industries' (“ABM”) (collectively, “Omni Defendants”) Motion for Reconsideration. Dkt. # 48. British Airways and Plaintiff filed a response. Dkt. ## 51, 52.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This Court denied Omni Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Its reasoning was based on Omni Defendants' failure to raise this defense when answering British Airways, PLC's (“British Airways”) cross-claims. Omni Defendants now seek reconsideration of that Order as to Plaintiff's claims, over which Omni Defendants asserted a personal jurisdiction defense.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion for Reconsideration

         “Motions for reconsideration are disfavored.” LCR 7(h)(1). “The court will ordinarily deny such motions in the absence of a showing of manifest error in the prior ruling or a showing of new facts or legal authority which could not have been brought to its attention earlier with reasonable diligence.” Id.

         Omni Defendants move the Court to reconsider its Order denying the motion to dismiss. Dkt. # 47. Omni Defendants argue that the Court committed error in denying the motion on behalf of Plaintiff's claims versus British Airways' cross-claims. Dkt. # 48. Omni Defendants aver that they preserved their personal jurisdiction defense against Plaintiff's claims, and therefore this Court necessarily needed to analyze whether it could assert personal jurisdiction over these defendants. Id.; see also Dkt. # 16 at 8 (in answering Plaintiff's Complaint, Omni Defendants defended by stating that “[t]he Court lacks personal jurisdiction over one or more or all of the Defendants.”). The Court agrees. The Court finds that it risks committing error were it to continue with this litigation without first analyzing whether it can exercise personal jurisdiction over Omni Defendants. For this reason the Court GRANTS the motion for reconsideration. Dkt. # 48. The Court will analyze the personal jurisdiction issue below.

         B. Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

         1. Personal Jurisdiction

         Plaintiff has the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction. Ziegler v. Indian River County, 64 F.3d 470, 473 (9th Cir. 1995). “It is well established that where the district court relies solely on affidavits and discovery materials, the plaintiff need only establish a prima facie case of jurisdiction.” Rano v. Sipa Press, Inc., 987 F.2d 580, 587 n.3 (9th Cir. 1993). Washington's long-arm statute, RCW 4.28.185, “extends jurisdiction to the limit of federal due process.” Shute v. Carnival Cruise Lines, 113 Wn. 2d 763, 771, 783 P.2d 78 (1989). The due process clause grants the court jurisdiction over defendants who have “certain minimum contacts . . . such that 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).

         a. General Jurisdiction

         Plaintiff does not specifically argue that the Court has general jurisdiction over Air Serv or its subsidiaries. British Airways does argue this point, though the Court has already found that the Court has jurisdiction over Omni Defendants for purposes of British Airways' cross-claims. The Court will nonetheless analyze whether it has general jurisdiction over Air Serv for purposes of Plaintiff's claims.

         For general jurisdiction to exist, the defendant must engage in “continuous and systematic general business contacts that ‘approximate physical presence' in the forum state.” Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 801 (9th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). ‚ÄúThis is an exacting standard, as it should be, because a finding of general jurisdiction permits a defendant to be haled ...


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