United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT PEDIGO'S MOTION TO
DISMISS OR TRANSFER VENUE
SALVADOR MENDOZA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is pro se Defendant Jason Pedigo's Motion to
Dismiss, or Transfer Venue, ECF No. 34. Driver and Defendants
Courtyard Spokane Downtown at the Convention Center,
Courtyard Management Corporation and MarCourt Investment
Incorporated (collectively, Courtyard Defendants) oppose the
motion, and all parties submitted briefing in support of
their positions. Pedigo argues this Court lacks personal
jurisdiction and asserts that the proper venue for this
matter is the Northern District of Texas. By separate order,
this Court denied a substantially identical motion submitted
by defendants Clarkson Davis. ECF No. 65. Much of the
Court's reasoning applies with equal force to the instant
motion. In short, this Court has jurisdiction because
Driver's claims are based on criminal conduct occurring
in Spokane, Washington, to which Pedigo pleaded guilty. For
the same reasons articulated in this Court's previous
order regarding Clarkson Davis' motion to transfer venue,
the interest of justice favors continued jurisdiction in this
District. Accordingly, Pedigo's motion is denied in full.
facts of this case were set out in detail in this Court's
Order Denying Clarkson Davis's Motion to Dismiss or
Transfer Venue, ECF No. 65. Accordingly, they need not be
addressed at length here. In short, Rechael Driver and her
then-coworker Jason Pedigo travelled to Spokane, Washington
for business in July 2015. While in Spokane, Pedigo attempted
to spy on Driver by inserting a camera under the door
separating their adjoining hotel rooms. Driver discovered the
camera and called the police, who arrested Pedigo. Both
Driver and Pedigo were eventually terminated from employment
with Clarkson Davis.
February 2017, Pedigo pleaded guilty to First Degree Criminal
Trespass in violation of Wash. Rev. Code (RCW) §
9A.52.070-G. ECF No. 50-1. Pedigo received a sentence of 364
days with 3 days' credit for time served and 361 days
suspended. Pedigo was placed under supervision for a period
of 24 months.
August 28, 2017, Driver filed two lawsuits, one in the
Eastern District of Washington, and one in the Northern
District of Texas. These lawsuits are based on the same
underlying facts, however the suit in the Eastern District of
Washington includes the Courtyard Defendants.
Burden of Proof and Evidence Considered
there is no statutory method for resolving a motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, district courts
have broad discretion in selecting a mode of determination.
See Data Disc, Inc. v. Sys. Tech. Assocs., Inc., 557
F.2d 1280, 1285 (9th Cir. 1977). The Court may resolve the
matter on the pleadings and affidavits, or it may consider
discovery materials. “If a plaintiff's proof is
limited to written materials, it is necessary only for these
materials to demonstrate a prima facie showing of
jurisdiction.” Id. However, “if the
pleadings and other submitted materials raise issues of
credibility or other disputed questions of fact regarding
jurisdiction, the district court has the discretion to take
evidence at a preliminary hearing to resolve the contested
issues.” Id. In this situation, the plaintiff
must establish the jurisdictional facts by a preponderance of
the evidence. Id.
it is possible to resolve the motion to dismiss on written
materials alone. Accordingly, Driver must establish only a
prima facie case for personal jurisdiction over Pedigo.
Court “begins its personal jurisdiction analysis with
the long-arm statute of the state in which the court
sits.” Glencore Grain Rotterdam B.V. v. Shivnath
Rai Harnarain Co., 284 F.3d 1114, 1123 (9th Cir. 2002).
Washington's long-arm statute extends the court's
personal jurisdiction to the broadest reach permitted by the
United States Constitution. See RCW § 4.28.185.
Because Washington's long-arm statute is coextensive with
federal due process requirements, the jurisdictional analysis
under state law and federal due process are the same.
Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d
797, 800-01 (9th Cir. 2004).
process requires that the nonresident defendant have
“certain minimum contacts with [the forum state] such
that the 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) (quoting
Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)). The
inquiry “focuses on the relationship among the
defendant, the forum, and the litigation.” Keeton
v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 456 U.S. 770, 775 (1984).
Specifically, “the defendant's suit-related conduct
must create a substantial connection with the forum
state.” Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 746, 753
jurisdiction exists in two forms: general and specific.
See Dole Food Co. v. Watts, 303 F.3d 1104, 1111 (9th
Cir. 2002). Courts have general jurisdiction over a
non-resident when the non-resident has “continuous
systematic general business contacts that approximate
physical presence in the forum state.”
Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 801. Personal
jurisdiction exists when (1) the defendant purposefully
availed himself of the laws of the forum state; (2)
plaintiff's claims arise out of the defendant's