United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON DEFENDANT FRYER-KNOWLES, INC.'S MOTION
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case comes before the Court on the Motion of Defendant
Fryer-Knowles, Inc. (a California Corporation) to Dismiss
pursuant to Rule 12 (b)(2). Dkt. 123. The Court has
considered the pleadings filed regarding the motion and the
file herein. The Court deems oral argument unnecessary.
Complaint alleges that Defendants manufactured, distributed,
“and/or” sold asbestos-containing brakes,
clutches, gaskets, and grinders (Dkt. 1-2 at 3) and further
alleges as follows: Plaintiff Donald Varney developed
mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused condition, from ambient
exposure from Defendants' products while working as a
marine machinist, mechanical instrument mechanic, and auto
mechanic. Id. at 5. Plaintiff D. Varney was exposed
to asbestos from Defendants' products at the Puget Sound
Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, and the Hunters
Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, California, between
1957 and 1972. Id. at 5. He was also exposed to
asbestos from Defendants' products during personal auto
repair from 1939 to 1957, and he had secondary exposure from
his father, an auto mechanic in Seattle, Washington, during
the 1940's and 1950's. Id. at 5. Plaintiff
D. Varney has sustained economic and non-economic harm from
his mesothelioma condition, while his wife, Plaintiff Maria
Varney, has sustained a loss of consortium. Id. at
6. Plaintiffs seek, inter alia, general and special
damages, costs, and prejudgment interest. Id.
Fryer-Knowles, Inc., a California corporation, seeks
dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 (b)(2). Plaintiff did not respond to the
Civ. P. 12 (b)(2) governs the dismissal of an action based on
lack of personal jurisdiction. Where no applicable federal
statute addresses the issue, a court's personal
jurisdiction analysis begins 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 that the United States Constitution permits.
Byron Nelson Co. v. Orchard Management Corp., 95
Wn.App. 462, 465 (1999). Because Washington's long-arm
jurisdictional statute is coextensive with federal due
process requirements, the jurisdictional analysis under state
law and federal due process are the same.
Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d 797, 800-01
exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant
under federal law, that defendant must have at least
“minimum contacts” with the relevant forum state
such that exercising jurisdiction “does not offend
traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 801,
(citing International Shoe v. Washington, 326 U.S.
310, 316 (1945). In determining whether a defendant had
minimum contacts, courts focus on the relationship among the
defendant, the forum, and the litigation. Shaffer v.
Heitner, 433 U.S. 186 (1977). Personal jurisdiction
exists in two forms, general and specific. Dole Food Co.
v. Watts, 303 F.3d 1104, 1111 (9th Cir. 2002).
court may assert general jurisdiction over foreign
(sister-state or foreign-country) corporations to hear any
and all claims against them when their affiliations with the
State are so ‘continuous and systematic' as to
render them essentially at home in the forum State.”
Goodyear Dunlop Tire Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564
U.S. 15, 919 (2011). In order for a court to exercise
specific jurisdiction over a foreign defendant corporation,
the following is required: (1) the defendant purposefully
availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities in
Washington, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of
its laws; (2) the plaintiff's claims arise out of
defendant's Washington-related activities; and (3) the
exercise of jurisdiction would be reasonable. Easter v.
American West Financial, 381 F.3d 948, 960-61 (9th
Cir.2004); Bancroft & Masters, Inc. v. Augusta
Nat'l Inc., 223 F.3d 1082, 1086 (9th Cir.2000).
Plaintiff has the burden to make the prima facie showing of
jurisdiction. Ziegler, 64 F.3d 470, 473
Fryer-Knowles, Inc., as a non-resident defendant, argues that
Plaintiff is unable to show this court has either general or
specific jurisdiction over it for the relevant time period.
It argues Plaintiff cannot show it had “certain minimum
contacts” with Washington during the relevant period
because it was incorporated in 1973, the year after
Plaintiff's last asserted exposure in 1972. Accordingly,
it maintains Plaintiff cannot show it had the “minimum
contacts” required under International Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) for this Court to
have personal jurisdiction over it.
Fryer-Knowles, Inc.'s motion to dismiss (Dkt. 123) should
be granted. There is no evidence this Court has general
jurisdiction over this non-resident defendant. Its
affiliations with Washington were not so “continuous
and systematic” during the time in question so
“as to render [it] essentially at home” in
Washington. Moreover, there is no evidence this Court has
specific jurisdiction over it. The uncontroverted evidence in
the record is that this Defendant was not incorporated until
August 29, 1973. Dkt. 124, at 3 and 7-8. It could not place
any product into the stream of commerce before that time (the
time period Plaintiff alleges he was injured) because it did
not exist. Id., at 3. Plaintiff does not contest
this evidence or respond to the motion. This Court does not
have personal jurisdiction over Defendant Fryer-Knowles,
Inc., and the case against it should be dismissed.
it is HERE ...