United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS WITHOUT PREJUDICE
AND WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS IN
THE ALTERNATIVE TO TRANSFER VENUE OR FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AS
MOOT, AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendants Wyndham Worldwide
Corporation (“WWC”), “Wyndham or one of its
affiliates, including but not limited to; undivided interest,
beneficial interests, credits and/or the timeshare interests
(the “Timeshare Interests”) also known as Club
Wyndham Access Points” (collectively,
“Defendants”) motion to transfer venue or in the
alternative to dismiss, and or for summary judgment. Dkt. 11.
The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of
and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file
and hereby grants the motion for the reasons stated herein.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Brandon Bluhm (“Bluhm”) is an individual who owns
timeshares and earns income from renting his timeshare
interests to others. Dkt. 1, ⁋⁋ 4, 18. Bluhm
appears to have owned approximately 68 timeshare contracts
affiliated with Defendants. See Dkt. 1, ⁋ 6.
Bluhm used a website affiliated with Defendants to manage
reservations and rent out his timeshare interests.
Id. ⁋ 4.In May 2017, Bluhm lost
access to this website. Id. Bluhm alleges that in
July 2017, Defendants' representative told him that if he
sold back 64 of his timeshare contracts, his access to the
online reservation system would be restored. Id.
⁋ 6-7. Subsequently, Bluhm sold 64 of his timeshare
contracts back to Defendants. Id. ⁋
However, his access was not restored after the sale was
complete. Id. ⁋ 4.
filed his complaint in this Court on October 8, 2018,
alleging claims including violation of the Commerce Clause,
Article 1 § 8 cl. 3, violation of the “Fair-Trade
Act of 1986, ” misrepresentation, breach of contract,
unjust enrichment, and violation of Florida state law. Dkt.
1. On January 24, 2019, Defendants moved for transfer of
venue, or in the alternative for dismissal pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), 12(b)(7), or summary judgment pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Dkt. 11. On February 28, 2019, Bluhm
filed a document titled “Response to Motion to Transfer
Venue and In the Alternative Motion to Dismiss for Summary
Judgment, ” which does not respond to Defendants'
motion, but in fact contains his own motion for summary
judgment. Dkt. 15.
February 22, 2019, Defendants replied to their motion. Dkt.
16. On March 11, 2019, Defendants responded to Bluhm's
motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 17.
court's exercise of jurisdiction must comport with the
limitations imposed by due process. Helicopteros
Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 413
(1984). Due process is satisfied when subjecting the entity
to the court's power does not “offend
‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.'” Id. at 414 (quoting
Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316
(1945)). “[T]raditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice” require that a defendant have
minimum contacts with the forum state before it may be haled
into a court in that forum. Int'l Shoe, 326 U.S.
at 316 (1945). The extent of those contacts can result in
either general or specific personal jurisdiction over the
defendant. Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v.
Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011). “Like a motion to
dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a motion for judgment on
the pleadings, ” or here, a motion to dismiss for
failure to join indispensable parties, “tests the legal
sufficiency of the complaint . . . .” Hodjera v.
BASF Catalysts LLC, No. C17-48RSL, 2017 WL 3263717, at
*1 (W.D. Wash July 31, 2017) (citing Cafasso, U.S. ex rel
v. General Dynamics C4 Systems, Inc., 637 F.3d 1047,
1054 & n.4 (9th Cir. 2011)).
argument in support of its motion to transfer venue is based
on a number of factors, including that Bluhm failed to plead
sufficient facts to show personal jurisdiction over
Defendants. Dkt. 11 at 10-11. The Court finds it prudent to
address its power over the parties before deciding the merits
of a motion to transfer venue or for summary judgment.
jurisdiction permits a court to consider claims against a
person or corporation for any conduct, even that which
occurred outside the forum state. Goodyear, 564 U.S.
at 924; Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 126-27.
A corporation is subject to general jurisdiction where it is
incorporated and where it its principal place of business is
located. Daimler AG, 571 U.S. 140. Regarding
Defendants' contacts with Washington, Bluhm's
complaint alleges only that WWC “is a multinational
developer of vacation resorts and seller of new timeshares to
consumers, ” is a corporation incorporated in Delaware
with its principle place of business in Orlando, Florida, and
“[does] business in the State of Washington.”
Dkt. 1 ⁋ 2. As Bluhm does not allege WWC is
incorporated in Washington or has its principal place of
business here, he fails to allege facts sufficient for
jurisdiction permits a district court to exercise
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant for conduct that
“create[s] a substantial connection with the forum
State.” Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 284
(2014). A defendant creates a substantial connection when it
purposefully directs its activities at the forum state, the
lawsuit arises out of or relates to the defendant's
forum-related activities, and the exercise of jurisdiction is
reasonable. Picot v. Weston, 780 F.3d 1206, 1211
(9th Cir. 2015).
argue that Bluhm appears to assert general jurisdiction but
does not plead sufficient supporting facts. Dkt. 11 at 10.
Defendants do not address specific jurisdiction. As noted,
Bluhm states in his complaint that WWC does business in
Washington. The only other mention of Defendants'
contacts with Washington in Blum's filings is one
sentence in his response brief, stating that “the
contracts were entered into in the state of
Washington.” Dkt. 15 at 8.
also provide very limited information about the interactions
between the parties. Dkt. 11 at 10. Facts contained in
Defendants' argument that venue should be transferred to
the Middle District of Florida but which may bear on specific
jurisdiction include that emails attached to the complaint
show Bluhm “received email communications from
individuals located at Defendants' place of business in
Florida, ” “a substantial part of the events
giving rise to the claim occurred in Florida, ” and
that at least part of the property at issue is located in
Florida. Dkt. 11 at 6 (citing Dkt. 1-11). Defendants also
argue that the “agreements were negotiated and executed
in large part in Florida, ” and argue without
elaboration that “the conduct surrounding the alleged
breach occurred in Florida.” Id. at 7.
However, even if there are many data points Defendants can
cite supporting ...