United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and Improper Venue
(Dkt. # 9). Having considered the submissions of the parties,
the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law,
the Court finds that oral argument is unnecessary. For the
reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion is
DENIED. Dkt. # 9.
following is taken from Plaintiff's Complaint (Dkt. # 1),
which is assumed to be true for the purposes of this motion
to dismiss, along with any declarations filed by the
parties. Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903,
910 (9th Cir. 2007). Plaintiff Oregon Mutual Insurance
Company (“Oregon Mutual” or
“Plaintiff”) is an Oregon-based insurance company
that issued an automobile insurance policy (the
“Policy”) to Bruce Barkley, father of Defendant
Breanna Barkley (“Defendant” or “Ms.
Barkley”). Dkt. # 1 at 2, ¶ 1. The policy was
negotiated and signed in Washington, where Ms. Barkley and
her parents lived. Dkt. # 1 at 2, ¶ 4. In 2010, Ms.
Barkley “temporarily” moved to Georgia to seek
medical treatment. Dkt. # 12, Ex. C. Due to an earlier car
accident in 2006, Ms. Barkley is disabled and unable to
drive. Dkt. # 12, Ex. C.
February 2011, Ms. Barkley was injured in a car accident when
the car she was in was rear-ended by another vehicle, driven
by Timothy McTyre. Dkt. # 1 at 3, ¶ 4. Shortly after the
accident, Cynthia Barkley (Ms. Barkley's mother), called
Oregon Mutual to notify them of the accident and make a claim
on Ms. Barkley's behalf. Dkt. #1 at 3, ¶ 8; Dkt. #
12, Ex. B. In 2013, Ms. Barkley sued Mr. McTyre in Georgia
state court (Breanne Lee Barkley et al. v. Timothy Allen
McTyre, State Court of Cobb County, State of Georgia,
Case No. 2013A335-4 (the “McTyre
suit”)). Dkt. # 9 at 2. Ms. Barkley later settled with
Mr. McTyre and other insurance carriers in connection with
the McTyre suit. Dkt. # 9 at 2. Oregon Mutual
alleges that Ms. Barkley failed to notify it of the
settlement, impairing its ability to recover through
subrogation against third parties. Dkt. # 1 at 3, ¶ 6.
Mutual now sues, requesting a declaratory judgment that it
has no duty to defend, indemnify, or pay insurance benefits
with respect to any injuries suffered by Ms. Barkley in the
underlying McTyre suit. Dkt. # 1. Ms. Barkley moves
to dismiss Oregon Mutual's complaint for lack of personal
jurisdiction and improper venue. Dkt. # 9.
case like this one, where no federal statute governs personal
jurisdiction, the court's jurisdictional analysis starts
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 (RCW § 4.28.185)
extends personal jurisdiction to the broadest reach that the
Due Process Clause of the federal Constitution permits.
Shute v. Carnival Cruise Lines, 113 Wash.2d 763, 771
(1989). 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).
In determining whether Plaintiff has met this burden, any
“uncontroverted allegations” in Plaintiff's
complaint must be taken as true, and “conflicts between
the facts contained in the parties' affidavits must be
resolved in [Plaintiff's] favor for purposes of deciding
whether a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction
exists.” AT&T v. Compagnie Bruxelles
Lambert, 94 F.3d 586, 588 (9th Cir. 1996),
supplemented, 95 F.3d 1156 (9th Cir. 1996) (internal
are two types of personal jurisdiction: general and specific.
Bancroft & Masters, Inc. v. Augusta Nat'l
Inc., 223 F.3d 1082, 1086 (9th Cir. 2000). A defendant
with “substantial” or “continuous and
systematic” contacts with the forum state is subject to
general jurisdiction, and can be haled into court on any
action, even one unrelated to its contacts in the state.
Bancroft & Masters, 223 F.3d at 1086. A
defendant not subject to general jurisdiction may be subject
to specific jurisdiction if the suit against it arises from
its contacts with the forum state. Id. Plaintiff
does not assert that Defendant is subject to general
jurisdiction, so the Court will only consider whether the
Defendant is subject to specific jurisdiction.
Court applies a three-part test to determine whether the
exercise of specific jurisdiction over a non-resident
defendant is appropriate: (1) the defendant has either
purposefully directed his activities toward the forum or
purposely availed himself of the privileges of conducting
activities in the forum, (2) the plaintiff's claims arise
out of the defendant's forum-related activities, and (3)
the exercise of jurisdiction is reasonable. Axiom Foods,
Inc. v. Acerchem Int'l, Inc., 874 F.3d 1064, 1068
(9th Cir. 2017). Plaintiff bears the burden of satisfying the
first two prongs. Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor
Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004). The burden then
shifts to defendant to make a “compelling case”
that the exercise of jurisdiction would not be reasonable.
availment and purposeful direction are “two distinct
concepts.” Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 802. In
the Ninth Circuit, tort cases typically require a purposeful
direction analysis, while contract cases typically require a
purposeful availment analysis. Washington Shoe Co. v. A-Z
Sporting Goods, Inc., 704 F.3d 668, 672-73 (9th Cir.
2012). Here, Plaintiff's claims are based in contract, so
the Court will apply the purposeful availment test. “A
showing that a defendant purposefully availed himself of the
privilege of doing business in a forum state typically
consists of evidence of the defendant's actions in the
forum, such as executing or performing a contract
there.” Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 802. By
taking such actions, a defendant “purposefully avails
itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the
forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of
its laws.” Id. (quoting Hanson v.
Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253 (1958)). However, in return
for the “benefits and protections” of the forum
state, the defendant must “submit to the burdens of
litigation in that forum.” Schwarzenegger, 374
F.3d at 802 (quoting Burger King, 471 U.S. at 476).
The court must look to “prior negotiations and
contemplated future consequences, along with the terms of the
contract and the parties' actual course of dealing”
to determine if the defendant's contacts are
“substantial” and not merely “random,
fortuitous, or attenuated.” Sher v. Johnson,
911 F.2d 1357, 1362 (quoting Burger King, 471 U.S.
at 478 (internal quotations omitted)).
Barkley contends that she does not have sufficient minimum
contacts with Washington because she is currently a resident
of Georgia and the accident giving rise to her claim under
the Policy occurred in Georgia. Dkt. # 9 at 4. Ms. Barkley
also notes that she is not a signatory to the Policy and thus