United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT ORON’S MOTION TO
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Roy Oron’s
Motion to Dismiss. Dkt. #27. Mr. Oron argues that the Court
lacks personal jurisdiction over him. Specifically, Mr. Oron
maintains that Amazon “does not even allege any acts or
activities by Mr. Oron related to Washington…. To the
contrary, all that [Amazon] alleges is that Mr. Oron
allegedly owns or has the ability to control foreign
companies that may have received some financial benefit from
the allegedly improper activities of other defendants in this
action.” Id. at 7. Amazon argues that, under
Rule 4(k)(2), this Court has jurisdiction where Mr. Oron has
contacts with the United States as a whole, and not just this
particular state. Dkt. #32 at 6.
Complaint alleges that Defendants exploited its brand to
perpetrate a widespread fraud falsely advertising work at
home jobs with Amazon. Dkt. #1 at ¶ 1. The scheme starts
with unsolicited phone calls that claim to be recruiting for
Amazon, then directs victims to websites such as
amazonprofits.org and amazonwealth.org. When victims type
these into a browser, they are redirected through several
domains controlled by an affiliate marketing network based in
Utah called Cash Network, LLC (“Cash Network”).
Id. at ¶ 3. This scheme eventually entices
victims to purchase services of some kind. Amazon alleges
that Mr. Oron on behalf of himself and his companies
“purchased this [web] traffic from Cash Network in
order to sell website services.” Id. at ¶
4. Amazon alleges that he owned, operated, and financially
benefitted from the unlawful scheme, or in the alternative,
had the right and ability to supervise, direct, and control
the wrongful conduct alleged in this Complaint, and derived a
direct financial benefit from that wrongful conduct.
Id. at ¶ 8. Critical to these allegations is
the claim that Mr. Oron controlled a website or websites that
victims eventually landed on. See Id . at ¶ 40.
Amazon alleges that Mr. Oron is affiliated with clickomy.com
and a company called CPA 37 which worked with Cash Network.
Amazon does not offer further allegations in their Complaint
connecting Mr. Oron with clickomy or CPA 37, or connecting
these with the other components of the scheme. Later, Amazon
alleges that the domain karenvidtut.com, associated with the
scheme, “was hosted by an account connected to
Oron.” Id. at ¶ 66. Similarly, Amazon
alleges that the domain systemsmsw.com, also associated with
the scheme, was hosted by an account connected to Oron.
Id. at ¶ 68.
actual facts before the Court at this early stage are
relatively minimal. Mr. Oron states via declaration that he
is an Israeli citizen who owns multiple unnamed businesses.
Dkt. #27-1. He declares that these businesses do not do
business in Washington State. Id. He states that he
does not own property in Washington State and last visited
the state more than 35 years ago. Id.
submits as an exhibit a letter from counsel representing Cash
Network LLC indicating that their own investigation revealed
that CPA 37 was an advertiser in this scheme, and that the
contact person for CPA 37 was Roy Oron. Dkt. #33 at 9.
declaration from investigator Niles Gooding describes the
scam websites at issue in this case. Dkt. #34. A declaration
from investigator Wesley Brandi describes the process of how
these websites targeted individuals who visited them by
incorporating geolocation information from the
visitor’s IP address. Dkt. #35. Some of these websites
were hosted by Amazon Web Services (“AWS”), and
investigation revealed that the AWS account was regularly
accessed by a couple of IP addresses: 126.96.36.199 and
188.8.131.52. Id. at ¶ 15. Pertinent to the
instant Motion, the investigator’s declaration
eventually states that Mr. Oron is Facebook friends with
individuals affiliated with Cash Network, LLC. Id.
at ¶¶ 16–19. The declaration also includes a
screenshot from Facebook ostensibly connecting Roy Oron with
a telephone sales job with Clickomy in Israel. Id.
at ¶ 20.
defendant moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction,
the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that the
court has jurisdiction over the defendant. Pebble Beach
Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154, (9th Cir. 2006)
(citing Harris Rutsky & Co. Ins. Servs. v. Bell &
Clements Ltd., 328 F.3d 1122, 1128-29 (9th Cir. 2003)).
However, this demonstration requires that the plaintiff
“make only a prima facie showing of jurisdictional
facts to withstand the motion to dismiss.” Id.
(citing Doe v. Unocal, 248 F.3d 915, 922 (9th Cir.
2001) (internal citations omitted)). Moreover, for the
purpose of this demonstration, the court resolves all
disputed facts in favor of the plaintiff. Id.
general rule is that personal jurisdiction over a defendant
is proper if it is permitted by a long-arm statute and if the
exercise of that jurisdiction does not violate federal due
process. Id. Jurisdiction can be established by
general or specific jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit relies on
a three-prong test for analyzing a claim of specific personal
jurisdiction: (1) The non-resident defendant must
purposefully direct his activities or consummate some
transaction with the forum or resident thereof; or perform
some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the
privilege of conducting activities in the forum, thereby
invoking the benefits and protections of its laws; (2) the
claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the
defendant's forum-related activities; and (3) the
exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and
substantial justice, i.e. it must be reasonable.
Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d
797, 802, 2004 (citing Lake v. Lake, 817 F.2d 1416,
1421 (9th Cir. 1987)). The plaintiff bears the burden of
satisfying the first two prongs of the test. Id. If
the plaintiff fails to satisfy either of these prongs,
personal jurisdiction is not established in the forum state.
If the plaintiff succeeds in satisfying both of the first two
prongs, the burden then shifts to the defendant to
“present a compelling case” that the exercise of
jurisdiction would not be reasonable. Id. (citing
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462,
476-78, 85 L.Ed.2d 528, 105 S.Ct. 2174 (1985)). “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.” Id. The reasonableness determination
requires the consideration of several factors, including (1)
the extent of the defendant’s purposeful interjection
into the forum state, (2) the burden on the defendant in
defending in the forum, (3) the extent of the conflict with
the sovereignty of the defendant’s state, (4) the forum
state’s interest in adjudicating the dispute, (5) the
most efficient judicial resolution of the controversy, (6)
the importance of the forum to the plaintiff's interest
in convenient and effective relief, and (7) the existence of
an alternative forum. Bancroft & Masters, Inc. v.
Augusta Nat. Inc., 223 F.3d 1082, 1088 (9th Cir. 2000),
holding modified by Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le
Racisme Et L'Antisemitisme, 433 F.3d 1199 (9th Cir.
may exercise personal jurisdiction over a foreign defendant
pursuant to Rule 4(k)(2) when: (1) the claim arises under
federal law; (2) the defendant is not subject to general
jurisdiction in any state; and (3) the exercise of personal
jurisdiction is consistent with due process. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(k)(2); Holland Am. Line Inc. v.
Wartsila N. Am., Inc., 485 F.3d 450, 461 (9th Cir. 2007)
(citing Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151,
1158-59 (9th Cir. 2006)).
all disputed facts in favor of Amazon, the Court finds
Amazon’s allegations connecting Mr. Oron with the
alleged scheme sufficient to establish a prima facie showing
of personal jurisdiction. Amazon need not establish liability
at this early stage. Instead, Amazon has presented facts, the
result of significant investigation, which tend to show that
Mr. Oron was either in control of businesses and websites
directly affiliated with this scheme or participated in this
scheme by making transactions within the United States or
directed at individuals or businesses in the United States.
To be clear, this scheme clearly consummated transactions
with individuals in the United States, used AWS, and injured
Amazon in the United States. Mr. Oron has been sufficiently
connected to CPA 37 and Clickomy, Ltd., and those businesses
have been sufficiently connected to the websites involved in
this scheme. Amazon’s causes of action here undeniably
relate to Mr. Oron’s alleged forum-related activities.
After reviewing the seven factors from Bancroft
above, the Court finds this exercise of jurisdiction
reasonable and consistent with due process. Mr. Oron has the
burden to demonstrate why jurisdiction would not be
reasonable. His arguments on Reply tend to go to his ultimate
liability in this case rather than his activities with the
United States. See Dkt. #37 at 5–6 (arguing
that he is not the owner of Clickomy and that his name on the
credit cards used to purchase the URLs in this case is
insufficient). Mr. Oron’s point that it would be
inconvenient for him to travel to this forum given that he is
an Israeli citizen is outweighed by other factors, including
the extent of Mr. Oron’s purposeful interjection into
the forum state, the forum state’s interest in
adjudicating the dispute, the most efficient judicial
resolution of the controversy, and the importance of the
forum to the Plaintiff's interest in convenient and
effective relief. Amazon does not have to show why this
lawsuit could not have been brought in Israel. Amazon was
allegedly injured in the United States and alleges violations
of U.S. law. It would be judicially inefficient to bring this
suit in Israel. For all these reasons, the Court will deny
Court notes that because Mr. Oron is not subject to general
jurisdiction in any state, and both consumers and Amazon
allegedly suffered harm in Washington State, this Court is a
particularly appropriate forum.
reviewed the relevant briefing and the remainder of the
record, the Court hereby finds and ORDERS that Defendant Roy