United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING QUANEX IG SYSTEMS, INC. AND TRUSEAL
TECHNOLOGIES, INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS FIRST AMENDED
Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, U.S. District Court Judge.
King County (“King County”) instituted this
action against Defendants Viracon, Inc.
(“Viracon”), Quanex IG Systems, Inc.
(“Quanex IG Systems”), and Truseal Technologies,
Inc. (“Truseal”), alleging fraud, strict
liability, and violations of Washington State's Consumer
Protection Act based on the construction of a building own by
King County. See Dkt. No. 12. Currently before the
Court is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Quanex IG
Systems and Truseal (collectively
“Defendants”). Dkt. No. 32. Defendants move to dismiss
the claims against them pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2) and (6), arguing that: (1) they are not
subject to personal jurisdiction in Washington State and (2)
the First Amended Complaint does not state a cognizable claim
for relief. King County opposes the motion. Dkt. No. 37.
Having reviewed the motion, the opposition thereto, the
record of the case, and the relevant legal authority, the
Court will grant the motion. The reasoning for the
Court's decision follows.
County is a government entity and political subdivision of
the State of Washington. Dkt. No. 12 at ¶ 1.1. Viracon
is incorporated and headquartered in Minnesota and in the
business of manufacturing insulating glass units
(“IGUs”) for distribution and sale throughout the
United States, including Washington State. Id. at
¶ 1.2. Quanex IG Systems is an Ohio corporation
headquartered in Texas; Truseal is a Delaware corporation
also headquartered in Texas. Id. at ¶¶
1.3-1.4. King County alleges that both Quanex IG Systems and
Truseal manufacture building products for distribution and
sale in the United States, including Washington State.
center of this lawsuit is an office building-“the
Chinook Building”-located in Seattle, Washington that
is owned by King County. Id. at ¶ 5.1. The
Chinook Building was built in 2007 and has what the parties
refer to as a “curtainwall” exterior-an exterior
comprised of IGUs that are framed by metal joinery and set
within openings clad in granite. Id. at 5.2. The
IGUs consist of double paned windows with a hermetically
sealed air space between the panes of glass that provides
thermal and acoustical insulation. Id. at 5.3.
Polyisobutylene-based sealant (“PIB-based
sealant”) is used to seal the window panes.
Id. at ¶ 5.4. The Chinook Building's
exterior has nearly 3, 000 IGUs. Id. at 5.3.
County alleges that Viracon manufactured and supplied the
IGUs installed on the Chinook Building, while Defendants
manufactured the PIB-based sealant used by Viracon to seal
the IGUs. Id. at 5.4. King County further alleges
that the PIB-based sealant used to create the IGUs'
hermetic seal is failing, causing a film to migrate
“into the sightlines and glass of the [IGUs].”
Id. at 5.10. The County alleges that the film
impairs visibility and affects the overall appearance of the
Chinook Building. Id. According to King County, the
film “is present with varying degrees of severity on
all of the Building's nearly 3, 000 [IGUs].”
Id. at 5.9.
County asserts that the industry standard is to use black
PIB-based sealant in IGUs because the black sealant
“include[s] an ingredient called carbon black that
protect[s] the PIB from degrading in sunlight.”
Id. at 5.12. However, King County alleges, instead
of using black PIB-based sealant in the IGUs for the Chinook
Building, Viracon sealed the IGUs with gray PIB-based sealant
that was manufactured by Defendants. According to King
County, Viracon and Defendants knew that the gray PIB-based
sealant was “defective and its performance  inferior
to that of [b]lack PIB” and, as such, the use of gray
PIB-based sealant would render the IGUs “[un]suitable
for their intended purpose” on the Chinook Building.
Id. at 5.13.
King County claims, at the time that the IGUs with the gray
PIB-based sealant were installed on the Chinook Building,
Viracon and Defendants each knew of other buildings that had
Viracon-manufactured IGUs with gray PIB-based sealant that
were experiencing the same issues that the Chinook Building
is now experiencing. Id. at 5.14. Therefore, King
County charges, Viracon and Defendants “understood and
knew that the types of damages King County complains of [in
this lawsuit] were likely to occur, more likely to occur than
if standard [b]lack PIB were [sic] used in the
[IGUs], and did nothing to prevent the [g]ray PIB from
reaching the marketplace, or prevent the installation on the
Building of [IGUs] using the [g]ray PIB.” Id.
stated above, Defendants Quanex IG Systems and Truseal move
this Court to dismiss the claims stated against them on two
grounds. First, Defendants argue that this Court lacks
personal jurisdiction over them and therefore the claims must
be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(2). Alternatively, Defendants argue that the First
Amended Complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can
be granted and therefore the claims must be dismissed
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Standard of Review on a Rule 12(b)(2) Motion
Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden to show that the
court has jurisdiction over the defendant, but “in the
absence of an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only
make a ‘prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts to
withstand the motion to dismiss.'” Washington
Shoe Co. v. A-Z Sporting Goods Inc., 704 F.3d 668,
671-72 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Pebble Beach Co. v.
Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006)).
“[F]or the purpose of [the prima facie] demonstration,
the court resolves all disputed facts in favor of the
plaintiff.” Pebble Beach Co., 453 F.3d at 1154
(citing Doe v. Unocal, 248 F.3d 915, 922 (9th Cir.
2001)). However, the plaintiff “cannot simply rest on
bare allegations of the Complaint, but rather is obligated to
come forward with facts, by affidavit or otherwise,
supporting personal jurisdiction.” Microsoft Corp.
v. Communications & Data Sys. Consultants, 127
F.Supp.3d 1107, 1113 (W.D. Wash. 2015).
courts ordinarily follow state law in determining the bounds
of their jurisdiction[.]” Picot v. Weston, 780
F.3d 1206, 1211 (9th Cir. 2015) (quoting Daimler AG v.
Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 125 (2014)). As Washington
State's long-arm statute allows the exercise of personal
jurisdiction to the full extent permissible under the
constitution, Shute v. CarnivalCruise
Lines, 783 P.2d 78, 79 (Wash. 1989), the court's
“inquiry centers on whether exercising jurisdiction
comports with due process, ” Picot, 780 F.3d
at 1211. Due process, in turn, “requires that the
defendant ‘have certain minimum contacts' with the
forum state ‘such that the maintenance of the suit does
not offend traditional notions of fair ...