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Carmen v. Breville USA, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 30, 2017

DEAN A. CARMEN, Plaintiff,
BREVILLE USA, INC., f/k/a METRO/THEBE, INC. d/b/a/HWI USA a California corporation, BREVILLE HOLDINGS USA, INC., a California corporation, BREVILLE GROUP LIMITED a foreign business entity, BREVILLE PTY LIMITED, a foreign business entity, BREVILLE INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, a foreign business entity, and BED BATH & BEYOND, INC., a New York corporation, Defendants.


          Edward J. Lodge United States District Judge


         Pending before the Court is Defendant Breville PTY Limited's Motion to Dismiss. (Dkt. 34.) The parties filed responsive briefing and the motion is now ripe. Having fully reviewed the record herein, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Motion shall be decided on the record before this Court without oral argument. The Court grants Defendant's Motion.


         Plaintiff, Dean A. Carmen, (“Carmen”) is an individual residing in Boise, Idaho. (Dkt. 18.) Defendant, Breville PTY Limited, (“BPL”) is an Australian corporation with its principal place of business in Australia. (Dkt. 34.) BPL is primarily engaged in the design, importation, distribution, and sale of Breville® brand electrical appliances in Australia. (Dkt. 34.) BPL has a licensing agreement with Defendant Breville, USA, wherein Breville, USA has an exclusive license to manufacture, market, and sell the Breville® brand and design in the United States. (Dkt. 34, 40.)

         Carmen purchased a Breville® 800 ESXL/B1225 (“Subject Espresso Maker”) from Bed, Bath, and Beyond in Boise, Idaho on February 9, 2013. (Dkt. 18.) On or about April 1, 2013, in Idaho, Carmen was severely burned when he was “sprayed with high pressure and ultra-hot steam” while reconnecting the porta filter back into the Subject Espresso Maker. (Dkt. 18, 38.) Carmen suffered second and third degree burns, went into shock and suffered rhabdomyolysis, which ultimately resulted in his left hand being amputated. (Dkt. 18, 38.) Carmen has brought this suit against the Defendants alleging numerous claims including negligence; breach of warranties; and tortious design and manufacturing defects. (Dkt. 18.)[2]

         On October 5, 2015, Carmen filed his Second Amended Complaint in this matter, which added BPL as a defendant. (Dkt. 18.) BPL filed a Motion to Dismiss on March 7, 2016 under Rule 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(5). (Dkt. 34.) On October 6, 2016, BPL moved to withdraw its motion on the basis of Rule 12(b)(5) in response to Carmen curing the improper service. (Dkt. 48.)[3]The Court now takes up BPL's Motion to Dismiss on 12(b)(2) grounds.


         Motions to dismiss made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) “are speaking motions and it is appropriate to look beyond the pleadings to affidavits and other evidence when considering them.” National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh v. Aerohawk Aviation, Inc., 259 F.Supp.2d 1096, 1101 (D. Idaho 2003) (citing Data Disc Inc. v. Systems Technology Assocs., Inc., 557 F.2d 1280 (9th Cir. 1977)). “Where a defendant moves to dismiss a complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that jurisdiction is appropriate.” Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 800 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing Sher v. Johnson, 911 F.2d 1357, 1361 (9th Cir. 1990)). Where “the motion is based on written materials rather than an evidentiary hearing, ‘the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts.'” Id. “In such cases, ‘we only inquire into whether [the plaintiff's] pleadings and affidavits make a prime facie showing of personal jurisdiction.'” Id. (quoting Caruth v. International Psychoanalytical Ass'n, 59 F.3d 126, 128 (9th Cir. 1995)). “Although the plaintiff cannot ‘simply rest on the bare allegations of its complaint, ' uncontroverted allegations in the complaint must be taken as true.” Dole Food Co., Inc. v. Watts, 303 F.3d 1104, 1108 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Amba Marketing Systems, Inc. v. Jobar Int'l, Inc., 551 F.2d 784, 787 (9th Cir. 1977)). “Conflicts between parties over statements contained in affidavits must be resolved in the plaintiff's favor.” Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 800 (citing AT&T v. Compagnie Bruxelles Lambert, 94 F.3d 586, 588 (9th Cir. 1996)).


         “Where, as here, there is no applicable federal statute governing personal jurisdiction, the district court applies the law of that state in which the district court sits.” Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le Racisme Et L'Antisemitisme, 433 F.3d 1199, 1205 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A)). “In order for an Idaho court to exert jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant, two criteria must be met; the act giving rise to the cause of action must fall within the scope of our long-arm statute and the constitutional standards of due process must be met.” Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center v. State of Wash., 852 P.2d 491, 494 (Idaho 1992). Idaho Code § 5-514 confers personal jurisdiction over any “cause of action arising from . . . [t]he commission of a tortious act within this [Idaho].” See Idaho Code § 5-514(b). Under this standard, the negligent act need not take place in Idaho; all that is required is that the injury is alleged to have occurred in Idaho. National Union Fire Ins. Co., 259 F.Supp.2d at 1102. There is no dispute the accident occurred in Idaho, thus there is at least a prime facie case that the Idaho long-arm statute confers personal jurisdiction over BPL. Since the first criteria is met, the Court next looks to the second criteria, Due Process.

         “Because Idaho's long-arm statute, codified in Idaho Code § 5-514, allows a broader application of personal jurisdiction than the Due Process Clause, the Court need look only to the Due Process Clause to determine personal jurisdiction. Thus, under Idaho law, the jurisdictional and federal due process analyses are the same.” Wells Cargo, Inc. v. Transport Ins. Co., 676 F.Supp.2d 1114, 1119 (D. Idaho 2009).[4]

         Due process requires that a nonresident defendant have sufficient “minimum contacts” with the forum state such that the exercise of jurisdiction “does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (internal quotations and citation omitted). “[T]he constitutional touchstone of the determination whether an exercise of personal jurisdiction comports with due process remains whether the defendant purposefully established minimum contacts in the forum State.” Asahi Metal Indus. Co. v. Superior Court of California, Solano Cty., 480 U.S. 102, 108-109 (1987) (internal quotations and citations omitted). “Jurisdiction is proper . . . where the contacts proximately result from actions by the defendant himself that create a substantial connection with the forum State.” Id. at 109 (internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis in original).

         Personal jurisdiction can be general or specific. Lake v. Lake, 817 F.2d 1416, 1420 (9th Cir. 1987). A court may assert general personal jurisdiction over foreign corporations “when their affiliations with the State are so ‘continuous and systematic' as to render them essentially at home in the forum State.” Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011) (citing Int'l Shoe Co., 326 U.S. at 317). In contrast, specific personal jurisdiction is exercised when a state asserts personal jurisdiction over a defendant in a lawsuit arising out of or related to the defendant's contacts with the forum state. Helicoptores Nacionales de Columbia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 n.8 (1984). Specific jurisdiction depends on the quality and nature of the defendant's contacts with the forum state in relation to the cause of action. Lake, 817 F.2d at 1421.

         1. General Jurisdiction

         “The standard for establishing general jurisdiction is ‘fairly high, ' and requires that the defendant's contacts be of the sort that approximates physical presence.” Bancroft & Masters, Inc. v. Augusta Nat. Inc., 223 F.3d 1082, 1086 (9th Cir. 2000) (internal citations omitted); see also Brand v. Menlove Dodge,796 F.2d 1070, 1073 (9th Cir. 1986); Gates Learjet Corp. v. Jensen, 743 F.2d 1325, 1331 (9th Cir. 1984). The court considers several factors in determining general jurisdiction: “whether defendant makes sales, solicits or engages in business in the state, serves the state's markets, designates an agent for ...

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