United States District Court, D. Idaho
JON L. MOSELEY, personal representative of the Estate of Jon Moseley, deceased, JON L. MOSELEY, TONDALAYA MOSELEY, and MINOR CHILD K.G., Plaintiffs,
SUZUKI MOTOR OF AMERICA, INC. and SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye U.S. District Court Judge.
matter comes before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss filed by
Defendants Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (“SMAI”)
and Suzuki Motor Corporation (“SMC”). Dkt. 9.
After the Motion was fully briefed, the Court held oral
arguments and took the Motion under advisement. After fully
considering the arguments presented by the parties, for the
reasons outlined below, the Court finds good cause to GRANT
the Motion and dismiss this case.
wrongful death case centers on a crash involving a 2008
Suzuki GSX-R750. Defendant SMC (a Japanese corporation)
designed and manufactured the motorcycle in Japan. American
Suzuki Motor Corporation (“ASMC”)-a now defunct
corporation- distributed the motorcycle to an independent
dealer in Utah on May 28, 2008. Emily Phelps purchased the
motorcycle from this independent dealer in Utah on June 9,
2008. The chain of ownership is not clear, but at some point
Aleah Montalvan became the owner of the motorcycle.
permitted Decedent, Jon Moseley, to drive the motorcycle on
or about May 31, 2015, in Twin Falls, Idaho. While Decedent
was riding the motorcycle in the parking lot of a Target
store in Twin Falls the front brakes failed. Decedent
attempted to stop the motorcycle, but was unsuccessful. The
motorcycle then hit a curb near the front of the store. The
impact propelled the Decedent into the side of the Target
building. An ambulance transferred the Decedent to the St.
Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, where the
Decedent subsequently died. The cause of death was blunt
force trauma due to the motorcycle accident.
to the crash, on or about November 18, 2013, Defendants had
issued an “Important Safety Recall” involving the
break system used in the motorcycle at issue in this case.
Plaintiffs maintain that neither Decedent nor “any
prior owners” of the motorcycle were notified of the
are relatives of Decedent. They brought suit against
Defendants on May 26, 2017. They assert three causes of
action: (1) negligence, (2) wrongful death and loss of
familial relationship, and (3) strict products liability.
Plaintiffs seek both compensatory and punitive damages.
November 14, 2017, Defendants filed the instant Motion to
Dismiss. In their response brief, Plaintiffs agreed to
voluntarily dismiss SMAI from this suit. After the dismissal
of SMAI, only two arguments for dismissal remain in this
case. The only remaining Defendant, SMC, argues the Court
should dismiss this case because (1) the service of process
was insufficient and (2) it is not subject to the Court's
personal jurisdiction. The Court first addresses the issues
of personal jurisdiction, as that issue is dispositive in
courts apply state law to determine the bounds of their
jurisdiction over a party.” Williams v. Yamaha
Motor Co., 851 F.3d 1015, 1020 (9th Cir. 2017) (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 [Idaho's] long-arm
statute and the constitutional standards of due process must
be met.” Saint Alphonsus Reg'l Med. Ctr. 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 [Idaho].” See Idaho Code
§ 5-514(b). Under this standard, the tortious act
“need not take place in Idaho; all that is required is
that the injury is alleged to have occurred in Idaho.”
Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh v. Aerohawk
Aviation, Inc., 259 F.Supp.2d 1096, 1102 (D. Idaho
2003). “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.” Cornelius v. DeLuca,
709 F.Supp.2d 1003, 1010 (D. Idaho 2010).
Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment constrains a
State's authority to bind a nonresident defendant to a
judgment of its courts.” Walden v. Fiore, ___
U.S. ___, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1121 (2014). A nonresident
defendant must have “certain minimum contacts with [the
forum] such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend
‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.'” Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quoting
Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)). Since
the Supreme Court's “seminal decision in
International Shoe, [its] decisions have recognized
two types of personal jurisdiction: ‘general'
(sometimes called ‘all-purpose') jurisdiction and
‘specific' (sometimes called
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, ___ U.S.
___, 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1779-80 (2017). “For an
individual, the paradigm forum for the exercise of
general jurisdiction is the individual's
domicile; for a corporation, it is an equivalent place, one
in which the corporation is fairly regarded as at
home.” Id., (quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires
Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 924 (2011)).
“A court with general jurisdiction may hear any claim
against that defendant, even if all the incidents underlying
the claim occurred in a different State.” Id.
“Specific jurisdiction is very different. In order for
a state court to exercise specific jurisdiction, ‘the
suit' must ‘aris[e] out of or relat[e] to the
defendant's contacts with the forum.” Id.
(quoting Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746, 760
(2014)). “In other words, there must be ‘an
affiliation between the forum and the underlying controversy,
principally, [an] activity or an occurrence that takes place
in the forum State and is therefore subject to the
State's regulation.' For this reason, ‘specific
jurisdiction is confined to adjudication of issues deriving
from, or connected with, the very controversy that
establishes jurisdiction.'” Id. (quoting
Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 919).
do not argue that the Court has general jurisdiction over
SMC. Therefore, the Court focuses solely on specific
jurisdiction. “There are three requirements for a court
to exercise specific jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant: (1) the defendant must either ‘purposefully
direct his activities' toward the forum or
‘purposefully avail[ ] himself of the privileges of
conducting activities in the forum'; (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.'” Axiom Foods, Inc. v. Acerchem
Int'l, Inc., 874 F.3d 1064, 1068 (9th Cir. 2017)
(quoting Dole Food Co., Inc. v. Watts, 303 F.3d
1104, 1111 (9th Cir. 2002)). “The plaintiff bears the
burden of satisfying the first two prongs of the test.”
Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d
797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004). “[T]he burden then shifts to
the defendant to ‘present a compelling case' that
the exercise of jurisdiction would not be
reasonable.'” Id. (quoting Burger King
Corp. v Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 476-78 (1985)).
cases like this, involving products liability, the Supreme
Court “has stated that a defendant's placing goods
into the stream of commerce ‘with the expectation that
they will be purchased by consumers within the forum
State' may indicate purposeful availment.” J.
McIntyre Mach., Ltd. v. Nicastro, 564 U.S. 873, 881-82
(2011) (quoting World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v.
Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 298 (1980) (finding that
expectation lacking)). However, the Supreme Court has also
clarified that a “defendant's transmission of goods
permits the exercise of jurisdiction only where the defendant