United States District Court, D. Idaho
MICHAEL HILL, Plaintiff, and KASEY A. JORGENSEN, Plaintiff,
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge
Court has before it Union Pacific Railroad Company's
motions to dismiss. Idaho residents Kasey Jorgensen and
Michael Hill are employed by Union Pacific; each was injured
during the course and scope of his employment while working
outside the state of Idaho. Each sued Union Pacific in a
separate action under the Federal Employers' Liability
Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. § 51 et. seq., which
provides remedies in the form of money damages for on-the-job
injuries incurred by employees not covered by state
workers' compensation laws. Union Pacific moves to
dismiss, claiming the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over
it. Fed. Rule Civ. P. 12(b)(2).
Court consolidated the matters for the purpose of determining
the virtually identical motions to dismiss, and finds the
facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the
briefs and record without the need for oral argument. Dist.
Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d). After carefully considering the
parties' briefs and pertinent authorities, the Court
issues the following decision denying both motions.
Hill is a resident and citizen of the state of Idaho, and he
has been employed by Union Pacific in Twin Falls, Idaho,
since 2001. On December 16, 2016, he was employed as a gang
machinist. Although he resides in Twin Falls, Hill is
required to travel outside the state of Idaho for work on
behalf of Union Pacific. Hill receives his assignments from
Union Pacific in Idaho, and his work is overseen in Idaho.
Hill receives his paycheck from Union Pacific in the state of
Idaho, and he receives work benefits from Union Pacific in
the state of Idaho.
December 16, 2016, Union Pacific assigned Hill work from Twin
Falls, Idaho, and he reported to work in Kansas. Hill alleges
he did not have the proper equipment to remove a wheel off an
axle from a tie crane, and he was forced to use a sledge
hammer instead. While swinging the sledge hammer, he injured
his shoulder and bicep, and suffered injuries. Hill returned
to Idaho and received the majority of his medical treatment
for his injuries in the Twin Falls area.
is a resident and citizen of the state of Idaho, and he has
been employed by Union Pacific in Pocatello, Idaho, since
2011. Although he resides in Pocatello, Jorgensen is required
to travel outside the state for work on behalf of Union
Pacific. Like Hill, Jorgensen receives his assignments from
Union Pacific in the state of Idaho, and his work is overseen
in the state of Idaho. When he travels from Pocatello to the
place he is assigned to work, Union Pacific reimburses him
for his travel expenses. Jorgensen receives his paycheck from
Union Pacific in the state of Idaho, and he receives work
benefits from Union Pacific in the state of Idaho.
November 7, 2017, Jorgensen was working for Union Pacific as
a roadway machinist/heavy equipment mechanic. After receiving
his work assignment in Pocatello, he reported to work in
Wyoming. While troubleshooting a fuel truck together with the
driver of the truck, Jorgensen checked under the hood. The
truck driver slammed the hood down, hitting Jorgensen between
the shoulder blades and causing physical injuries. Jorgensen
received all of his medical treatment for his injuries in the
Pocatello area after the accident when he returned to Idaho.
Pacific is a Delaware corporation with its headquarters and
principal place of business located in Omaha, Nebraska, where
it also operates a central operations center for train
dispatching and network operations monitoring. Union Pacific
operates in twenty-three states, with a total rail system of
32, 122 miles. Of its 32, 122 miles of rail trackage, 848
miles, or 2.64% of its total rail system, are located in
Idaho. Union Pacific employs 41, 000 people. Of those
employees, eight hundred employees, or 1.95% of the
company's total workforce, are employed in the state of
Idaho. Plaintiffs are two of these eight hundred employees.
both Hill and Jorgensen testified in their affidavits that
Union Pacific assigns work to them in Twin Falls and
Pocatello, respectively, it is not clear whether Union
Pacific maintains offices or specific work sites in the state
of Idaho. Union Pacific is authorized by the Secretary of
State to transact business in the state of Idaho, and it is
currently registered to do so. Decl. of Gabiola Ex. A. (Dkt.
18-2.) Union Pacific maintains a registered agent for service
of process in the state of Idaho as well. Decl. of Gabiola
Ex. B. (Dkt. 18-2.)
Motion to Dismiss Standard
Fed. Rule Civ. P. 12(b)(2), Plaintiffs bear the burden of
proving 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 [defendant's] motion is
based on written materials rather than an evidentiary
hearing, ‘the plaintiff need only make a prima facie
showing of jurisdictional facts.'” Id. The
Court looks to the pleadings and affidavits to determine
whether the plaintiff has made a prima facie showing of
personal jurisdiction. Id. “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 ...