United States District Court, D. Colorado
FRANKLYN A. JENKINS, Plaintiff,
DUFFY CRANE AND HAULING, INC., a Colorado corporation, DUFFY HOLDINGS, LLC, a Colorado limited liability company, DUFFY CRANE, INC., a Colorado corporation, and IMMEDIA, INC., a Minnesota corporation, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT IMMEDIA’S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION (DOC. # 138)
CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Immedia, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). (Doc. # 138.) On January 27, 2016, Plaintiff Franklyn A. Jenkins filed a brief in opposition to Immedia’s motion (Doc. # 142), and on February 17, 2016, Immedia replied (Doc. # 148). For the following reasons, Immedia’s motion is denied.
In 2011, Plaintiff commenced a negligence suit against Immedia and others in Minnesota state court. (Doc. # 138 at 6.) The Minnesota state court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims against the Duffy entities and, as a result, Plaintiff filed the instant action in this Court. (See Doc. # 120.) Plaintiff has alleged in both suits that Immedia was negligent during the loading and unloading of a printing press that Immedia had purchased and that Plaintiff transported from Colorado to Minnesota. (Id.) On August 7, 2012, the Minnesota state court denied Immedia’s motion for summary judgment, but nonetheless held that, as a matter of law, Immedia had no duty to ensure that the printing press was properly loaded onto Plaintiff’s truck. (Doc. # 138-2 at 67-70.) The Minnesota court also excluded all evidence regarding Immedia’s conduct in Colorado from trial. (Id.) Prior to the scheduled trial in Minnesota, Plaintiff joined Immedia as a defendant in the present action, and the Minnesota court stayed that litigation pending final resolution of the instant case. (Doc. # 138-2 at 75-78.)
In the motion currently at issue, Immedia argues that because the Minnesota state court held that it did not have a duty to ensure the careful loading of the printing press in Colorado, personal jurisdiction in Colorado is improper. (Doc. # 138 at 12-14.) Plaintiff counters that this Court has not yet held that the Savage rule applies in Colorado and that personal jurisdiction may be exercised because Immedia physically entered Colorado to conduct business and committed a tortious act here. (Doc. # 142 at 10-13.)
A. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). Although the burden to demonstrate personal jurisdiction over a defendant rests with the plaintiff, a plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing that personal jurisdiction is proper. Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, 514 F.3d 1063, 1070 (10th Cir. 2008); AST Sports Sci., Inc. v. CLF Distrib. Ltd., 514 F.3d 1054, 1056-57 (10th Cir. 2008). In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(2) motion, the court assumes as true the well-pled facts in a plaintiff’s complaint. Dudnikov, 514 F.3d at 1070. Factual disputes in the pleadings and affidavits will be resolved in the plaintiff’s favor for the purposes of the instant motion. See FDIC v. Oaklawn Apartments, 959 F.2d 170, 174 (10th Cir. 1992).
B. WHETHER THE COURT HAS JURISDICTION
Personal jurisdiction exists over an out-of-state defendant where authorized by the forum state’s long-arm statute. Grynberg v. Ivanhoe Energy, Inc., 666 F.Supp.2d 1218, 1229 (D. Colo. 2009). Because Colorado's long-arm statute is coextensive with the United States Constitution, jurisdiction is authorized where it is consistent with the due process clause. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-1-124; Grynberg, 666 F.Supp.2d at 1229.
To demonstrate specific personal jurisdiction that is consistent with Due Process, a plaintiff must show that a defendant had “minimum contacts” with the forum state, such that having to defend a lawsuit there would not “offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 315 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940) (internal quotations omitted)). To determine whether this standard has been met, courts first analyze whether the defendant purposefully directed its activities at the forum state and, second, whether the plaintiff’s cause of action arises out of those forum-related contacts. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472 (1985).
Immedia purposefully directed its activities at the forum state by sending three employees to Colorado to assist with and oversee the loading of the printing press onto Plaintiff’s truck. (Doc. # 138 at 11.) Immedia argues that the presence of these employees falls “manifestly short of meeting” the test for specific personal jurisdiction because Colorado was not the focal point of its actions and its activities were not directed at Colorado residents. (Id.) However, Immedia’s entry into Colorado in order to oversee a business transaction is sufficient to establish minimum contacts. The sole purpose of Immedia’s employees’ presence in Colorado was their involvement in the loading of the printing press purchased from Duffy, a Colorado corporation. This team remained in Colorado for six days and Immedia admits that these representatives were sent to Colorado and “given the authority . . . to do whatever was necessary to assist in getting that equipment dismantled.” (Doc. # 42-2 at 6.) Immedia benefitted from this contact with the forum state and, keeping in mind that Plaintiff must only make out a prima facie showing of jurisdiction, there are sufficient facts to demonstrate that Immedia purposefully directed its activities at Colorado.
Plaintiff’s causes of action arise out of Immedia’s forum-related activities. The Amended Complaint alleges that Immedia owed a duty to Plaintiff to ensure the proper loading of the printing press in Colorado and that Immedia violated numerous regulations with respect to said loading. (Doc. # 142 at 12-13.) Despite the fact that the injury occurred in Minnesota, Plaintiff claims that it was Immedia’s negligence in Colorado that caused his harm.
Finally, Plaintiff must demonstrate that exercising jurisdiction would not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. Int'l Shoe, 326 U.S. at 315 (quoting Milliken, 311 U.S. at 463). Courts use five factors outlined in Burger King to determine whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction meets this standard. Those factors are (1) the burden on the defendant, (2) the forum state's interest in adjudicating the dispute, (3) the plaintiff's interest in obtaining convenient and effective relief, (4) the interstate judicial system's interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution of controversies, and (5) the shared interest of the several states in furthering fundamental substantive social policies. Burger King, 471 U.S. at 477 (quoting World-Wi ...