Proceeding Pursuant to C.A.R. 21 City and County of Denver
District Court Case No. 15CV32019 Honorable Michael J.
Attorneys for Plaintiffs: Hale Westfall, LLP Richard A.
Westfall Peter J. Krumholz Denver, Colorado
Attorneys for Defendants: Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell, LLP
Edward C. Stewart Theresa R. Wardon Marissa S. Ronk Denver,
Colorado Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP Jessica Ellsworth Sean
Marotta Washington, D.C.
Attorneys for Amicus Curiae The Chamber of Commerce of the
United States of America: Kittredge LLC Daniel D. Domenico
Denver, Colorado MRD Law Michael Francisco Denver, Colorado
Attorneys for Amicus Curiae The Colorado Trial Lawyers
Association: Ollanik Law, LLC Stuart Ollanik Boulder,
Colorado Schoenwald & Thompson LLC Julia T. Thompson
Attorneys for Amicus Curiae The Center for Auto Safety and
The Attorneys Information Exchange Group: Ogborn Mihm, LLP
Thomas Neville Denver, Colorado Anapol Weiss Larry E. Coben
We issued a rule to show cause in this case to review the
trial court's conclusion that defendant Ford Motor
Company ("Ford") is subject to general personal
jurisdiction in Colorado, despite the U.S. Supreme
Court's recent decision in Daimler A.G. v.
Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746 (2014). We conclude that the
record does not support a finding that Ford is
"essentially at home" in Colorado, and therefore,
Ford is not subject to general personal jurisdiction here.
Because the trial court did not determine whether Ford was
subject to specific jurisdiction, we do not reach that issue.
We also review the trial court's conclusion that venue
was proper in Denver
because Ford has a registered agent there. We hold that
maintaining a registered agent in the state does not convert
a foreign corporation to a resident. Therefore, because none
of the parties reside in Denver and the accident did not
occur there, we conclude that venue is not appropriate in
Accordingly, we make our rule to show cause absolute, and we
remand with instructions for the trial court to transfer the
case to an appropriate venue. A trial court in a proper venue
must then determine whether Ford is subject to specific
Facts and Procedural History
This case arises from a car accident that occurred on
September 25, 2013, in Douglas County, Colorado. Plaintiff
John Scott Magill was driving his 2007 Ford Fusion when it
collided with a vehicle driven by defendant Mark Polunci.
Magill suffered severe injuries in the collision, including a
traumatic brain injury and spinal injuries. Magill and his
wife, Suzanna Magill, filed a lawsuit in Denver District
Court against Polunci, Ford, and other defendants to recover
for his injuries. The Magills claim that their Fusion had
defective seat and restraint systems that caused Mr.
Magill's serious and permanent injuries. They contend
that Ford, as the manufacturer of the Fusion, is liable for
their injuries based on three causes of action: (1) strict
liability, (2) negligence or negligence per se, and (3) loss
of consortium. Ford filed a C.R.C.P. 12(b)(2) Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction or, in the
Alternative, to Transfer Venue Pursuant to C.R.C.P. 98(e).
Polunci also filed a motion to change venue.
The following undisputed facts are relevant to the
jurisdiction and venue questions presented: The accident
underlying this case occurred in Douglas County, Colorado.
The Magills reside in Douglas County. Mr. Polunci resides in
El Paso County. Ford is a Delaware corporation with its
principal place of business in Michigan. Ford has a
registered agent in Denver County. Ford markets and sells
cars throughout the country, including Colorado, through
franchised dealerships. Ford does not manufacture cars in
Colorado, but it maintains several offices and businesses in
the state, including the Ford Motor Company Service School
and an office for Ford Motor Credit Co., LLC.
The trial court denied both motions to change venue. It
observed that "Ford is a foreign corporation whose
registered agent is located in Denver County and . . . [was]
served there." Consequently, it concluded that
"venue is proper in Denver County under the provision of
Rule 98(c)(1) that allows an action to be brought in the
county in which at least one defendant resides."
Ford also moved to dismiss the case for lack of personal
jurisdiction. The company argued that it is not subject to
general personal jurisdiction because it is not "at
home" in Colorado. Ford argued that it was not subject
to specific personal jurisdiction because the car accident
did not arise out of its contacts with Colorado. The trial
court concluded that the Magills "made a prima facie
showing that Ford is at 'home' in Colorado" and
that Ford's "continuous and systematic
affiliations" with Colorado were sufficient to subject
Ford to general personal jurisdiction in Colorado.
Ford's petition presents the following issues: (1)
whether the trial court erred when it concluded that it had
general personal jurisdiction over Ford and (2) whether the