United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS
William J. Martínez, United States District Judge.
action, Plaintiff Lorelle Thompson (“Plaintiff”)
brings various claims against Defendant Ford Motor Company
(“Ford”). (ECF No. 1.) Before the Court is
Ford’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal
Jurisdiction Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) (the
“Motion”; ECF No. 8). For the reasons set forth
below, the Court grants the Motion and dismisses the case
without prejudice for lack of personal jurisdiction.
FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
December 27, 2016, Plaintiff drove her 1998 Ford Expedition
(the “Vehicle”) to her community mailbox, located
near her home in El Paso County, Colorado. (¶¶
24–26.) Upon arriving, Plaintiff put the Vehicle
into park and left the engine running. (¶ 26.) Plaintiff
then opened the Vehicle’s door and stepped out.
(Id.) When she stepped onto the ground, she slipped
and fell on her back, with her left leg positioned behind the
Vehicle’s front left wheel. (Id.) The Vehicle
then “unexpectedly self-shifted into powered reverse
and began to roll backwards.” (Id.) The
Vehicle rolled over Plaintiff’s left leg, resulting in
fractures to her tibia and fibula. (¶¶
alleges that the Vehicle unexpectedly shifted into reverse
due to a “park-to-reverse” defect in the Vehicle.
The following is Plaintiff’s description of the defect:
A “park-to-reverse” defect can exist in a vehicle
equipped with an automatic transmission when there is
inadequate mechanical force . . . to ensure that a vehicle
always defaults into an intended gear position (such as park
or reverse) when an operator inadvertently does not fully
shift into the very center of the intended gear position.
In a vehicle with a park-to-reverse defect, an operator of
the vehicle in normal use can inadvertently and
unintentionally place the shift selector between the
intended park and reverse gear positions. Rather than
defaulting into the park or reverse gear position, as it
would in a properly designed vehicle which meets industry
standards . . ., the shift selector can remain for a period
of time (several seconds or longer) between the
intended park and reverse gear positions and from this
“false park” position the vehicle then may (or
may not) have a delayed engagement of powered reverse.
(¶¶ 33–34 (emphasis in original).) Plaintiff
alleges that Ford failed to, inter alia, design its
vehicles to prevent the “park-to-reverse” defect
despite prior notice of the flaw, install out-of-park alarms
on all of its vehicles susceptible to park-to-reverse
problems, and properly test its vehicles’ transmission
systems. (See ¶¶ 33–48.)
filed this lawsuit on December 26, 2018, asserting state law
tort claims against Ford for (1) strict products liability
(¶¶ 54–65); (2) “negligence, gross
negligence, willful and wanton misconduct: design
defect” (¶¶ 66–72); (3)
“negligence, gross negligence, willful and wanton
misconduct: manufacturing defect” (¶¶
73–80); (4) failure to warn (¶¶ 81–88);
(5) breach of implied warranty (¶¶ 89–98);
and (6) fraud (¶¶ 99–108). (ECF No. 1.)
is an individual and a resident of El Paso County, Colorado.
(¶ 5.) Ford is a Delaware corporation with its principal
place of business in Michigan. (¶ 6.)
January 18, 2019, Ford moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s
claims against it for lack of personal jurisdiction. (ECF No.
8.) Plaintiff filed a response to the Motion
(“Response”; ECF No. 17), to which Ford replied
(ECF No. 21).
purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(2) is to determine whether the Court has personal
jurisdiction over a defendant. The plaintiff bears the burden
of establishing personal jurisdiction. Behagen v. Amateur
Basketball Ass’n, 744 F.2d 731, 733 (10th Cir.
1984), cert. denied, 471 U.S. 1010 (1985).
“When a district court rules on a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2)
motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction without
holding an evidentiary hearing, as in this case, the
plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of personal
jurisdiction to defeat the motion.” OMI Holdings,
Inc. v. Royal Ins. Co. of Can., 149 F.3d 1086, 1091
(10th Cir. 1998).
plaintiff may make this prima facie showing by demonstrating,
via affidavit or other written materials, facts that if true
would support jurisdiction over the defendant.”
Id. “In order to defeat a plaintiff’s
prima facie showing of jurisdiction, a defendant must present
a compelling case demonstrating ‘that the presence of
some other considerations would render jurisdiction
unreasonable.’” Id. (quoting Burger
King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1985)).
stage, the Court accepts the well-pled (that is, plausible,
non-conclusory, and non-speculative) factual allegations of
the complaint as true to determine whether Plaintiff has made
a prima facie showing that personal jurisdiction
exists. Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermillion Fine Arts,
Inc., 514 F.3d 1063, 1070 (10th Cir. 2008). Any factual
conflicts arising from affidavits or other submitted
materials are resolved in Plaintiff’s favor. Wenz
v. Memery Crystal, 55 F.3d 1503, 1505 (10th Cir. 1995).
determining whether a federal court has personal jurisdiction
over a defendant, the court must determine (1) whether the
applicable statute potentially confers jurisdiction by
authorizing service of process on the defendant and (2)
whether the exercise of jurisdiction comports with due
process.” Niemi v. Lasshofer, 770 F.3d 1331,
1348 (10th Cir. 2014). Because Colorado’s long-arm
statute, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-1-124, “confers the
maximum jurisdiction permissible consistent with the Due
Process Clause . . . the first, statutory, inquiry
effectively collapses into the second, constitutional,
analysis.” Dudnikov, 514 F.3d at 1070. Thus,
the Court need only address the constitutional question of
whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the
defendant comports with due process. Old Republic Ins.
Co. v. Cont’l Motors, Inc., 877 F.3d 895, 903
(10th Cir. 2017).
order to evaluate whether the exercise of personal
jurisdiction comports with due process, [the Court] must
first assess whether ‘the defendant has such minimum
contacts with the forum state that he should reasonably
anticipate being haled into court there. This
minimum-contacts standard may be satisfied by showing general
or specific jurisdiction.’” Niemi, 770
F.3d at 1348 (quoting Emp’rs Mut. Cas. Co. v.
Bartile Roofs, Inc., 618 F.3d 1153, 1160 (10th
Cir. 2010)). “[I]f the defendant has minimum contacts
within the forum state, [the Court must] determine whether
the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the defendant
offends traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” Bartile Roofs, 618 F.3d at 1160
(internal quotation marks omitted).
avers that the Court has both general jurisdiction and
specific jurisdiction over Ford in the District of Colorado.
(¶¶ 12–13; see generally ECF ...