United States District Court, D. Colorado
NICOLE PEREZ and KENNETH DURAN, for themselves and their minor daughter ISABELLA DURAN, Plaintiffs,
FCA USA LLC, aka FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.
D. Domenico, United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss Pursuant
to Rule 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6) filed by Defendant FCA USA LLC
(“FCA”). (Doc. 10.) Among other things, the
motion contends that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction
over FCA and that this case must therefore be dismissed under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). For the reasons set forth below, the
case arises from a tragic accident in which Plaintiff
Isabella Du-ran, who was three years old at the time, was
asphyxiated by the power window of her grandmother's 2005
Chrysler Town & Country Minivan. Isabella suffered brain
damage and was rendered quadriplegic. Plaintiffs bring this
action against FCA and Does 1 - 100 for strict liability,
strict liability - misrepresentation, negligence, breach of
express and implied warranties, violation of the Colorado
Consumer Protection Act, and infliction of emotional
the accident occurred in Colorado, it is undisputed that the
minivan was not designed, manufactured, or originally sold in
Colorado, and neither FCA nor its predecessor has ever had any
vehicle manufacturing in Colorado. The minivan was initially
sold to Forest Lake Chrysler in Minnesota on February 10,
2005, and was then shipped on the same day to National
Rent-a-Car in Indianapolis. Six months later, the minivan was
sold to a dealership in Grand Rapids, Michigan without the
involvement of FCA or its predecessor. Later in 2005, the
minivan was purchased by an individual with no relation to
this lawsuit. The record is murky as to the minivan's
whereabouts after 2005, but there is no dispute that
eventually the minivan was purchased by Isabella's
grandmother in Colorado in 2014, again without the
involvement of FCA.
Complaint alleges, and this Court accepts as true for present
purposes, that “at all times relevant to this action,
[FCA] engaged in the use, sale, labeling, marketing,
promotion, servicing, and/or distribution of motor vehicles
and/or vehicle parts in Colorado.” (Doc. 20 at 3.) FCA
has at least 24 affiliated dealers in Colorado, markets
heavily in Colorado, and sells thousands of vehicles in
Colorado. FCA also has partnered with the Lincoln College of
Technology Denver Campus to train more technicians and
mechanics to supply its Colorado dealers with staff trained
to fix Chrysler vehicles, including the type of vehicle at
issue in this case.
Standard of Review
defendant raises a timely challenge contesting personal
jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing
that there is personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
Overton v. United States, 925 F.2d 1282, 1283 (10th
Cir. 1991). In order to defeat a motion premised on the basis
of affidavits and other written materials, the plaintiff need
only make a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction.
OMI Holdings, Inc. v. Royal Ins. Co. of Canada, 149
F.3d 1086, 1091 (10th Cir. 1998). A prima facie showing is
made where the plaintiff has demonstrated facts that, if
true, would support jurisdiction over the defendant.
establish that the Court has personal jurisdiction over FCA,
Plaintiffs must show that jurisdiction is “legitimate
under the laws of the forum state and that the exercise of
jurisdiction does not offend the due process clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment.” Employers Mut. Cas. Co. v.
Bartile Roofs, Inc., 618 F.3d 1153, 1159 (10th Cir.
2010). Colorado's long-arm statute confers maximum
jurisdiction consistent with due process, so “the
inquiry becomes whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction
over the defendant comports with constitutional due process
demands.” Electronic Payment Sys. v. Electronic
Payment Solutions of Am., 14-cv-02624-WYD-MEH, 2015 WL
5444278, at *3 (D. Colo. Sept. 16, 2015).
order to exercise personal jurisdiction, the out-of-state
defendant must have “minimum contacts” with the
forum state such that the exercise of jurisdiction does not
“offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.” International Shoe v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 323 (1945). The minimum
contacts standard may be met by establishing general
jurisdiction or specific jurisdiction. General jurisdiction
requires the defendant's contacts with the forum state to
be continuous and systematic. Plaintiffs in this case do not
argue that general jurisdiction over FCA exists in Colorado.
See Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 128 (2014)
(“Since International Shoe, specific
jurisdiction has become the centerpiece of modern
jurisdiction theory, while general jurisdiction [has played]
a reduced role.” (internal quotations omitted)).
instead argue that the facts establish the minimum contacts
required for specific jurisdiction. The relevant test for
specific jurisdiction encompasses two requirements: (i) that
the defendant must have purposefully directed its activities
at residents of the forum state, and (ii) that the
plaintiff's injuries must arise out of or relate to the
defendant's forum-related activities. E.g., Old
Republic Ins. Co. v. Continental Motors, 877 F.3d 895,
904 (10th Cir. 2017); In re Application to Enforce Admin.
Subpoenas Duces Tecum of S.E.C. v. Knowles, 87 F.3d 413,
418 (10th Cir. 1996). Both requirements must be met.
Kuenzle v. HTM Sport-Und Freizeitgerate AG, 102 F.3d
453, 456 (10th Cir. 1996).
argument focuses on the second. It argues that
Plaintiff's claims do not arise out of or relate to
FCA's activities in the State of Colorado. In order for a
court to exercise specific jurisdiction over a claim, there
must be a connection between the claim and the
defendant's activity in the forum State. See
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Super. Ct. of Cal., 137
S.Ct. 1773, 1781 (2017) (quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires
Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011))).
“When there is no such connection, specific
jurisdiction is lacking regardless of the extent of a
defendant's unconnected activities in the State.”
Id. Thus, ...