1 F.3d 848 (9th Cir. 1993), 91-35978, Amoco Egypt Oil Co. v. Leonis Nav. Co., Inc.

Docket Nº:91-35978.
Citation:1 F.3d 848
Party Name:AMOCO EGYPT OIL COMPANY; Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. LEONIS NAVIGATION COMPANY, INC., Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:July 28, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 848

1 F.3d 848 (9th Cir. 1993)

AMOCO EGYPT OIL COMPANY; Egyptian General Petroleum

Corporation, Plaintiffs-Appellants,



No. 91-35978.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

July 28, 1993

Argued and Submitted April 5, 1993.

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Louis P. Sheinbaum, Waesche, Sheinbaum & O'Regan, New York City, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Graydon S. Staring, Lillick & Charles, San Francisco, CA, for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Before: BOOCHEVER, THOMPSON, and KLEINFELD, Circuit Judges.

BOOCHEVER, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal from the district court's dismissal of an action against a foreign corporation for lack of personal jurisdiction. We affirm.


The Panay Sampaguita, a ship sailing from Singapore to France, collided with an oil platform in Egyptian waters. The ship was owned by a Panamanian corporation and bareboat chartered 1 by Leonis Navigation ("Leonis"), a Philippine corporation with its headquarters in Manila. The platform was jointly owned by Amoco Egypt Oil Company, a Delaware corporation with its principal offices in Egypt, and Egyptian General Petroleum

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Corporation ("EGPC"), an instrumentality of the Egyptian government charged with exploitation of its oil resources. Amoco Egypt and EGPC (together, "Amoco") filed suit against Leonis for $250,000,000 in damages in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Leonis' contacts with Washington derive from its bareboat chartering of the Panay Sampaguita and three other vessels. Leonis subchartered all four vessels to Leo Maritime Co., Ltd., which further subchartered one of the vessels, the Luzon Sampaguita, to Navix Line, Ltd. ("Navix"). At the direction of time charterer Navix, the Luzon sailed exclusively between Tacoma and Japan carrying Washington logs, making seven round trips between the date of Leonis' charter and the date the complaint was filed. The Panay and the two other vessels also called on Washington ports during the same period, but on a more random and infrequent basis.

Incident to its boat chartering, Leonis had some additional contacts with Washington. The bills of lading to which Leonis was a party were executed by Washington businesses and provided that disputes would be decided under United States law. Leonis paid the Luzon's crew with U.S. dollars that were purchased in Washington. An agent of Navix purchased supplies and services for Leonis crew members while the Luzon was in Washington. Leonis also obtained a certificate of financial responsibility for environmental claims from the United States Coast Guard in Washington, D.C., a requirement for any vessel entering United States waters.

The district court dismissed Amoco's complaint, ruling that because Leonis was not licensed to do business, had no offices or property, based no employees, sold no products, did not advertise, and had no shareholders in the State of Washington, the court could not exercise general jurisdiction over Leonis. See Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 411, 418-19, 104 S.Ct. 1868, 1870-71, 1874, 80 L.Ed.2d 404 (1984). Amoco timely appealed, claiming that Leonis' contacts were both purposeful and substantial enough to allow the district court to exercise jurisdiction over the claim.


Because Amoco's factual assertions are essentially uncontroverted, we review the district court's ruling on personal jurisdiction de novo. Shute v. Carnival Cruise Lines, 897 F.2d 377, 380 (9th Cir.1990), rev'd on other grounds, 499 U.S. 585, 111 S.Ct. 1522, 113 L.Ed.2d 622 (1991). Where, as here, the district court bases its jurisdictional ruling on affidavits and discovery materials without holding an evidentiary hearing, dismissal is appropriate only if the plaintiff has failed to make a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction. Fields v. Sedgwick Associated Risks, Ltd., 796 F.2d 299, 301 (9th Cir.1986); Data Disc, Inc. v. Systems Tech. Assocs., Inc., 557 F.2d 1280, 1285 (9th Cir.1977).


To establish jurisdiction, Amoco must show that Washington's jurisdictional statute confers jurisdiction over Leonis and that the exercise of jurisdiction accords with federal constitutional principles of due process. Shute, 897 F.2d at 380; Haisten v. Grass Valley Med. Reimbursement Fund, Ltd., 784 F.2d 1392, 1396 (9th Cir.1986). Because Amoco's claim against Leonis did not arise out of, and is unrelated to, Leonis' contacts with Washington, Amoco concedes that the district court may only hear the claim if Washington can exercise "general jurisdiction" over Leonis. See Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 414 n. 9, 104 S.Ct. at 1872 n. 9.

  1. Washington's Jurisdictional Statute

    The district court dismissed concerns with Washington law by stating that Washington's long-arm statute, Wash.Rev.Code Sec. 4.28.185, is coextensive with constitutional standards. See Shute, 897 F.2d at 380. Section 4.28.185, however, deals only with specific jurisdiction. General jurisdiction is authorized by Sec. 4.28.080(10), which provides for service of summons on a foreign corporation "doing business" in Washington. Washington courts have interpreted this section as conferring general jurisdiction over nonresident defendants who conduct "substantial" and "continuous" business in the state "of such a character as to give rise to a legal

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    obligation." Crose v. Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft, 88 Wash.2d 50, 558 P.2d 764, 766-67 (1977) (en banc); see Hein v. Taco Bell, Inc., 60 Wash.App. 325, 803 P.2d 329, 331 (1991). Although the Washington Supreme Court has never explicitly so stated, courts of appeal have consistently held that the "doing business" and due process inquiries are the same. See MBM Fisheries, Inc. v. Bollinger Mach. Shop & Shipyard, Inc., 60 Wash.App. 414, 804 P.2d 627, 630-31 (1991); Hein, 803 P.2d at 332. Thus " 'the statutory and constitutional standards merge into a single due process test,' " Shute, 897 F.2d at 380 (quoting Pedersen Fisheries, Inc. v. Patti Indus., 563 F.Supp. 72, 74 (W.D.Wash.1983)), and we turn to the question of whether general jurisdiction over Leonis comports with due process requirements.

  2. Due Process

    "Due process requirements are satisfied when in personam jurisdiction is asserted over a nonresident corporate defendant that has 'certain minimum contacts with [the forum] such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." ' " Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 414, 104 S.Ct. at 1872 (quoting International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S.Ct. 154, 158, 90 L.Ed. 95 (1945)). The Supreme Court has bifurcated this due process determination into two inquiries, requiring, first, that the defendant have the requisite contacts with the forum state to render it subject to the forum's jurisdiction, and second, that the assertion of jurisdiction be reasonable. See Asahi Metal Indus. Co. v. Superior Court, 480 U.S. 102, 107 S.Ct. 1026, 94 L.Ed.2d 92 (1987) (majority agreeing on dismissal because assertion of jurisdiction was unreasonable, but disagreeing on whether minimum contacts existed). 2 Because we conclude that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over Leonis would be unreasonable, we need not address the issue of contacts. 3 See FDIC v. British-American Ins. Co., Ltd., 828 F.2d 1439, 1442 (9th Cir.1987); Fields, 796 F.2d at 302.

    We have listed the following factors to be balanced in determining reasonableness in a specific jurisdiction context:

    the extent of purposeful interjection, the burden on the defendant to defend the suit in the chosen forum, the extent of conflict with the sovereignty of the defendant's state, the forum state's interest in the dispute; the most efficient forum for judicial...

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