Chandler v. Roy

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
Citation985 F.Supp. 1205
Docket NumberNo. CIV-97-573-PHX-ROS.,CIV-97-573-PHX-ROS.
PartiesPatricia A. CHANDLER, Roger Chandler, Plaintiffs, v. F. Hampton ROY, M.D., et al., Defendants.
Decision Date29 November 1997
985 F.Supp. 1205
Patricia A. CHANDLER, Roger Chandler, Plaintiffs,
v.
F. Hampton ROY, M.D., et al., Defendants.
No. CIV-97-573-PHX-ROS.
United States District Court, D. Arizona.
November 29, 1997.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Randall Hall Stoner, Law Offices of Robert J. Glynn, San Francisco, CA, for Patricia A. Chandler, Roger Chandler.

Tonia Peoples Jones, Friday Eldredge & Clark, Little Rock, AR, Peter G. Kline, Crawford & Kline, Tempe, AZ, for F. Hampton Roy, M.D., Arkansas Cataract Center, P.A.

Duane A. Olson, Robert H. Feinberg, Olson Jantsch Bakker & Blakey, P.A., Phoenix, AZ, for Charles Casebeer, M.D.

ORDER

SILVER, District Judge.


Pending before the Court are Defendants' Motions to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss are granted.

BACKGROUND

On March 23, 1995, Dr. F. Hampton Roy ("Roy") performed a surgical procedure, Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty ("A.L.K."), on Patricia Chandler ("Plaintiff") to correct myopic astigmatism in her left eye. (Compl. ¶ 17; Defendants Weinberg and Steinway's Mot. to Dismiss ("MTD1") at 2.) Roy performed A.L.K. on Plaintiff at the Arkansas Cataract Center, P.A. ("A.C.C."). (MTD1 at 2.) Roy used an Automated Corneal Shaper ("A.C.S.") to perform A.L.K. on Plaintiff. (Compl. ¶ 18.) In the course of the A.L.K., Plaintiff's cornea and the anterior surface of her eye lens were damaged. (Compl. ¶ 17.)

In December 1994, Roy had purchased the A.C.S. in Arkansas from Chiron Vision Corporation ("Chiron"). (MTD1 at 3.) Prior to performing A.L.K. on Plaintiff, Roy attended a two-day surgical training seminar on the proper assembly and use of the A.C.S. (Compl. ¶¶ 12-13; MTD1 at 3.) Dr. Charles Casebeer ("Casebeer") conducted the training seminar at his office in Arizona.1 (Compl. ¶ 13; MTD1 at 3, Ex. C at 27-28.)

On March 20, 1997, Patricia Chandler and Roger Chandler ("Plaintiffs") filed a Complaint against the following Defendants: (1) Roy; (2) A.C.C.; (3) Eric Weinberg ("Weinberg"); (4) Steinway Instrument Co. ("Steinway"); (5) Casebeer; (6) Hansa Research & Development, Inc.; and (7) Kerasys International. The Complaint alleges four causes of action against all Defendants: gross negligence, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, and loss of consortium. It alleges two additional causes of action against Defendants Weinberg and Steinway: negligence and strict products liability. And it alleges five additional causes of action against Defendants Roy and A.C.C.: medical malpractice, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and lack of informed consent. On May 30, 1997, Defendants Roy and A.C.C. and Defendants Weinberg and Steinway filed Motions to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2).

Plaintiffs, husband and wife, were residents of Colorado when they filed the Complaint, but were residents of Arkansas when Plaintiff's injury occurred. (Compl. ¶¶ 1-3; MTD1 at 2.) Defendant Roy, owner of the A.C.C., is an ophthalmologist and a resident of Arkansas. (Compl. ¶ 4; Roy Aff. attach. to Defs. Roy and A.C.C.'s Mot. to Dismiss ("MTD2").) Defendant A.C.C. is a professional

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association organized and existing under the laws of Arkansas, with its principal place of business in Little Rock, Arkansas. (Compl. ¶ 5; Roy Aff. at 2.)

Defendant Weinberg, the sole employee of Steinway, is a resident of California (Compl. ¶ 9; Weinberg Aff. attach. to MTD1 ¶¶ 1, 20.) He has never lived or worked in Arizona (Weinberg Aff. ¶ 1.) Defendant Steinway is a corporation with its principal place of business in San Diego, California. (Compl. ¶ 10; Weinberg Aff. ¶ 2.)

LEGAL DISCUSSION

I. MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION STANDARD

A. The Burden of Proof and Evidence Considered

1. The Legal Standard

The plaintiff has the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction. See Ziegler v. Indian River County, 64 F.3d 470, 473 (9th Cir.1995) (citing Farmers Ins. Exch. v. Portage La Prairie Mut. Ins. Co., 907 F.2d 911, 912 (9th Cir.1990)); Data Disc, Inc. v. Systems Technology Associates, 557 F.2d 1280, 1285 (9th Cir.1977) (citing KVOS, Inc. v. Associated Press, 299 U.S. 269, 278, 57 S.Ct. 197, 200, 81 L.Ed. 183 (1936)); Amba Mktg. Sys. v. Jobar Int'l, Inc., 551 F.2d 784, 787 (9th Cir.1977) (citing Taylor v. Portland Paramount Corp., 383 F.2d 634, 639 (9th Cir.1967)). A defendant may move prior to trial to dismiss a complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. See Data Disc, 557 F.2d at 1284 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2)). Because no statutory method for resolving the personal jurisdiction issue exists, the district court determines the method of its resolution. See Data Disc, 557 F.2d at 1285 (citing Gibbs v. Buck, 307 U.S. 66, 71-72, 59 S.Ct. 725, 728-29, 83 L.Ed. 1111 (1939)). A district court may allow discovery to help it determine whether it has personal jurisdiction over the defendant. See Data Disc, 557 F.2d at 1285 n. 1 (citing Wells Fargo & Co. v. Wells Fargo Express Co., 556 F.2d 406, 430 n. 24 (9th Cir.1977)). In addition, a district court may hear evidence at a preliminary hearing to determine its jurisdiction. Id. at 1285, 1285 n. 2. At such a preliminary hearing, the plaintiff must establish the jurisdictional facts by a preponderance of the evidence. Id. at 1285.

However, if the district court does not hear testimony or make findings of fact and permits the parties to submit only written materials,2 then the plaintiff must make only a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts through the submitted materials to defeat the defendant's motion to dismiss.3 See Ballard v. Savage, 65 F.3d 1495, 1498 (9th Cir.1995); Ziegler, 64 F.3d at 473; Omeluk v. Langsten Slip & Batbyggeri A/S, 52 F.3d 267, 268 (9th Cir.1995) (citing Data Disc, 557 F.2d at 1285, and Farmers, 907 F.2d at 912). Under this prima facie burden of proof, the plaintiff need only establish facts that if true would support jurisdiction over the defendant. See Ballard, 65 F.3d at 1498 (citing Data Disc, 557 F.2d at 1285); Omeluk, 52 F.3d at 268.

2. Evidence Considered on Motion

The Court has considered the following materials submitted by Plaintiffs: (1) a Complaint stating eleven causes of action; (2) an Opposition to Defendants Roy and A.C.C.'s Motion to Dismiss ("Opp'n2"); (3) the Declaration of Randall H. Stoner in Opposition to Defendants Roy and A.C.C.'s Motion to Dismiss; (4) an Opposition to Defendants Weinberg and Steinway's Motion to Dismiss; and (5) the Declaration of Randall H. Stoner in Opposition to Defendants Weinberg and Steinway's Motion to Dismiss.

Page 1210

The Court has considered the following materials submitted by Defendants Roy and A.C.C.: (1) Roy and A.C.C.'s Motion to Dismiss; (2) Roy's affidavit (attach. to MTD2); (3) Roy's deposition testimony (Id., at 1, 26-29, 31, 142); (4) Roy and A.C.C.'s Reply in support of their Motion to Dismiss ("Reply2"). In addition, the Court has considered the following materials submitted by Defendants Weinberg and Steinway: (1) Weinberg and Steinway's Motion to Dismiss; (2) the affidavit of the custodian of records for the Chiron Vision Corporation (MTD1 Ex. A); (3) the deposition testimony of Defendant Roy (MTD1 Ex. C, pp. 1-6, 19-30; Replyl Ex. B, at 73-78); (4) Weinberg's affidavit (MTD1 Ex. D); and (5) Weinberg and Steinway's Reply in support of their Motion to Dismiss.

Because the Court has permitted the parties to submit only written materials, Plaintiffs must make only a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts through their submitted materials to defeat Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. See Omeluk, 52 F.3d at 267. Under this prima facie burden of proof, Plaintiffs need only establish facts that if true would support jurisdiction over Defendants. See id. at 268; Ballard, 65 F.3d at 1498.

B. Substantive Personal Jurisdiction

Arizona's long-arm statute applies to this case because no applicable federal statute governing personal jurisdiction exists. See Terracom v. Valley Nat'l Bank, 49 F.3d 555, 559 (9th Cir.1995) (citing Core-Vent Corp. v. Nobel Industries AB, 11 F.3d 1482, 1484 (9th Cir.1993)); Amba Mktg. Sys., Inc. v. Jobar Int'l, Inc., 551 F.2d 784, 787 (9th Cir.1977) (citing Cook v. Fox, 537 F.2d 370 (9th Cir. 1976)). Arizona's long-arm statute provides for personal jurisdiction to the extent permitted by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. Ariz. R. Civ. P. 4.2(a);4 see Doe v. American Nat'l Red Cross, 112 F.3d 1048, 1050 (9th Cir.1997).

Absent traditional bases for personal jurisdiction (physical presence, domicile or consent) the Due Process Clause requires that nonresident defendants have certain minimum contacts with the forum state such that the exercise of personal jurisdiction does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. See International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S.Ct. 154, 158, 90 L.Ed. 95 (1945); Doe, 112 F.3d at 1050; Data Disc, Inc. v. Systems Technology Associates, Inc., 557 F.2d 1280, 1287 (9th Cir.1977). The Due Process Clause protects a defendant's "liberty interest in not being subject to the binding judgments of a forum with which he has established no meaningful `contacts, ties or relations.'" Omeluk v. Langsten Slip & Batbyggeri A/S, 52 F.3d 267, 269-70 (9th Cir.1995) (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 471-72, 105 S.Ct. 2174, 2181-82, 85 L.Ed.2d 528 (1985)). "By requiring that individuals have `fair warning that a particular activity may subject [them] to the jurisdiction of a foreign sovereign,' the Due Process Clause gives a degree of predictability to the legal system that allows potential defendants to structure their primary conduct with some minimum assurance as to where that conduct will and will not render them liable to suit.'" Id. at 270 (quoting Burger King, 471 U.S. at 472, 105 S.Ct. at 2182...

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