United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Sagamore Council, Boy
Scouts of America's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of
Personal Jurisdiction, filed on January 30, 2017. Doc.
7. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P.
73(b), the parties have consented to me serving as the
presiding judge and entering final judgment. See Docs.
5, 8. Having heard oral argument on this matter
(see Doc. 33) and having considered the record,
submissions of counsel, and relevant law, the Court finds
that it would violate due process to exercise jurisdiction
over Defendant Sagamore Council in this forum. Therefore,
Defendant's motion is well-taken and will be granted.
(Plaintiff) is an adult male who resides in the state of
Oregon. Doc. 1-1 (Compl.) ¶ 1. At all
times relevant to the events in the Complaint, Plaintiff was
an unemancipated minor resident of the state of Indiana.
Id. ¶ 2; see also Doc. 18 at 1.
Defendant Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is a
congressionally-chartered not-for-profit corporation
registered with the New Mexico Secretary of State.
Compl. ¶ 3. BSA's principal place of
business in New Mexico is listed as the Philmont Scout Ranch
(Philmont) in Cimarron, New Mexico. Id. Defendant
Sagamore Council, Boy Scouts of America (Sagamore) is a
not-for-profit corporation organized under the laws of
Indiana with its principal place of business in Kokomo,
Indiana. Id. ¶ 4.
issues charters to smaller “non-profit organizations
known as Local Councils.” Doc. 7-1 ¶
While BSA issues charters and provides Scouting materials to
Local Councils, those Local Councils are separate
organizations from the BSA with their own board of directors
and financial statements. See Id. ¶ 14. Local
Councils, such as Sagamore, then support other, smaller,
local groups that wish to establish “Chartered
Organizations” through BSA. See Id.
¶¶ 6-7; see also Doc. 7 at 3.
Organizations organize and operate individual Scouting units.
See Doc. 7-1 ¶ 7. The Chartered Organizations
are responsible for selecting adult leaders and meeting
facilities and for providing a representative who will
coordinate the Scouting activities within the organization.
Id. ¶ 8. Chartered Organizations must also
“appoint a local troop committee comprised of adult
volunteers who are responsible for selecting and supervising
the Scoutmaster and other troop volunteers.”
Id. ¶ 10. Chartered Organizations submit the
names of potential volunteers to Local Councils. Id.
¶ 11. Local Councils, like Sagamore, cross-reference
potential volunteers' names against a list of names of
people who have applied to volunteer with the BSA but were
rejected. See Mot. Hr'g Tr. at 13:6-13.
Sagamore also conducts criminal background checks on all
potential volunteers the troop committees select.
Id. ¶ 15. All volunteers must be registered
with the BSA. Id. ¶ 11.
Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster of each troop plan,
organize, and supervise troop activities. See Id.
¶ 12. “The selection of activities varies by
troop, based on factors such as the scouts' interests;
the volunteers' time, abilities, and willingness; and
parents' approval, among other things.”
Id. ¶ 13.
neither controls, nor “has the right to control, the
Chartered Organizations or the activities of the local troops
so long as they are consistent with BSA's program.”
Id. Sagamore, however, does help facilitate one
scouting activity for some of the troops in its region:
“[a]lmost annually, Sagamore Council organizes a
Council Contingent, which is a group of youth from different
units in Sagamore Council's region who desire to attend
Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.” Id.
¶ 31. The Council Contingent allows youth from smaller
units to combine in order to go to Philmont. Id.
Sagamore helps facilitate the Contingent's trip by
collecting funds and transmitting those funds to Philmont.
Id. Sagamore does not make any other arrangements
for the Council Contingent. Id.
1974-1977, when Plaintiff was approximately 10-14 years old,
he was a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 512.
Compl. ¶¶ 8, 15; Doc. 18 at 1.
Troop 512 was a Scouting unit organized by Beamer United
Methodist Church (the Chartered Organization) in Kokomo,
Indiana. Compl. ¶ 8; Doc. 18 at 1.
Troop 512 and its Chartered Organization were part of
Sagamore Council. See Doc. 18 at 1. Randall Shafer
was a Scout Leader for Troop 512. Compl. ¶ 8.
Complaint alleges that in his capacity as Scout Leader,
Shafer sexually abused Plaintiff on multiple occasions during
that three-year period. Id. ¶ 15. “The
sexual abuse occurred during Scouting-related meetings,
events and outings.” Id. “Among other
locations, Shafer sexually abused Plaintiff in Arizona;
Colorado; Indiana; Illinois; Michigan; Ohio; Utah; and New
Mexico.” Id. During the summer of 1976, Shafer
took Troop 512 (including Plaintiff) on a month-long camping
trip to several locations throughout the Southwest, including
a week-long stop at Philmont in New Mexico. Id.
¶ 16. Plaintiff does not allege that the trip through
the Southwest or the stop at Philmont was organized as a
“Council Contingent.” See Compl. Shafer
allegedly abused Plaintiff at least six times while at
Philmont. Id. ¶ 16. Plaintiff alleges injuries
and damages from the abuse, but he also maintains that he did
not remember the abuse until sometime after January 2014.
Id. ¶¶ 22-24.
as here, the Court holds an evidentiary hearing on the issue
of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff carries the burden to
“establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that
personal jurisdiction exists.” Dudnikov v. Chalk
& Vermilion Fine Arts, Inc., 514 F.3d 1063, 1070 n.4
(10th Cir. 2008) (citing Dennis Garberg & Assoc.,
Inc. v. Pack-Tech Int'l Corp., 115 F.3d 767, 773
(10th Cir. 1997) (internal citation omitted)).
New Mexico court may only exercise personal jurisdiction over
a non-resident defendant if three conditions are
satisfied.” McManemy v. Roman Catholic Church of
Diocese of Worcester, 2 F.Supp.3d 1188, 1198 (D.N.M.
2013) (citing Salas v. Homestake Enter., Inc., 742
P.2d 1049, 1050 (N.M. 1987) (internal citation omitted)).
“First, the defendant must have engaged in one of the
acts enumerated in New Mexico's jurisdictional long-arm
statute.” Id. (citing N.M. Stat. Ann. §
38-1-16 (1978)). “Under the long-arm statute, a person
submits himself to personal jurisdiction in New Mexico if he
transacts any business in the state, or if he commits a
tortious act within the state.” Id. (citing
N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-1-16). “Second, the
plaintiff's cause of action must arise from one of those
acts.” Id. (citing Salas, 742 P.2d at
1050). “Finally, the defendant must have minimum
contacts with New Mexico sufficient to satisfy constitutional
Due Process.” Id. (citing Salas, 742
P.2d at 1050).
Mexico courts have repeatedly equated the first and third
conditions.” Id. “Because New
Mexico's long arm statute extends the jurisdiction of New
Mexico courts as far as constitutionally permissible, the
inquiry into whether specific conduct falls under the statute
becomes subsumed by the constitutional Due Process
inquiry.” Id. at 1198-99. “The question
of personal jurisdiction over out-of-state residents involves
more than a technical ‘transaction of any business'
or the technical ‘commission of a tortious act'
within New Mexico. The meaning of those terms, in our
statute, is to be equated with the minimum contacts
sufficient to satisfy Due Process.” Id. at
1199 (quoting Tarango v. Pastrana, 616 P.2d 440, 441
(N.M. Ct. App. 1980) (internal citation omitted)). “To
satisfy Due Process requirements, the defendant must have (1)
sufficient minimum contacts with the forum state (2) such
that the maintenance of the suit does not offend
‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.'” Id. (quoting Int'l Shoe
Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (internal
satisfy the minimum contacts prong of the Due Process
inquiry, Plaintiff must establish that the Court may exercise
either general or specific jurisdiction over Sagamore.
See Id. (citing Helicopteros Nacionales de
Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 (1984)). Only
the exercise of specific jurisdiction is at issue in this
establish specific jurisdiction, the plaintiff must show that
the defendant ‘purposefully directed' [its]
activities at residents of the forum, and that the
plaintiff's injuries ‘arise out of or relate
to' those activities.” Id. (quoting
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472
(1985) (internal quotation omitted)). “A defendant
‘purposefully directs' activities in a forum where
the defendant makes (a) an intentional action that was (b)
expressly aimed at the forum state (c) with knowledge that
the brunt of the injury would be felt in the forum.”
Id. (citing Shrader v. Biddinger, 633 F.3d
1235, 1239-40 (10th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation omitted)).
“This ensures that an out-of-state defendant is not
bound to appear in the forum to account for merely
‘random, fortuitous, or attenuated contacts' with
the forum.” Id. (quoting Burger King
Corp., 471 U.S. at 475 (alterations in original,
internal citations omitted)).
Plaintiff establishes minimum contacts, the Court must then
turn to the second prong of the Due Process inquiry and
“determine whether exercising personal jurisdiction
would offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.'” AST Sports
Sci., Inc. v. CLF Distribution Ltd., 514 F.3d 1054, 1061
(10th Cir. 2008) (quoting Asahi Metal Indus. Co. v.
Superior Court of Cal., Solano Cty., 480 U.S. 102, 113
(1987) (internal quotations omitted)). Courts examine several
factors to determine whether jurisdiction is unreasonable,
(1) the burden on the defendant, (2) the forum state's
interests in resolving the dispute, (3) the plaintiff's
interest in receiving convenient and effectual relief, (4)
the interstate judicial system's interest in obtaining
the most efficient resolution of controversies, and (5) the
shared interest of the several states [or foreign nations] in
furthering fundamental social policies.
Dudnikov, 514 F.3d at 1080 (quotation and citations
raises two theories in his attempt to establish personal
jurisdiction over Sagamore Council. First, Plaintiff argues
that Sagamore purposefully availed itself of this forum by
organizing the Council Contingent to attend Philmont and by
collecting and transferring the Council Contingent's
funds to Philmont. Doc. 18 at 6-7. This purposeful
direction, argues Plaintiff, is sufficient to establish
minimum contacts with New Mexico and subject Sagamore to
jurisdiction here. See Id. Second, Plaintiff
contends that Shafer acted as Sagamore's agent, and thus
Sagamore is vicariously liable for Shafer's tortious
conduct in New Mexico. Id. at 7-8.
brings four counts against both BSA and Sagamore: (1)
Negligence/ Respondeat Superior; (2) Premises Liability; (3)
Sexual Battery of a Child/Respondeat Superior; and (4)
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress/Respondeat
Superior. Compl. ¶¶ 25-65. Because
“[p]ersonal jurisdiction is a ‘claim-specific
inquiry[, ] . . . the Court must analyze each claim to
determine whether the requirements for personal jurisdiction
are satisfied.” Ski Racing Inc. v. Johnson,
No. 09-CV-1181 MCA/LAM, ...