GABRIEL ARTURO RASCON RODRIGUEZ, RAYITO DEL CARMEN GUTIERREZ DE RASCON; JAVIER ORTIZ TARANGO, deceased; LEE HUNT, representative of the estate of JAVIER ORTIZ TARANGO; BERTA EBILA RAMIREZ; LORENZA SUSANA ORTIZ; MARITZA BERENICE ORTIZ RAMIREZ; CARMEN TARANGO CASTRO; CRISTIAN ANTONIO ROMERO GARCIA, deceased; LEE HUNT, representative of the estate of CRISTIAN ANTONIO ROMERO GARCIA; ROBERTO ROMERO and HILDA TELLEZ, next friend of C.D.R., a minor, and C.D.R., a minor; ROBERTO ROMERO, individually; LAURO CRUZ, deceased; LEE HUNT, representative of the estate of LAURO CRUZ; ORALIA NAJERA; MARIA CONCEPTION CRUZ NAJERA, individually and as next friend of L.M.A.C., a minor; CARLOS CRUZ; OLGALIDIA CRUZ; EUFEMIO CRUZ; MIGUEL CRUZ; PERLA ALEJANDRA CRUZ; MAYRA PAMELA CRUZ; MARIA ESTHER CRUZ; AGUSTINA CRUZ; JAVIER ACOSTA RAMIREZ; BERENICE ACOSTA; JOSE JAVIER ACOSTA; JAVIER ACOSTA; ADRIAN RAMOS, individually and as next friend of R.A.R.R., a minor, A.R.R., a minor, Y.A.R.R., a minor, and A.R.R., a minor; YADIRA RUVALCABA DE RAMOS; LUIS CANSECO VAZQUEZ, individually and as next friend of G.C., a minor, and S.A.C., a minor; GUADALUPE LOPEZ; JULIA CANSECO; LUIS CANSECO; LUIS RAUL ORTEGA GABALDON; JESUS ALEJANDRO JIMENEZ ORTEGA; and ERNESTO VARGAS LOPEZ, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, and COOPER TIRE AND RUBBER COMPANY, Defendants-Appellants, and FERNANDO GAYTAN BUSTOS, Defendant-Appellee, and FERNANDO GAYTAN BUSTOS, Cross-Plaintiff/Appellee,
FORD MOTOR COMPANY and COOPER TIRE AND RUBBER COMPANY, Cross-Defendants/Appellants.
FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF SANTA FE COUNTY Francis J. Mathew,
Jaramillo Touchet LLC David J. Jaramillo Albuquerque, NM
Touchet Law Firm, PC Maria E. Touchet Albuquerque, NM The
Edwards Law Firm John B. Gsanger Gary Scott Marshall Corpus
Christi, TX for Appellees Gabriel Rascon Rodriguez, et al.
Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A. Jeffrey M. Croasdell
Todd E. Rinner Albuquerque, NM Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP Sean
Marotta Washington, D.C. for Appellant Ford Motor Company.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP Eric R. Burris
Albuquerque, NM Norton Rose Fulbright U.S. LLP Troy L. Vancil
San Antonio, TX for Appellant Cooper Tire and Rubber Company.
Offices of James B. Ragan James B. Ragan Corpus Christi, TX
for Appellee Fernando Gaytan Bustos.
Plaintiffs sued Ford Motor Company and Cooper Tire and Rubber
Company (collectively, Defendants) for injuries sustained
when their vehicle rolled over while they were traveling
through New Mexico. Defendants each filed motions to dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction, which the district court
denied. We granted Defendants' applications for
interlocutory appeal and consolidated both appeals.
Concluding that New Mexico has specific personal jurisdiction
over Defendants, we affirm the district court.
In August 2012, Plaintiffs, all Mexican nationals, were
passengers in a 1993 Ford E-350 Super Club Wagon that was en
route to Colorado from Mexico. While traveling on U.S.
Highway 54 in Guadalupe County, New Mexico, "the tread
peeled off the right rear tire on the vehicle." The
vehicle left the road and rolled three times. Two of the
occupants, Javier Ortiz Tarango and Cristian Antonio Romero,
were fatally ejected from the vehicle, while occupant Lauro
Cruz was rendered quadriplegic and eventually died from his
injuries. Occupants Gabriel Arturo Rascon Rodriguez, Javier
Acosta Ramirez, Adrian Ramos, Luis Canseco, Luis Raul Ortega
Gabaldon, Jesus Alejandro Jimenez Ortega, and Ernesto Vargas
Lopez all sustained injuries as a result of the crash.
In August 2015, Plaintiffs filed a wrongful death and
personal injury complaint against Defendants as well as
against Fernando Gaytan Bustos who installed the tire on the
van in 2012. Shortly after the complaint was filed,
Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction. They argued that because the van and tire were
not purchased in New Mexico, New Mexico had no personal
jurisdiction over them. In particular, Ford argued that the
Ford E-350 was not designed in New Mexico, was manufactured
in Ohio, was sold first by an independent dealer located in
Kentucky, and "was not serviced by any Ford independent
dealer located in the State of New Mexico[.]" Moreover,
at the time of the accident, the van was licensed in Mexico,
and was being driven by a citizen of Mexico. Cooper argued
that the tire was not designed in New Mexico and was
manufactured in Cooper's Texarkana, Arkansas plant. In
addition, the tire was purchased in Oklahoma, and installed
on the van by Fernando Gaytan Bustos in Mexico.
In response, Plaintiffs provided evidence of Defendants'
New Mexico contacts, which we summarize in the following
paragraphs. Ford has fourteen official Ford dealerships in
New Mexico. Ford also engages in marketing targeted at New
Mexico consumers, including Ford sponsorship of New Mexico
events such as the 2013 professional bull riding
championship. Ford maintains an interactive website that
allows New Mexico consumers to obtain a quote for a Ford
vehicle, search inventory of Ford vehicles in stock in New
Mexico, apply for credit to purchase vehicles in New Mexico,
configure a Ford vehicle, and obtain a purchase price. Ford
has "in-forum advertising and defense and indemnity
contracts with its dealerships, " and Ford has been a
frequent party in New Mexico litigation.
has sixty-two official Cooper tire dealers in New Mexico, and
Cooper personnel travel to Cooper tire dealers "to
assess the in-field performance of its tires[.]" Cooper
maintains a website with an interactive tire service bulletin
page providing information to New Mexico consumers about
services available through Cooper dealers. Cooper's
advertising targets New Mexico consumers, including via
sponsorship of professional bull riding events in
Albuquerque, New Mexico. Cooper has appeared as a litigant in
New Mexico courts.
After a hearing on Defendants' motions to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction, the district court entered an
order denying the motions but noted that the decision
"involves a controlling question of law as to which
there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and an
immediate appeal from this order may materially advance the
ultimate termination of the ...