United States District Court, D. New Mexico
D. MARIA SCHMIDT, as the Personal Representative of the Wrongful Death Estate of RUBEN GUERRA QUINONES, Deceased, Plaintiff,
NAVISTAR, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Navistar,
Inc.'s (Navistar) Amended Rule 12(b)(2) Motion to Dismiss
for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, filed April 5, 2018. (Doc.
3). Plaintiff D. Maria Schmidt, as the Personal
Representative of the Wrongful Death Estate of Ruben Guerra
Quinones, Deceased (Schmidt), filed her Response on May 7,
2018, opposing the Motion, and, in the alternative, seeking
limited jurisdictional discovery. (Doc. 17). Navistar filed
its Reply on June 4, 2018. (Doc. 20). Schmidt subsequently
filed two notices of supplemental authority, on August 7,
2018, and January 11, 2019, respectively. (Docs. 22, 23).
Having considered the briefing, the record, and the
applicable law, the Court denies Navistar's Amended Rule
12(b)(2) Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction
Background and Procedural History
lawsuit arises from the March 25, 2015, single-vehicle
rollover and subsequent death of Ruben Guerra Quinones
(Guerra), who was driving a 2009 International 9200i,
“designed, ” “manufactured, ”
“assembled and tested” by Navistar. (Doc. 4) at
¶¶ 6-10. Guerra is survived by his adult daughter,
Ylzay Guerra Caballero (Cabellero), and two other children.
(Doc. 17) at 7.
registered to do business in the State of New Mexico and
received authority to do business in New Mexico on January
24, 1966. (Doc. 17-11) (Navistar corporate information from
the New Mexico Secretary of State). Navistar appears to have
had a manufacturing or assembly plant in New Mexico at some
point but has not had such a plant in New Mexico since before
2005. (Doc. 3) at 27 (Affidavit of Roy Zeitlow at ¶ 10).
filed a complaint against Navistar and Guerra's employer,
Black River Trucking and Hotshop Services, LLC, on June 27,
2017, in the Fifth Judicial District Court for the State of
New Mexico. (Doc. 3) at 29. Navistar filed a motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, to which Caballero
ultimately withdrew her objection. Id. at 41. The
stipulated order dismissing the Caballero case, filed
November 9, 2017, states that Navistar “shall be
dismissed from this matter for lack of personal jurisdiction.
This dismissal is without prejudice to [Caballero's]
ability to refile claims against Navistar, Inc. in a forum
outside of New Mexico that has personal jurisdiction over
Navistar, Inc. and according to the rules and laws of that
who was appointed as the Personal Representative of
Guerra's wrongful death estate on February 23, 2018,
filed this lawsuit pursuant to the WDA on February 28, 2018,
in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Id. Schmidt contends that Guerra suffered fatal
injuries during the crash because the vehicle “violated
several crashworthiness principles and . . . failed to
protect him.” Id. at ¶ 12. She brings the
following claims against Navistar: Count 1, Strict Products
Liability; Count 3, Negligence, and Count 4, Breach of
Implied Warranty of Merchantability. See Id. Schmidt
styles her claims for wrongful death damages and punitive
damages as separate “counts.” Id.
Schmidt adequately served Navistar's registered agent in
New Mexico. (Doc. 4) at 19-20 (return of service). Although
there is substantial overlap between Schmidt's complaint
and Caballero's complaint, including content and counsel,
Caballero asserted in her lawsuit claims for her own pain and
suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of
consortium. (Doc. 3) at 38. Caballero did not assert claims
on behalf of Guerra or his estate, or on behalf of any other
beneficiaries under the New Mexico Wrongful Death Act (WDA),
NMSA 1978 § 41-2-1 et seq.
removed the case to federal court on April 5, 2018, asserting
diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
(Doc. 1). Schmidt resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Doc. 4)
at ¶ 1. Navistar is a Delaware corporation with its
principal place of business in Illinois. (Doc. 1) at ¶
3. Navistar appropriately asserts that the amount in
controversy reasonably exceeds the jurisdictional threshold
of $75, 000.00. Id. at 2.
now moves to dismiss the case based on issue preclusion
because Caballero stipulated that there is no personal
jurisdiction over Navistar in New Mexico and, alternatively,
on lack of personal jurisdiction. (Doc. 3).
preclusive effect of a judgment is defined by claim
preclusion and issue preclusion, which are collectively
referred to as ‘res judicata.'” Taylor v.
Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 892 (2008). Claim preclusion
means that “a final judgment forecloses
‘successive litigation of the very same claim, whether
or not the relitigation of the claim raises the same issues
as the earlier suit.'” Id. (quoting
New Hampshire v. Maine, 432 U.S. 742, 748 (2001)).
Issue preclusion bars “‘successive litigation of
an issue of fact or law actually litigated and resolved in a
valid court determination essential to the prior
judgment,' even if the issue recurs in the context of a
different claim.” Id. (quoting New
Hampshire, 432 U.S. at 748-49). By “preclud[ing]
parties from contesting matters that they have had a full and
fair opportunity to litigate, ” these preclusion
doctrines protect against “the expense and vexation
attending multiple lawsuits, conserv[e] judicial resources,
and foste[r] reliance on judicial action by minimizing the
possibility of inconsistent decisions.” Montana v.
United States, 440 U.S. 147, 153-54 (1979).
the case of a judgment entered by confession, consent, or
default, none of the issues is actually litigated [and
subject to preclusion]. Therefore, the rule of this Section
[describing issue preclusion's domain] does not apply
with respect to any issue in a subsequent action.”
Arizona v. California, 530 U.S. 392, 414 (2000)
(alterations in original) (quoting Restatement (Second)
of Judgments § 27, comment e, at 257).
Courts recognize that “[a] judgment entered with the
consent of the parties may involve a determination of
questions of fact and law by the court.” Id.
at 415 (quoting United States v. International Building
Co., 345 U.S. 502, 505-06 (1953)). “But unless a
showing is made that that was the case, the judgment has no
greater dignity, so far as [issue preclusion] is concerned,
than any judgment entered only as a compromise of the
parties.” Id. at 415-16 (quoting
International Building Co., 345 U.S. at 505-06).
person who was not a party to a suit generally has not had a
‘full and fair opportunity to litigate' the claims
and issues settled in that suit.” Taylor, 553
U.S. at 892. The general rule that “one is not bound by
a judgment in personam in a litigation in which he
is not designated as a party or to which he has not been made
a party by service of process, ” Hansberry v.
Lee, 311 U.S. 32, 40 (1940), reflects the
“deep-rooted historic tradition that everyone should
have his own day in court, ” Richards v. Jefferson
County, 517 U.S. 793, 798 (1996). Here, Schmidt was not
a party to the Caballero lawsuit.
there are six exceptions to this general rule.
Taylor, 553 U.S. at 893-95. Navistar contends that
two exceptions apply to this case, specifically: 1) “a
party bound by a judgment may not avoid its preclusive force
by relitigating through a proxy”; and 2) “in
certain limited circumstances, a nonparty may be bound by a
judgment because she was adequately represented by someone
with the same interests ...