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Kellogg-Borchardt v. Mazda Motor Corporation

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

May 21, 2019




         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant Mazda Motor Corporation&#3');">39;s Motion to Dismiss for Improper Service and for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction. [Doc. 2]. The Court, having considered the parties&#3');">39; submissions, the relevant law, and being otherwise fully advised in the premises finds that it lacks personal jurisdiction over Defendant Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda Motor Corp.) and grants the Motion on that basis.


         This case arises from an automobile accident involving Plaintiff Alicia Kellogg-Borchardt. [Doc. 1');">1, p. 1');">10]. According to Plaintiffs, Mrs. Kellogg-Borchardt was driving a 201');">13');">3 Mazda 3');">3 on June 25, 201');">15, when she was struck by another vehicle causing her vehicle to roll. [Id.]. This accident occurred in New Mexico. [Id.]. Plaintiffs allege that Mrs. Kellogg-Borchardt suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the accident. [Id.]. Plaintiffs filed suit against Mazda Motor Corp. in state court, advancing claims of strict products liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and punitive damages. [Doc. 1');">1, pp. 9-1');">19]. Plaintiff John Borchardt, Mrs. Kellogg-Borchardt&#3');">39;s husband also asserted a loss of consortium claim relative to his wife&#3');">39;s injuries. [Doc. 1');">1, p. 1');">18].

         Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in the First Judicial District Court of the State of New Mexico, County of Santa Fe, on June 1');">18, 201');">18. [Doc. 1');">1, pp. 9-1');">19]. Mazda Motor Corp. filed its Notice of Removal [Doc. 1');">1] and Motion to Dismiss for Improper Service and Lack of Personal Jurisdiction on November 28, 201');">18 [Doc. 2]. Mazda Motor Corp. has withdrawn its argument for dismissal based on improper service. [Doc. 7');">7, p. 1');">1, n. 1');">1; see generally Doc. 1');">10]. Accordingly, the question of personal jurisdiction is the sole issue before the Court.


         Motions to dismiss under rule 1');">12(b)(2) test the plaintiff&#3');">39;s theory of personal jurisdiction as well as the facts supporting personal jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 1');">12(b)(2); Credit Lyonnais Sec. (USA), Inc. v. Alcantara, 1');">183');">3 F.3');">3d 1');">151');">1');">1');">183');">3 F.3');">3d 1');">151');">1, 1');">153');">3-54 (2d Cir. 1');">1999) (holding that the court “must determine whether the defendant in fact subjected itself to the court&#3');">39;s jurisdiction”). Where a defendant raises a timely challenge contesting personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that there is personal jurisdiction over the defendant and that the exercise of personal jurisdiction would not violate due process requirements. See Overton v. United States, 925 F.2d 1');">1282, 1');">1283');">3 (1');">10th Cir.1');">1991');">1). At this stage of the proceedings, it is not for the court to resolve disputed facts. See Daynard v. Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole, P.A., 290 F.3');">3d 42');">290 F.3');">3d 42, 45 (1');">1st Cir.2002). Rather, the court “must accept the plaintiff&#3');">39;s (properly documented) evidentiary proffers as true for the purpose of determining the adequacy of the prima facie jurisdictional showing.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. The Law Regarding Personal Jurisdiction

         1');">1. Burden of Proof

         “[W]hen the court&#3');">39;s jurisdiction is contested, the plaintiff has the burden of proving jurisdiction exists.” Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 3');">3d 1');">1503');">3');">55 F.3');">3d 1');">1503');">3, 1');">1505 (1');">10th Cir.1');">1995). Where jurisdiction is “decided on the basis of affidavits and other written materials, the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing” of facts that would support the assertion of jurisdiction. Id. “The allegations in the complaint must be taken as true to the extent they are uncontroverted by the defendant&#3');">39;s affidavit.” Behagen v. Amateur Basketball Ass&#3');">39;n of U.S.A., 7');">744 F.2d 7');">73');">31');">1');">7');">744 F.2d 7');">73');">31');">1, 7');">73');">33');">3 (1');">10th Cir. 1');">1984). However, upon a defendant&#3');">39;s presentation of credible evidence through affidavits or other materials suggesting the lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff must come forward with sufficient evidence to create a genuine dispute of material fact on the issue. See Doe v. Nat&#3');">39;l Med. Servs., 7');">74 F.2d 1');">143');">3');">97');">74 F.2d 1');">143');">3, 1');">145 (1');">10th Cir.1');">1992). The Court will only weigh factual disputes in favor of the plaintiff if the plaintiff meets its burden of contesting the credible evidence presented by the defendant. See Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 55 F.3');">3d at 1');">1505; Behagen, 7');">744 F.2d at 7');">73');">33');">3.

         Specific requirements apply to the exercise of personal jurisdiction over litigants which are not residents of the court forum. “The party seeking to establish personal jurisdiction over a foreign litigant must make two showings: first, that the exercise of jurisdiction is sanctioned by the state&#3');">39;s long-arm statute; and second, that it comports with the due process requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Marcus Food Co. v. DiPanfilo, 7');">71');">1 F.3');">3d 1');">11');">159');">67');">71');">1 F.3');">3d 1');">11');">159, 1');">11');">166 (1');">10th Cir.201');">11');">1). In New Mexico, the two factors collapse into one because New Mexico&#3');">39;s long-arm “statute extends the jurisdictional reach of New Mexico courts as far as constitutionally permissible.” Tercero v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich, Conn., 2002-NMSC-01');">18');">2002-NMSC-01');">18, ¶ 6, 1');">13');">32 N.M. 3');">31');">12');">1');">13');">32 N.M. 3');">31');">12, 3');">3d 50');">48 P.3');">3d 50, 54. Consequently, the Court “need not conduct a statutory analysis apart from the due process analysis.” Marcus Food Co., 67');">71');">1 F.3');">3d at 1');">11');">166 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         2. Due Process and Personal Jurisdiction

         The personal jurisdiction due process analysis consists of two steps. First, the Court considers “whether the defendant has such minimum contacts with the forum state that he should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.” Employers Mut. Cas. Co. v. Bartile Roofs, Inc., 1');">18 F.3');">3d 1');">11');">153');">3');">61');">18 F.3');">3d 1');">11');">153');">3, 1');">11');">159-60 (1');">10th Cir. 201');">10) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). A defendant may have minimum contacts with the forum state in one of two ways, providing in turn either general or specific personal jurisdiction. Trierweiler v. Croxton & Trench Holding Corp., 3');">3d 1');">1523');">3');">90 F.3');">3d 1');">1523');">3, 1');">153');">32-3');">33');">3 (1');">10th Cir. 1');">1996) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). In the second step, the ...

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