United States District Court, D. New Mexico
DEBORAH GRAY, as Guardian ad litem of R.B., a minor child, Plaintiff,
ACADIA HEALTHCARE COMPANY, INC. and ROLLING HILLS HOSPITAL, LLC, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT ROLLING
HILLS'S MOTION TO DISMISS OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, MOTION
TO TRANSFER VENUE
WILLIAM P. JOHNSON CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Rolling
Hills's Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, Motion
to Transfer Venue [Doc. 8], filed May 9, 2019. Defendant
Rolling Hills is an Oklahoma entity facing a lawsuit in New
Mexico for an alleged rape at its Oklahoma hospital.
Defendant's motion raises the threshold question of
whether New Mexico is the proper venue.
March 20, 2019, Plaintiff filed a complaint against
Defendants in the First Judicial District Court of Rio Arriba
County, New Mexico. Doc. 1 at 6-66. Plaintiff alleged that a
Rolling Hills Hospital staff member raped R.B. while she was
a resident at the hospital. Id. at 15. On May 2,
2019, Defendants removed the case on diversity grounds to
this Court. Id. at 1-5. A week later, Defendant
Rolling Hills filed the subject motion requesting the Court
dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction and venue
or, in the alternative, transfer the case to the Eastern
District of Oklahoma. Doc. 8. Defendant Acadia Healthcare has
a registered agent in New Mexico and, therefore, did not join
the motion contesting personal jurisdiction or venue. Doc. 1
plaintiff has the burden of making a prima facie showing that
“jurisdiction is legitimate under the laws of the forum
state and that the exercise of jurisdiction does not offend
the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
C5 Med. Werks, LLC v. CeramTec GMBH, No. 17-1173,
2019 WL 4282099, at *2 (10th Cir. Sept. 11, 2019) (citation
omitted). New Mexico's long-arm statute “extends
the jurisdictional reach of New Mexico courts as far as
constitutionally permissible.” Tercero v. Roman
Catholic Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut, 132 N.M. 312,
316 (2002); Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Thyssen Min.
Const. of Canada, Ltd., 703 F.3d 488, 492-93 (10th Cir.
2012). The personal jurisdiction analysis, therefore,
concerns only whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction
offends due process.
process requires that the defendant “purposefully
established minimum contacts within the forum State”
and that the “assertion of personal jurisdiction would
comport with ‘fair play and substantial
justice.'” Old Republic Ins. Co. v. Cont'l
Motors, Inc., 877 F.3d 895, 903 (10th Cir. 2017)
(quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S.
462, 476 (1985)). The defendant's contacts with the forum
state can result in either general or specific jurisdiction.
jurisdiction exists when the defendant's contacts with
the forum state “are so ‘continuous and
systematic' as to render them essentially at home in the
forum State.” Id. at 904 (quoting Goodyear
Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915,
argues general jurisdiction exists because Defendant Rolling
Hills targets New Mexico adolescents and maintains a website
New Mexico residents can use to contact and place New Mexico
adolescents at Rolling Hills Hospital. Doc. 17 at 7.
Plaintiff's arguments, however, do not withstand scrutiny
when considering Defendant Rolling Hills's Chief
Executive Officer's affidavit [Doc. 8-1], which Plaintiff
does not refute:
Rolling Hills Hospital, LLC, (RHH) [is] an Oklahoma limited
liability company, with its principle place of business in
Ada, Oklahoma. . . . RHH does not have an office nor any
physical presence in New Mexico, nor does RHH own property in
New Mexico. RHH does not conduct any business activities in
New Mexico. RHH is not registered to do business in New
Mexico. . . . RHH does not have any officer or director in
New Mexico. RHH does not employ anyone in New Mexico. RHH
does not hold any bank account in New Mexico. RHH does not
file tax returns in New Mexico. RHH does not use any website,
advertising or telephone listing in New Mexico to directly
target citizens of New Mexico.
See Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 55 F.3d 1503, 1505 (10th
Cir. 1995) (“The allegations in the complaint must be
taken as true to the extent they are uncontroverted by the
defendant's affidavits.”). Also, “maintenance
of a web site does not in and of itself subject the owner or
operator to personal jurisdiction . . . simply because it can
be accessed by residents of the forum state.”
Shrader v. Biddinger, 633 F.3d 1235, 1241 (10th Cir.
Court finds that Plaintiff has not met her burden to show
that Defendant Rolling Hills is subject to general
jurisdiction in New Mexico.