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Mavrix Photo, Inc., A Florida Corporation v. Moguldom Media Group LLC

March 28, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge



Defendant Moguldom Media Group, LLC's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction was set for hearing on March 8, 2011 [6]. Having taken this matter under submission on March 3, 2011, and having reviewed all papers submitted pertaining to this Motion, the Court NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS:

A. Legal Standard

Although Plaintiff has the burden of proving personal jurisdiction, to defeat a motion to dismiss, Plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts. In re Pintlar Corp., 133 F.3d 1141, 1144 (9th Cir. 1998)(citing Farmers Ins. Exch. v. Portage La Prairie Mut. Ins. Co., 907 F.2d 911, 912 (9th Cir. 1990)). The plaintiff need only allege facts which, if true, would support a finding of jurisdiction. Ballard v. Savage, 65 F.3d 1495, 1498 (9th Cir. 1995)(citing Data Disc v. Sys. Tech. Assoc., 557 F.2d 1280, 1285 (9th Cir. 1977).

The exercise of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant requires the presence of two factors. The forum state's laws must provide a basis for exercising personal jurisdiction, and the assertion of personal jurisdiction must comport with due process. Hirsch v. Blue Cross, Blue Shield, 800 F.2d 1474, 1477 (9th Cir. 1986). The California long-arm statute permits the exercise of jurisdiction "on any basis not inconsistent with the Constitution . . . of the United States." Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 410.10. This statute renders the state and federal limits of jurisdiction coextensive. Roth v. Garcia Marquez, 942 F.2d 617, 620 (9th Cir. 1991). Thus, only a due process analysis is required.

Due process requires that a defendant have "certain minimum contacts with [the forum] such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945). The defendant's contacts must be "such that the [defendant] should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there." World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980). Depending upon the nature and scope of the defendant's contacts with the forum, jurisdiction may be general or specific to the cause of action. Roth, 942 F.2d at 620 (citing Data Disc, 557 F.2d at 1287).

In the area of personal jurisdiction and the internet, the Ninth Circuit has adopted the test set forth in Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc., 952 F. Supp. 1119 (W.D. Pa. 1997). See Gator.Com Corp. v. L.L. Bean, Inc., 341 F.3d 1072, 1079-80 (9th Cir. 2003)(citing the "sliding scale" test set forth in Zippo as a test "that both our own and other circuits have applied to internet-based companies."). E.g. Cybersell, Inc. v. Cybersell, Inc., 130 F.3d 414, 417-19 (9th Cir. 1997). In Zippo, the court categorized internet use and the exercise of personal jurisdiction along the following spectrum:

At one end of the spectrum are situations where a defendant clearly does business over the Internet. If the defendant enters into contracts with residents of a foreign jurisdiction that involve the knowing and repeated transmission of computer files over the Internet, personal jurisdiction is proper. At the opposite end are situations where a defendant has simply posted information on an Internet [website] which is accessible to users in foreign jurisdictions. A passive [website] that does little more than make information available to those who are interested in it is not grounds for the exercise personal jurisdiction. The middle ground is occupied by interactive [website] where a user can exchange information with the host computer. In these cases, the exercise of jurisdiction is determined by examining the level of interactivity and commercial nature of the exchange of information that occurs on the [website].

Zippo, 952 F. Supp. at 1124 (citations omitted).

B. Analysis

The Court finds that Plaintiff Mavrix Photo, Inc. ("Plaintiff") has failed to assert sufficient facts to prove that Defendant Moguldom Media Group, LLC ("Defendant") is subject to personal jurisdiction before this Court.

I. General Jurisdiction First, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to assert sufficient facts to prove that general jurisdiction exists over Defendant in this Case.

For general jurisdiction to exist over a nonresident defendant, the defendant must engage in "continuous and systematic general business contacts," that "approximate physical presence" in the forum state. Bancroft & Masters, Inc. v. Augusta Nat'l, Inc., 223 F.3d 1082, 1086 (9th Cir. 2000). "Factors to be taken into consideration are whether the defendant makes sales, solicits or engages in business in the state, serves the ...

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