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Hernandez v. City of Beaumont

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 8, 2014

MONIQUE HERNANDEZ, JOSEPH HERNANDEZ, OLIVIA HERNANDEZ, GABRIELLE HERNANDEZ, JOANNA HERNANDEZ, ALEXIS HERNANDEZ, JOSEPH HERNANDEZ JR. AND O.G., a minor by and through her Guardian ad Litem OLIVIA HERNANDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF BEAUMONT, OFFICER ENOCH CLARK, CORPORAL FRANCISCO VELASQUEZ, JR., CHIEF FRANK COE, Defendants

For Monique Hernandez, Joseph Hernandez, Olivia Hernandez, Gabrielle Hernandez, Joanna Hernandez, Alexis Hernandez, Joseph Hernandez, Jr, O. G., a minor by and through her Guardian ad Litem Olivia Hernandez, Plaintiffs: Milton C Grimes, LEAD ATTORNEY, Milton C Grimes Law Offices, Los Angeles, CA; Vicki I Sarmiento, LEAD ATTORNEY, Vicki I Sarmiento Law Offices, Alhambra, CA; Iverson Matthew Jackson, Law Offices of Milton C. Grimes, Los Angeles, CA.

For City of Beaumont, Defendant: Mitchell D Dean, Richard J Schneider, Samuel Clayton Gazzo, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Daley and Heft, Solana Beach, CA; Eugene P Ramirez, Summer L Bridges, Manning and Kass Ellrod Ramirez Trester LLP, Los Angeles, CA.

For Enoch Clark, Officer, Defendant: Eugene P Ramirez, Manning and Kass Ellrod Ramirez Trester LLP, Los Angeles, CA; L Trevor Grimm, Manning and Kass Ellrod Ramirez Trester LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Richard J Schneider, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Daley and Heft, Solana Beach, CA.

For Francisco Velasquez, Jr, Corporal, Frank Coe, Defendants: Richard J Schneider, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Daley and Heft, Solana Beach, CA; Summer L Bridges, Manning and Kass Ellrod Ramirez Trester LLP, Los Angeles, CA.

For Does, Defendant: Richard J Schneider, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Daley and Heft, Solana Beach, CA.

For City of Beaumont, ThirdParty Plaintiff: Mitchell D Dean, Richard J Schneider, Samuel Clayton Gazzo, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Daley and Heft, Solana Beach, CA.

For Piexon AG, ThirdParty Defendant: Christopher Renzulli, PRO HAC VICE, Renzulli Law Firm LLP, White Plains, NY; Scott L Hengesbach, Murchison and Cumming LLP, Chase Plaza, Los Angeles, CA.

For Bart Bacolini, Erroneously Sued As Barton Peter Bacolini, ThirdParty Defendant: Pro se, San Jose, CA.

ORDER DENYING THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION [Dkt. No. 84]

DEAN D. PREGERSON, United States District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Third-Party Defendant Piexon AG's motion to dismiss the third party complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction (the " Motion"). (Docket No. 84.) For the reasons stated in this Order, the Motion is DENIED.

I. Background

The underlying action is an excessive force case. Monique Hernandez (" Monique"), along with seven of her family members (collectively, " Plaintiffs"), filed an action against the City of Beaumont (" City"), Officer Enoch Clark (" Clark"), Corporal Francisco Velasquez, Jr. (" Velasquez"), and Chief Frank Coe (" Coe"), alleging various civil rights violations. (Third Amended Complaint (" TAC"), Docket No. 51.) During the course of an arrest, Clark shot Monique with a JPX Jet Protector pepper spray gun (" JPX") at close range, causing severe eye injuries. (Id. ¶ ¶ 20-45.) Plaintiffs allege that " [t]he JPX gun shoots out spray liquid at 405 miles per hour. The muzzle velocities of JPX Jet Protector rounds provided to [the Beaumont Police Department] range from 550 feet per second to 1000 feet per second." (Id. ¶ 35.) Plaintiffs further allege that Clark and other Beaumont Police Department officers were not adequately trained on the use of the JPX. (Id. ¶ 36.)

The City filed a Third-Party Complaint (" TPC") against Third Party Defendants Piexon AG (" Piexon"), IBS Sigma Inc. (" IBS"), and Bart Bacolini (" Bacolini"). (Docket No. 46.) Piexon is a Swiss company that manufactures a line of personal defense products, including the JPX. (TPC ¶ 12; Fleishhauer Aff. ¶ 3.) IBS is a Canadian company that markets and distributes police and security products, including the JPX. (TPC ¶ 13.) Bacolini is a resident of California who received training from Piexon to prepare him to train law enforcement officers on the use of the JPX. (Fleischhauer Aff. ¶ 36; Decl. Gazzo ¶ 15.) Bacolini also owns and operates an affiliate business, Bacolini Enterprises, which distributes, markets, and conducts training for the JPX. (TPC ¶ 14.) In March 2010, Piexon's Vice President of International Sales, Zac Almeis, attended the 2010 Trexpo West Police Expo in Long Beach, California, where he trained Bacolini and provided him with Piexon's JPX training and user materials. (Gazzo Decl. ¶ ¶ 12-15; Fleischhauer Aff. ¶ 18.) On March 31, 2010, Bacolini received certification from the Piexon Training Academy indicating that he had completed the required training as well as passed the written and oral exams on the use and instruction of the JPX. (Fleischhauer Aff. ¶ 37.) This certification confirmed that Bacolini could certify others on the use of JPX. (Id. ¶ 38.)

In April 2010, City agreed to purchase the JPX from IBS. (TPC ¶ 31.) On May 20, 2010, Bacolini, as an authorized agent of IBS, hand delivered ten JPX devices to City's Police Department. (TPC ¶ 32.) On that same day, Bacolini trained City's police officers, exclusively relying on, referring to, and incorporating written training and user materials that Piexon provided. (TPC ¶ 33; Decl. Gazzo ¶ 16; Decl. Thuilliez ¶ 3, Exh. A.) Bacolini held two training sessions: one session to certify officers on the use of JPX and another to certify some officers so that they, in turn, could train others. (TPC ¶ 34.) The City alleges nine causes of action in the TPC: (1) Negligence; (2) Misrepresentation; (3) Strict Liability; (4) Failure to Warn; (5) Breach of Warranties; (6) Indemnification; (7) Contribution; (8) Apportionment; and (9) Declaratory Relief. City alleges that this Court has personal jurisdiction over Piexon because Piexon solicited and transacted ...


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