Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance USA Inc. v. Kyocera Mita Corp.

United States District Court, C.D. California

July 25, 2016

MITSUI SUMITOMO INSURANCE USA, INC.; and MITSUI SUMITOMO INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Plaintiffs,
v.
KYOCERA MITA CORPORATION; KYOCERA DOCUMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.; KYOCERA DOCUMENT TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.; and DOES 1-40, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS [7, 12]

          OTIS D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiffs Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance USA, Inc. and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company of America (“Plaintiffs”) seek reimbursement from Defendants Kyocera Mita Corporation, Kyocera Document Solutions, Inc. (“KDS”), and Kyocera Document Technology Co., Ltd. (“KDT”) for damages paid on behalf of Plaintiffs’ insured, Kyocera Document Solutions America, Ltd. (“Kyocera America”), a copier distributor. Plaintiffs allege that KDS and KDT designed and manufactured a defective copier that caused a fire, and that Defendants should reimburse Plaintiffs for the resulting damage. KDS and KDT now move to dismiss the matter for lack of personal jurisdiction, arguing that both corporations lack any connection to California that could establish the minimum contacts required for this Court to exercise jurisdiction. For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss.[1] (ECF Nos. 7, 12.)

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Kyocera America, a product distributor, is insured by Plaintiffs. (Complaint (“Compl.”) ¶ 8, Not. of Removal, Ex. 1, ECF No. 1.) On October 11, 2008, an allegedly defective copier distributed by Kyocera America caused a fire at a commercial building in Chatsworth, California. (Id.) The copier was designed and manufactured by KDS and KDT and contained an allegedly defective diode manufactured by Japanese electronics company Shindengen Electric Manufacturing. (Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) The insurers of the commercial building sued Kyocera America for damages resulting from the fire. (Id. ¶ 9.) After settling claims with the commercial building’s insurers on behalf of Kyocera America, Plaintiffs brought this indemnification claim against KDS, KDT, and Shindengen.[2] (Id. ¶¶ 17-18.)

         KDT and KDS sell and manufacture printers and copiers. (KDT Mot. to Dismiss (“KDT Mot.”), Okajuma Decl. ¶ 9, ECF No. 12; KDS Mot. to Dismiss (“KDS Mot.”), Inoko Decl. ¶ 9, ECF No. 7.) KDT is a Chinese company with its principal place of business located in China. (Inoko Decl. ¶ 2.) KDT does not, nor has it ever, maintained an office or facility in California, sold products directly to California, or employed agents or employees in California. (Id. ¶ 2-8.) All of KDT’s products are sold to Kyocera Document Technologies, a Hong Kong-based corporation, which, in turn, are then sold to KDS to be distributed internationally. (Id. ¶ 9.)

         KDS is a Japanese company with its principal place of business located in Japan. (Okajuma Decl. ¶ 2.) KDS does not, nor has it ever, maintained an office or facility in California, sold products directly to California, or employed agents or employees in California. (Id. ¶ 3-8.) The only direct contact KDS has had with California, as far as the Court is aware, is a 2014 business meeting with a supplier In Irvine, California, six years after the incident that sparked this lawsuit. (Supplemental Opposition (“Supp. Opp’n”) 8, ECF No. 49.) All KDS products that are sold in the United States are distributed by Kyocera America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KDS (Id. ¶ 11.) In this capacity, Kyocera America purchases products from KDS, transports them to the United States, and sells them to local distributors for its own profit. (Id. ¶ 10.) KDS does not exercise day-to-day control over Kyocera America; nor does KDS provide Kyocera America with operating capital. (Id. ¶ 11.) However, KDS currently loans twenty employees to Kyocera America and loans another fifteen employees to Kyocera Document Solutions Development America (“KDDA”), another member of the Kyocera corporate family. (Supp. Opp’n 3.)

         Plaintiffs filed this indemnity action in the Los Angeles Superior Court on December 10, 2014. (Not. of Removal ¶ 1, ECF No. 1.) KDS then timely removed the action to this Court. (ECF No. 1.) On March 20, 2015, KDS filed a Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). (ECF No. 18.) Plaintiffs timely opposed, and KDS timely replied. (ECF Nos. 19, 22.) On April 27, 2015, KDT also filed a Motion to Dismiss on personal jurisdiction grounds. (ECF No. 12.) Again, Plaintiffs timely opposed, and KDT timely replied. (ECF Nos. 20, 24.) The Court granted Plaintiffs’ request for limited jurisdictional discovery on September 25, 2015. (ECF No. 28.) Plaintiffs then filed a Supplemental Opposition to both Motions to Dismiss on April 15, 2016, and Defendants filed a joint Supplemental Reply on May 2, 2016. (ECF Nos. 49, 60.) KDS and KDT’s Motions to Dismiss are now before the Court for decision.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         When a defendant moves to dismiss a complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that jurisdiction is appropriate. Sher v. Johnson, 911 F.2d 1357, 1361 (9th Cir. 1990). If the motion to dismiss is based on written materials rather than an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing that jurisdiction exists. Id. The court takes the plaintiff’s uncontroverted version of facts as true, and any conflicts over the facts must be resolved in the plaintiff’s favor. Doe v. Unocal Corp., 248 F.3d 915, 922 (9th Cir. 2001).

         “The general rule is that personal jurisdiction over a defendant is proper if it is permitted by a long-arm statute and if the exercise of that jurisdiction does not violate federal due process.” Pebble Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). California’s long-arm statute is coextensive with federal due process requirements, so the jurisdictional analysis for a nonresident defendant under state law and federal due process is the same. See Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 410.10; Roth v. Garcia Marquez, 942 F.2d 617, 620 (9th Cir. 1991).

         The Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause allows a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant who has sufficient “minimum contacts” with the forum state such that the exercise of jurisdiction “does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Int’l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945) (quotation marks omitted). Applying the “minimum contacts” analysis, a court may exert either general jurisdiction or specific jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. Unocal, 248 F.3d at 923. General jurisdiction is established when the defendant’s activities in the forum state are “continuous and systematic” in such a way that justifies the exercise of jurisdiction, even if the cause of action is unrelated to these activities. Doe v. Am. Nat’l Red Cross, 112 F.3d 1048, 1050 (9th Cir. 1997). Specific jurisdiction arises when a defendant’s specific contacts with the forum state give rise to the cause of action. Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 (1984).

         As a general rule, a court should freely give leave to amend a complaint that has been dismissed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). However, a court may deny leave to amend when “the court determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency.” Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.