United States District Court, C.D. California
MITSUI SUMITOMO INSURANCE USA, INC.; and MITSUI SUMITOMO INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Plaintiffs,
KYOCERA MITA CORPORATION; KYOCERA DOCUMENT SOLUTIONS, INC.; KYOCERA DOCUMENT TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.; and DOES 1-40, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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. (ECF Nos. 7, 12.)
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. (Id. ¶¶ 17-18.)
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.)
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.)
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
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).
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).
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).
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.
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