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Sivilli v. Wright Medical Technology, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

June 24, 2019

Victor Sivilli, Plaintiff,
v.
Wright Medical Technology, Inc., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING WRIGHT MEDICAL GROUP, INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. No. 4)

          Anthony J. Battaglia, United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Wright Medical Group, Inc.'s motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 4.) Wright Medical Group argues the Court lacks both specific and general jurisdiction over it in California and that it cannot be subjected to personal jurisdiction through any alter ego or agency theories. Agreeing with Wright Medical Group, the Court GRANTS its dismissal motion and DISMISSES them from the case. (Doc. No. 4.)

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings this products liability and negligence action against defendants Wright Medical Technology, Inc., (“WMT”), Wright Medical Group, Inc., (“WMG”), Wright Medical Group, N.V., and MicroPort Orthopedics, Inc. for alleged defects in a hip replacement device. (Doc. No. 1-3 at 2-3.) Plaintiff alleges defendants knew their hip replacement device “was prone to fail within a few years of implantation although hip implant devices typically last more than twenty years.” (Id. ¶ 1.) Plaintiff asserts “Defendants have long known that their Device tends to fracture at the location of the highest tensile stress concentration in the Neck-Stem-Body transition of the Device even during low or moderate physical activity.” (Id.)

         After the device was implanted into Plaintiff, he began to suffer “pain, debilitation, and hospitalization, and was forced to undergo revision surgery because the Device was defective and Defendants failed to warn adequately of the dangers of the Device.” (Id. ¶ 2.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a plaintiff's complaint. See Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). “[A] court may dismiss a complaint as a matter of law for (1) lack of cognizable legal theory or (2) insufficient facts under a cognizable legal claim.” SmileCare Dental Grp. v. Delta Dental Plan of Cal., 88 F.3d 780, 783 (9th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted). However, a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss if it contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In making this determination, a court reviews the contents of the complaint, accepting all factual allegations as true and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. See Cedars-Sinai Med. Ctr. v. Nat'l League of Postmasters of U.S., 497 F.3d 972, 975 (9th Cir. 2007). Notwithstanding this deference, the reviewing court need not accept legal conclusions as true. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). It is also improper for a court to assume “the [plaintiff] can prove facts that [he or she] has not alleged.” Assoc. Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983). However, “[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664.

         III. DISCUSSION

         WMG argues the Court lacks general and specific jurisdiction over it in California and is also not subject to personal jurisdiction under an alter ego or agency theory. (Doc. No. 4-1.)

         1. General Personal Jurisdiction

         WMG asserts Plaintiff lacks general jurisdiction over it in California, a point which Plaintiff agrees with. Thus, the Court declines to analyze this issue.

         2. Specific Personal Jurisdiction

         WMG also asserts Plaintiff lacks specific jurisdiction over it in California. (Doc. No. 4-1 at 9-10.) Due process “constrains a State's authority to bind a nonresident defendant to a judgment of its courts.” Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 283 (2014). “A nonresident defendant must 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.''” Axiom Foods, Inc. v. Acerchem Int'l, Inc., 874 F.3d 1064, 1068 (9th Cir. 2017) (alteration in original) (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). Courts apply a three-part test to exercise specific jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant:

(1) the defendant either “purposefully direct[s]” its activities or “purposefully avails” itself of the benefits afforded by the forum's laws; (2) the claim “arises out of or relates to the defendant's forum-related activities; and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction [ ] ...

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