United States District Court, N.D. California, Oakland Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT GUNDERSON LLC'S MOTION
TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION DKT. 28
SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a products liability action brought by Plaintiff Myron
Sandoval against Gunderson LLC (“Gunderson”),
among other party-defendants. The parties are presently
before the Court on Gunderson's Motion to Dismiss for
Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). Dkt. 28. Having read and considered
the papers filed in connection with this matter and being
fully informed, the Court hereby GRANTS the motion for the
reasons set forth below. The Court, in its discretion, finds
this matter suitable for resolution without oral argument.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b); N.D. Cal. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b).
29, 2018, Plaintiff, an employee of ITS Technologies and
Logistics, LLC, was working at the Burlington Northern Santa
Fe Railway Company (“BNSF”) rail yard located in
Richmond, California. First Am. Compl. (“FAC”)
¶ 9. On that date, Plaintiff and his co-workers were
loading and unloading vehicles from an Auto-Max railcar
(“Railcar”) manufactured by Gunderson.
Id. ¶ 10. While working in the Railcar, the
lift system failed, causing a portion of the deck plate car
to fall on Plaintiff, causing him to sustain serious injury.
Id. ¶¶ 10, 14.
to Plaintiff, Gunderson “designed, manufactured,
constructed, assembled for sale, wholesaled and/or retailed
the particular [Railcar] ….” Id. ¶
11. Gunderson is a limited liability company organized under
Oregon law and is a subsidiary of co-defendant Greenbrier
Companies, Inc. (“Greenbrier”). Brask Decl.
¶¶ 5-8. Gunderson designs, builds, and sells
various models of railcars in and around Portland, Oregon.
Id. ¶¶ 10, 12. Auto-Max railcars are
designed for use throughout North America and contain no
California-specific features. Id. ¶¶
Railcar at issue in this case, BNSF Railway Car Number
314110, was manufactured by Gunderson at its Portland
facility in 2000. Id. ¶ 15. Immediately after
manufacturing the Railcar, Gunderson sold it to Greenbrier
Leasing Corp. (“Greenbrier Leasing”).
Id. ¶ 16. In turn, Greenbrier Leasing leased
the Railcar to BNSF, which took delivery of the Railcar in
Portland, Oregon. Id. ¶ 18. Shortly thereafter,
Greenbrier Leasing sold its interest in the Railcar to
Bombardier Capital Rail, Inc. Id. ¶ 19.
about November 13, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in
Alameda County Superior Court. The Complaint alleged causes
of action for strict products liability and negligence
against Greenbrier and BNSF. On December 21, 2018, Greenbrier
removed the action to this Court on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1332.
February 6, 2019, Plaintiff filed a FAC, which alleged the
same causes of action as the original Complaint but added
Gunderson as a party-defendant. Gunderson now moves for
dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff has
filed an opposition to the motion, in response to which
Gunderson has filed a reply. The matter is fully briefed and
is ripe for adjudication.
courts have the authority to dismiss an action for lack of
personal jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). “When a
defendant moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction,
the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that the
court has jurisdiction over the defendant.” Pebble
Beach Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006).
“Where, as here, the defendant's motion is based on
written materials rather than an evidentiary hearing, the
plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of
jurisdictional facts to withstand the motion to
dismiss.” Ranza v. Nike, Inc., 793 F.3d 1059,
1068 (9th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). In that regard, courts evaluate the pleadings and
affidavits to determine whether the plaintiff has made the
requisite showing of personal jurisdiction. Boschetto v.
Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008). While
uncontroverted factual allegations must be taken as true,
Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d
797, 800 (9th Cir. 2004), “legal conclusions
unsupported by factual allegations will not satisfy a
[party's] pleading burden, ” Swartz v. KPMG,
LLP, 476 F.3d 756, 766 (9th Cir. 2007).
plaintiff may invoke either general or specific personal
jurisdiction. Ranza, 793 F.3d at 1068. Plaintiff
does not contend that Gunderson is subject to the Court's
general jurisdiction. As such, resolution of the instant
motion turns on whether Plaintiff has made a prima facie
showing of specific jurisdiction.
are three requirements for a court to exercise specific
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant:
(1) The non-resident defendant must purposefully direct his
activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or
resident thereof; or perform some act by which he
purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting
activities in the ...