United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
JORDAN SEIFFERT, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, Plaintiffs,
QWEST CORPORATION D/B/A/ CENTURYLINK QC AND CENTURYLINK COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, Defendants.
Morris United States District Court fudge.
Jordan Seiffert, on behalf of himself, and all others
similarly situated, brings a collective action against
Defendant Quest Corporation d/b/a/ CenturyLink QC and
Defendant CenturyLink Communications, LLC (collectively
“CenturyLink” or “Defendants”).
Defendants move to dismiss out-of-state Plaintiffs and
putative Plaintiffs, or, in the alternative, transfer the
case to the Western District of Louisiana where CenturyLink
is headquartered. (Doc. 31.) Plaintiff Seiffert opposes the
motion. (Doc. 36.)
This Court Possesses Personal Jurisdiction Over CenturyLink
with Respect to the Claims of Non-Montana Opt-In
first alleges that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over
the out-of-state Opt-in Plaintiffs' claims. (Doc. 31 at
11.) The Court must determine whether its exercise of
personal jurisdiction would comport with (1) Montana's
long-arm statute, and (2) constitutional due process
requirements. Mattel, Inc. v. Greiner and Hausser
GmbH, 354 F.3d 857, 863 (9th Cir. 2003).
jurisdiction exists if a corporation maintains certain
minimum contacts with the forum state such that maintenance
of the suit does not offend “traditional notions of
fair play and substantial justice.” Goodyear Dunlop
Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 918-19
(2011). Personal jurisdiction exists either generally or
specifically. Montana's long-arm statute “permit[s]
the exercise of personal jurisdiction over nonresident
defendants to the maximum extent permitted by federal due
process.” King v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co.,
632 F.3d 570, 578 (9th Cir. 2011); Mont. R. Civ. P. 4(b)(1).
The Court thus applies the same analysis of its jurisdiction
under Montana law and federal due process requirements.
personal jurisdiction exists under federal law if the
following elements are met: (1) the non-resident defendant
purposefully directs his activities, or performs some act
that purposefully avails the defendant of the forum's
privileges; (2) the claim arises out of, or relates to, the
defendant's forum-related activities; and (3) the
exercise of jurisdiction comports with fair play and
substantial justice (i.e. is reasonable). King v.
American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 632 F.3d 570, 579 (9th
Cir. 2011) (citing Brayton Purcell LLP v. Recordon &
Recordon, 606 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th Cir. 2010)).
Seiffert meets all three elements required for the Court to
exercise specific personal jurisdiction over CenturyLink.
CenturyLink purposefully directed its business activities to
Montana via the internet and other media. Seiffert's
claim arises out of CenturyLink's alleged conduct in
Montana, where the employment relationship between
CenturyLink and him existed. And third, the Court's
exercise of personal jurisdiction over CenturyLink for the
allegations against it in Montana proves reasonable in light
of the fact that it has offices, conducts business, and can
be found in this District, and the causes of action arise, in
part, in this District.
rely on Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of
Cal., San Francisco Cnty., 137 S.Ct. 1773 (2017), to
assert that the Court lacks specific personal jurisdiction
over the out-of-state Plaintiffs. A group of plaintiffs
brought a mass tort action against Bristol-Myers Squibb in
California state court in which they alleged state law
claims. Id. at 1779. The plaintiffs included 86
people who resided in California, and 592 people who resided
in 33 other states. Id. The United States Supreme
Court determined that the California state court lacked
personal jurisdiction over the state claims brought by the
out-of-state plaintiffs as no connection existed between the
forum in California and the claims. Id. at 1782-83.
premised the California state-based tort claims upon alleged
injuries from a drug manufactured by Bristol-Meyers Squibb.
Id. at 1281. The out-of-state plaintiffs were not
prescribed the drug in California, did not purchase the drug
in California, did not ingest the drug in California, and did
not suffer injuries in California. Id. The mere fact
that out-of-state plaintiffs suffered the same injuries as
the California resident plaintiffs did not extend the state
court's exercise of specific personal jurisdiction to the
out-of-state plaintiffs' claims. Id. The
complaint lacked a connection between the forum and the
specific claims at issue. Id. The Supreme Court
noted, however, that its decision in Bristol-Meyers
did not usurp “settled principles” of personal
jurisdiction. Id. at 1283. The Supreme Court
“[left] open the question whether the Fifth Amendment
imposes the same restrictions on the exercise of personal
jurisdiction by a federal court.” Id. at 1784.
assert, similar to Bristol-Myers, that no connection
exists between the out-of-state Plaintiffs and Montana.
Defendants point out that each out-of-state Plaintiff resided
and worked outside of Montana. (Doc. 31 at 18.)
Bristol-Myers addressed personal jurisdiction in the
context of state law claims. The putative out-of-state
plaintiffs did not live in California, did not work in
California, and did not suffer their injuries in California.
Bristol-Myers, 137 S.Ct. at 1779. Each putative
out-of-state plaintiff suffered their injury in the state in
which they resided. Id.
ask the Court to extend Bristol-Meyers's
reasoning to a putative FLSA collective action. Unlike the
claims at issue in Bristol-Meyers, however, the FLSA
claims before the Court arise from a federal statute designed
to address employment practices nationwide. See 29
U.S.C. §§ 202, 207(a). The FLSA collective action
provision allows employees to bring claims on behalf of
themselves and other employees “similarly
situated.” 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). The FLSA does not
limit claims to in-state plaintiffs. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b).
An analysis of a district court's exercise of personal
jurisdiction in the context of an FLSA claim proves more
germane to the Court's decision.
district court in Swamy v. Title Source, Inc., 2017
WL 5196780 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 10, 2017), recently examined the
scope of personal jurisdiction in FLSA collective actions.
Swamy involved the named plaintiff, an appraiser
employed by defendant, who allegedly had been misclassified
as an exempt employee and not paid overtime wages.
Id. at *1. The named plaintiff brought a putative
collective action under the FLSA. Id.
named plaintiff sought conditional certification of his FLSA
collective action on behalf of all “staff
appraisers” that he alleged similarly had been
misclassified as exempt from overtime pay. Id. The
claim defined the class as “all staff appraisers that
worked for defendant at any time from three years prior to
the date the Court authorizes notice to the present.”
Id. Defendants opposed conditional certification of
the class on the basis that the district court lacked
jurisdiction over ...