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 JUDGE.
Jordan Seiffert, on behalf of himself, and all others
similarly situated, brought a collective action against
Defendant Quest Corporation d/b/a/ CenturyLink QC and
Defendant CenturyLink Communications, LLC (collectively
“CenturyLink” or “Defendants”).
Defendants moved to dismiss the 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.)
argued that the United States Supreme Court's ruling in
Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Ct. of Cal., 137
S.Ct. 1773 (2017), applies to FLSA collective actions and
deprives the Court of specific personal jurisdiction. The
Court determined that Bristol-Myers did not apply to
FLSA collective actions and denied Defendants' motion on
December 14, 2018. (Doc. 65.)
argue that the issue of whether Bristol-Myers
deprives a district court of specific personal jurisdiction
over the claims of out-of-state opt-in plaintiffs in a FLSA
collective action presents a controlling question. (Doc. 71
at 2.) Defendants argue, therefore, that the Court's
December 14, 2018, Order denying Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Transfer Venue (Doc. 65)
should be certified for interlocutory appeal.
of a district court order generally may only occur after a
final order ends the litigation. Couch v. Telescope
Inc., 611 F.3d 629, 632 (9th Cir. 2010). A court may
certify a non-final order, however, if (1) the order involves
a controlling question of law, (2) as to which there is
substantial ground for difference of opinion, and (3) an
immediate appeal may “materially advance the ultimate
termination of the litigation.” 28 U.S.C. §
1292(b); Couch, 611 F.3d at 633. Interlocutory
appeal should be granted sparingly and only in exceptional
circumstances. Google Inc. v. Rockstar Consortium U.S.
LP, 2014 WL 4145506 at *1 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 20, 2014)
(citing James v. Price Stern Sloan, Inc., 283 F.3d
1064, 1068 n.6 (9th Cir. 2002)). The party seeking
interlocutory review bears the burden of showing that
interlocutory review is warranted. Couch, 611 F.3d
at 633. The district court possesses discretion to
determine whether interlocutory review is warranted. 28
U.S.C. § 1292(b); see also Google Inc., 2014 WL
4145506, at *1 (citing Swint v. Chambers Cnty.
Comm'n, 514 U.S. 35, 47 (1995)).
argue that all three requirements for interlocutory appeal
are met with regard to the Court's December 14, 2018,
Order denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, or in the
Alternative, Transfer Venue. (Doc. 65.) Defendants assert
that the question of whether Bristol-Myers applies
to collective actions presents ground for difference of
opinion. (Doc. 71 at 5.) Defendants argue further that
resolution of this issue could change materially the scope of
this case. Id.
involved group of plaintiffs that 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.
Does the Court's December 14, 2018, Order turn on a
Controlling Question of Law?
first argue that if Bristol-Myers applied to FLSA
collective actions, Plaintiffs' claims would have been
dismissed for lack of specific jurisdiction. (Doc. 71.)
Defendants assert that the Court's December 14, 2018,
Order turns on a determination of whether it possessed
specific personal jurisdiction over the claims of
out-of-state opt-in Plaintiffs. Id.
December 14, 2018, Order, the Court analyzed whether personal
jurisdiction existed over CenturyLink with regard to the
claims of the non-Montana Opt-in Plaintiffs. The Court first
determined that Plaintiff Seiffert met all of the elements
required for exercise of specific personal jurisdiction over
Court next analyzed whether Bristol-Myers would
divest the Court of specific personal jurisdiction over the
opt-in Plaintiffs. The Court determined that
Bristol-Myers did not apply to FLSA collective
actions. Defendants argue that a contrary result would be
compelled if Bristol-Myers applied to FLSA
collective actions and the out-of-state opt-in
Plaintiffs' claims would be dismissed for lack of
specific jurisdiction. (Doc. 71 at 8.) Defendants correctly
argue that an opposite conclusion as to
Bristol-Myers would compel a different analysis as
to the ...