United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
L. Christensen, Chief United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant Eugene Truck Haven, Inc., dba Truck N
Travel's ("Eugene") Motion to Dismiss for lack
of personal jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2). (Doc. 13.) Eugene claims that this Court
lacks both general and specific jurisdiction over his claim.
Plaintiffs Thomas and Adriana Allt contest the motion only as
it applies to specific jurisdiction. For the reason explained
below, the Court grants the motion.
12, 2018 Thomas Allt was driving southbound on U.S. 95 near
Marsing, Idaho when a brake canister from a trailer
travelling in the northbound lane broke free and flew through
the window of Mr. Allt's truck, striking him in the
face. Mr. Allt lost consciousness, his truck
overturned, and he was found with severe head and facial
injuries. (Doc. 1 at 3.)
investigation conducted at the scene of the accident revealed
that the trailer's fourth right axel chamber had become
disconnected from its mounting on the support beam, likely
due to rust. Subsequently, Mr. Allt learned that the brake
chamber had been improperly repaired. (Id. at 5.)
three Defendants were involved in some manner in repairing
the brake canister in the months' prior to the accident.
Defendant Montana Mobile Truck & Trailer welded the
canister first on August 30, 2016. This weld failed in
Oregon, causing Oregon-based Defendant Eugene to make a
temporary repair to the canister on June 9, 2017. This second
weld failed in Montana. Finally, Defendant TA Operating
Montana LLC welded the canister on October 24, 2017, which
failed in Idaho, injuring Mr. Allt. (Id.)
a defendant moves to dismiss a complaint for lack of personal
jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating
that jurisdiction is appropriate."
Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 800 (citing Sher v.
Johnson, 911 F.2d 1357, 1361 (9th Cir. 1990)). The
plaintiffs pleading and affidavits "need only make a
prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts."
jurisdiction is an individual liberty protected by the due
process clause. Ins. Corp. of lr. v. Compagnie des
Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 702 (1982). For a
federal court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant, two requirements must be met:
jurisdiction must be proper under the state's long arm
statute, and jurisdiction must satisfy the constitutional
standard. Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 800.
claims that Montana court's construe its long arm statute
to the limits of the federal constitution, and
correspondingly does not brief whether jurisdiction is proper
under Montana's long arm statute. (Doc. 14 at 7.)
Plaintiffs argue that this Court's exercise of personal
jurisdiction is constitutional, but its brief is silent on
Montana's long arm statute, leaving the Court without the
benefit of any briefing on the subject. (See Doc. 18
first question is whether Montana's long arm statute is
coextensive with federal limits. In 2011, the Ninth Circuit
"recognized that Mont. R. Civ. P. 4(b)(1), which serves
as the state'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. Fam. Mut. Ins. Co., 632 F.3d 570, 578-79
(9th Cir. 2011). However, since that time, the Montana
Supreme Court has shifted gear. Montana Trucks LLC v. UD
Trucks N. Am. Inc, No. CV 12-23-M-DWM, 2016 WL 7388303,
at *2 (D. Mont. Dec. 20, 2016).
Tackett v. Duncan,334 P.3d 920, 925 (Mont. 2014),
the Montana Supreme Court addressed, for the first time, the
relationship between Montana's long arm statute and the
Federal Constitution. After discussing the difference between
general and specific personal jurisdiction, the Court
explained that "Rule 4(b)(1) of the Montana Rules of
Civil Procedure incorporates these principles of general and
specific jurisdiction." Id. It explained that
"[t]he first sentence of the Rule provides for general
jurisdiction" while the remainder of the rule provides
for specific jurisdiction. Id. Parts (A) through (G)
of the rule enumerate seven instances where a Montana court
may exercise specific personal ...