Circle Click Media LLC v. Regus Management Group LLC et al

Filing 217

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti denying 180 Motion to Dismiss (sclc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/14/2014)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 CIRCLE CLICK MEDIA LLC, and CTNY ) Case No. 12-cv-04000-SC INSURANCE GROUP LLC, on behalf ) of themselves and all others ) ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS similarly situated, ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) ) REGUS MANAGEMENT GROUP LLC, ) REGUS BUSINESS CENTRE LLC, REGUS ) PLC, HQ GLOBAL WORKPLACES LLC, ) and DOES 1 through 50, ) ) Defendants. ) ) 17 18 I. INTRODUCTION 19 Now before the Court is Defendant Regus plc's motion to 20 21 dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. 22 briefed 1 and suitable for determination without oral argument per 23 Civil Local Rule 7-1(b). 24 plc's motion to dismiss is DENIED. 25 /// 26 /// 27 1 28 The motion is fully For the reasons set forth below, Regus ECF Nos. 180 ("Mot."), 187-3 ("Redacted Opp'n"), 187-4 ("Opp'n") (filed under seal), 202 ("Reply"). II. BACKGROUND 1 A detailed discussion of this case's background appears in the 2 ECF No. 59 ("Jan. 2013 Order"). 5 Plaintiffs' second amended complaint ("SAC"), ECF No. 62. 6 Defendants are in the business of leasing commercial office space 7 throughout the world. 8 United States District Court Court's January 3, 2013 order, so a short summary appears here. 4 For the Northern District of California 3 limited company incorporated and registered in Jersey, Channel 9 Islands, and is the parent company of Defendants Regus Management Id. ¶ 1. These facts are taken from Defendant Regus plc is a public 10 Group ("RMG"), Regus Business Centre LLC ("RBC"), and HQ Global 11 Workplaces LLC ("HQ"). 12 referred to collectively as "Regus," both in this Order and in the 13 SAC. 2 14 one another and generally do not distinguish between them in the 15 SAC. Id. ¶¶ 9-15. All four defendants are Plaintiffs allege that all four defendants are alter egos of Id. ¶¶ 1, 21. In 2011 and 2012, Plaintiffs entered into office agreements 16 17 with Defendants to lease commercial office space in California and 18 New York. 19 assessed charges beyond what was indicated by their agreements, 20 including charges related to kitchen amenities, telecommunication 21 services, "business continuity service," taxes, and penalties. 22 Plaintiffs allege that these fees were not disclosed in the office 23 agreements and bore no reasonable relationship to the services Id. ¶¶ 45, 56, 71. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants 24 2 25 26 27 28 Ordinarily, the Court would be skeptical of such imprecise language. However, the evidence demonstrates that the Regus companies consistently fail to distinguish between themselves. Accordingly the Court, too, is comfortable referring to all defendant companies collectively as "Regus." When the Court intends to identify Defendant Regus plc individually, the Court shall refer to "Regus plc." 2 1 Defendants' offered. Id. ¶¶ 52, 62, 76. 2 Defendants violated California business and false advertising laws, 3 and they bring unjust enrichment claims under California and New 4 York law as well. 5 violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations 6 Act ("RICO"). Id. ¶¶ 91-163. Plaintiffs allege that Plaintiffs also allege Id. ¶¶ 164-95. In January 2013, the Court denied without prejudice Regus 7 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 plc's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and 9 permitted Plaintiffs to conduct jurisdictional discovery. Jan. 10 2013 Order at 10. The Court held that Defendants' website, 11 regus.com, was insufficient to support personal jurisdiction over 12 Regus plc because, at that time, the evidence indicated that all of 13 the interactive features of the website were handled by RMG. 14 at 6-7. 15 jurisdiction. Id. Regus plc now moves again to dismiss for lack of personal 16 17 III. LEGAL STANDARD Plaintiffs bear the burden of showing that the Court has 18 19 personal jurisdiction over Regus plc. See Pebble Beach Co. v. 20 Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). 21 requires that the plaintiff make only a prima facie showing of 22 jurisdictional facts to withstand the motion to dismiss." 23 (quotations omitted). 24 favor of the plaintiff . . . ." 25 plaintiff cannot simply rest on the bare allegations of its 26 complaint, but uncontroverted allegations in the complaint must be 27 taken as true." 28 /// "[T]his demonstration Id. "[T]he court resolves all disputed facts in Id. (quotations omitted). "The Mavrix Photo, Inc. v. Brand Techs., Inc., 647 F.3d 3 1 1218, 1223 (9th Cir. 2011) (quotations omitted). 3 2 California's long-arm statute is coextensive with federal due 3 process requirements, California Civil Procedure Code section 4 410.10, the personal jurisdiction analysis under state and federal 5 law are the same. Since 6 A. 7 The Ninth Circuit has established a three-prong analysis for United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 Specific Jurisdiction assessing claims of specific jurisdiction: 9 (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 forum, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws; 10 11 12 13 (2) the claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the defendant's forum-related activities; and 14 (3) the exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice, i.e. it must be reasonable. 15 16 Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th 17 Cir. 2004). 18 two prongs and, if it does, the burden then shifts to the defendant 19 to show why the exercise of personal jurisdiction would be 20 unreasonable. 21 B. 22 Generally, the existence of a parent-subsidiary relationship 23 24 25 26 27 28 The plaintiff bears the burden of satisfying the first Id. Agency and Alter Ego 3 This prima facie showing is all that is required, even after jurisdictional discovery: "If the court determines that it will receive only affidavits or affidavits plus discovery materials, these very limitations dictate that a plaintiff must make only a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts through the submitted materials in order to avoid a defendant's motion to dismiss." Data Disc, Inc. v. Sys. Tech. Assocs., Inc., 557 F.2d 1280, 1285 (9th Cir. 1977); see also Orchid Biosciences, Inc. v. St. Louis Univ., 198 F.R.D. 670, 673 (S.D. Cal. 2001) (explaining that prima facie burden is required after jurisdictional discovery is taken). 4 1 "is not sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction over the 2 parent on the basis of the subsidiaries' minimum contacts with the 3 forum." 4 However, "if the parent and subsidiary are not really separate 5 entities [i.e., alter egos], or one acts as an agent of the other, 6 the local subsidiary's contacts with the forum may be imputed to 7 the foreign parent corporation." Doe v. Unocal Corp., 248 F.3d 915, 925 (9th Cir. 2001). Id. at 926 (quotations omitted). United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 9 IV. DISCUSSION 10 A. Website and Emails as Regus plc's Contacts 11 In their brief opposing Regus plc's previous motion to 12 dismiss, Plaintiffs made three primary arguments. 13 asserted that this Court has personal jurisdiction over Regus plc 14 directly, mostly as a result of the regus.com website. 15 also argued that the other defendants' contacts with California 16 should be imputed to Regus plc because the other defendants were 17 either agents or alter egos of Regus plc. 18 pursue their direct and agency theories of personal jurisdiction, 19 but they have apparently abandoned their alter ego theory, as it is 20 not mentioned in their opposition brief. 21 First, they Plaintiffs Plaintiffs continue to The Court held in its previous order that Plaintiffs had 22 failed to make a prima facie case for direct personal jurisdiction. 23 Defendants now argue that the previous order constitutes the law of 24 the case and bars Plaintiffs from reasserting those theories. 25 was not the effect of the January 3 Order. 26 holdings regarding personal jurisdiction: (1) with respect to 27 direct personal jurisdiction, "Plaintiffs have failed to meet their 28 burden of showing that the exercise of specific jurisdiction would 5 That That order made two personal jurisdiction via agency or alter ego theories, "Plaintiffs 3 have yet to come forward with any evidence concerning the 4 functional relationship between Defendants." 5 those holdings were determinations that Plaintiffs had failed to 6 make a prima facie case for jurisdiction at that point. 7 holding precludes Plaintiffs from reasserting those theories now. 8 United States District Court be appropriate," Jan. 2013 Order at 8; and (2) with respect to 2 For the Northern District of California 1 Indeed, by denying Regus plc's motion without prejudice, the Court 9 specifically envisioned additional argument on Plaintiffs' theories Id. at 9. Both of Neither 10 once the factual record was supplemented with jurisdictional 11 discovery. 12 operated the website directly, rather than through an agent or 13 alter ego, the Court would be remiss to disregard that evidence. If jurisdictional discovery revealed that Regus plc 1. 14 Regus plc's Direct Control of the Website Plaintiffs have provided substantial evidence of Regus plc's 15 16 involvement in the website. 4 17 periods, the regus.com website footer specified that Regus plc held 18 copyright for the website. 19 the terms and conditions posted on the website during the alleged 20 class period state that "Regus plc ('Regus Group') (whether 21 directly or indirectly) owns and operates the regus.co.uk website, 22 the regus.com website, the hq.com website and the stratisnet.com 23 4 24 25 26 27 28 First, during the relevant time ECF No. 188 ("RJN") Exs. A-H. Second, Plaintiffs have filed a request for judicial notice in support of their opposition brief. ECF No. 188. The documents Plaintiffs request to be noticed are archived versions of the regus.com website and Regus plc's annual reports, which are publicly available online. Regus plc has not objected to judicial notice to any of the documents. The Court finds that the facts Plaintiffs request to be noticed can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned. Accordingly the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' request and takes notice of the attached documents. 6 'Site')." 3 point to several statements on the website, such as the claim that 4 "With 1000 business centres in 75 countries, Regus plc is the 5 world's largest provider of outsourced workplaces . . . ," which 6 indicate that Regus plc not only operates the website but actually 7 provides the office space rented through the site. 8 United States District Court website (collectively, 'Regus Group Websites' and individually, 2 For the Northern District of California 1 I. 9 website," and they define "Company" as Regus plc. ECF No. 189 ("Garofolo Decl.") Ex. 1. Third, Plaintiffs RJN Exs. E, G, Fourth, Regus plc's annual reports referred to "the Company's 10 PLF00641, PLF00649. 11 RJN Ex. J at website pages that Regus plc has submitted. 12 There is no mention of RMG in any of the In response, Regus plc bleats again that RMG handled the 13 interactive features of the website. 14 involvement, though, is the declaration of Tim Regan, Regus plc's 15 corporate secretary. 16 or operate the regus.com website, and that all interactive features 17 interface with RMG, not Regus plc. 18 17-18. 19 website that existed during the relevant time period. 20 The only evidence of RMG's Mr. Regan states that Regus plc does not own ECF No. 30 ("Regan Decl.") ¶¶ Those assertions directly contradict the text of the The Court finds that a factual dispute exists as to whether 21 Regus plc operated the regus.com website, including its interactive 22 features, during the class period. 23 evidence sufficient to make a prima facie showing that Regus plc 24 operated the website, and Regus plc has countered with a 25 declaration asserting the opposite. 26 stage, the Court must resolve all disputed facts in the Plaintiffs' 27 favor. 28 Litig., 715 F.3d 716, 741 (9th Cir. 2013), cert. granted sub nom., Plaintiffs have presented At the motion to dismiss See, e.g., In re W. States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust 7 1 Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2899 (U.S. 2014); Wash. 2 Shoe Co. v. A-Z Sporting Goods Inc., 704 F.3d 668, 672 (9th Cir. 3 2012). 4 prima facie showing that Regus plc owned and operated the regus.com 5 website during the relevant time. Therefore, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have made a 2. 6 7 RMG as Regus plc's Agent Even were the Court to hold otherwise, the evidence is still United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 sufficient for a prima facie showing of an agency relationship 9 between Regus plc and RMG. Under California law, "[a]n agency is 10 ostensible when the principal intentionally, or by want of ordinary 11 care, causes a third person to believe another to be his agent who 12 is not really employed by him." 13 "purported agent's use of names and logos and the existence of a 14 business relationship between the two entities" can establish an 15 ostensible agency. 16 2150070, at *5-6 (C.D. Cal. June 12, 2012). 17 also held that a franchisee who uses the parent company's name and 18 logo may be an ostensible agent. 19 Residential Affiliates, Inc., 59 Cal. App. 4th 741, 747-48 (Cal. 20 Ct. App. 1997). 21 Cal. Civ. Code § 2300. A Holt v. Kormann, SACV 11-1047 DOC MLG, 2012 WL California courts have See Kaplan v. Coldwell Banker Plaintiffs provide significant evidence that RMG acted as 22 Regus plc's agent in operating the website. As discussed above, 23 the copyright, terms and conditions, and text of the website state 24 in no uncertain terms that Regus plc owned and operated the 25 website. 26 plc not only controlled the website but was the entity that 27 actually provided rental office space. 28 that the text of the website was inaccurate, and that Mr. Regan was The terms and text also give the impression that Regus 8 Nonetheless, it is possible 1 correct in stating that RMG operated the website. Even if RMG actually owned and operated the website, RMG used 2 identities was so complete that RMG was not even mentioned in the 5 website's text or terms of use. 6 name and logo were sufficient to render the franchisee an 7 ostensible agent, even though the fine print on the franchisee's 8 United States District Court Regus plc's name and logo. 4 For the Northern District of California 3 The intermingling of the corporate advertising materials clearly explained that the franchise was 9 owned and operated independently from the parent. In Kaplan, use of the parent's See id. at 744, 10 747. 11 website indicated that Regus plc owned and operated the website but 12 made no mention of any sort of agent or intermediary, a user or 13 customer must have had the impression that whoever operated the 14 website -- if not Regus plc itself -- had Regus plc's authority to 15 do so. 16 intentionally or carelessly caused them to believe that the 17 operator of the regus.com website was either Regus plc or its 18 agent. 19 for the purpose of personal jurisdiction. 20 Here, there is no evidence of such a disclaimer. Because the Plaintiffs have made a prima facie showing that Regus plc The regus.com website may therefore be imputed to Regus plc Similarly, the emails that Plaintiffs submit were sent by 21 Regus plc's apparent agents. See ECF Nos. 213-6, 213-7, 213-8. 22 Defendants assert that the authors of all three emails were RMG 23 employees. 24 testimony of one of Defendants' employees, this time RMG's Vice 25 President of Human Resources. 26 Decl.") ¶¶ 2, 3, 5. 27 Regus plc. 28 address in Luxembourg. Once again, those claims are based solely on the See ECF No. 202-3 ("Edmondson However, some of the emails are copyrighted by They all contain a footer listing Regus plc and an There is no mention whatsoever of RMG. 9 The employees of "Regus" with no further specification. 3 6, 213-7, 213-8. 4 made a prima facie showing that Regus plc intentionally or 5 carelessly created the impression that the authors of those emails 6 were Regus plc employees. 7 plc employees, Plaintiffs have made a prima facie showing that the 8 United States District Court employees' titles are listed, but the emails state that they are 2 For the Northern District of California 1 authors of the emails acted as Regus plc's ostensible agents. 9 emails, too, may be imputed to Regus plc for the personal 10 11 ECF Nos. 213- The Court therefore finds that Plaintiffs have Whether or not they were actually Regus The jurisdiction analysis. Having concluded that Plaintiffs have made a prima facie 12 showing that the website and emails may be imputed to Regus plc, 13 the Court now turns to the personal jurisdiction analysis specified 14 by the Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit. 15 B. Specific Jurisdiction 16 The exercise of specific jurisdiction requires three elements: 17 (1) the non-resident must purposefully direct an activity or 18 transaction at the forum state; (2) the claim must arise out of or 19 relate to the defendant's forum-related activities; and (3) 20 personal jurisdiction must comport with traditional notions of fair 21 play and substantial justice. 22 1. The Court examines each in turn. Purposeful Direction 23 The Ninth Circuit has further divided the purposeful direction 24 prong into a three-part test in tort cases: the defendant must have 25 (1) committed an intentional act (2) expressly aimed at the forum 26 state, (3) causing harm that the defendant knows is likely to be 27 suffered in the forum state. 28 Racisme Et L'Antisemitisme, 433 F.3d 1199, 1206 (9th Cir. 2006). Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le 10 Regarding the first part of that test, simply creating and 1 2 registering a website, even a passive one, qualifies as an 3 intentional act. 4 Recordon, 606 F.3d 1124, 1128-29 (9th Cir. 2010); Rio Props., Inc. 5 v. Rio Int'l Interlink, 284 F.3d 1007, 1020 (9th Cir. 2002). 6 Court finds that Regus plc's operation of the regus.com website was 7 an intentional act. 5 United States District Court For the Northern District of California The The next issue is whether that intentional act was expressly 8 9 See, e.g., Brayton Purcell LLP v. Recordon & aimed at California. In the Ninth Circuit, operation of a passive 10 website without "something more" is insufficient to confer 11 jurisdiction. 12 considered in determining whether a defendant has done "something 13 more" are the interactivity of the website, the geographic scope of 14 the defendant's commercial ambitions, and whether the defendant 15 individually targeted a plaintiff known to be a forum resident. 16 Additionally, the forum state has jurisdiction over a defendant who 17 "continuously and deliberately exploited" the market in the forum 18 state through a website. 19 647 F.3d 1218, 1230 (9th Cir. 2011). See Rio Props., 606 F.3d at 1020. Among the factors Mavrix Photo, Inc. v. Brand Techs., Inc., In Mavrix, the Ninth Circuit 20 5 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Regus plc asserts that it cannot be held responsible for the website's advertising and marketing content because that content is developed by Regus Group Services, Ltd. and RMG. See Reply at 9; ECF No. 202-4 ("Sherman Decl.") ¶¶ 2-3. Plaintiffs object to the Sherman declaration because it is phrased in the present tense and refers to a marketing agreement dated August 7, 2012 through which Regus Group Services, Ltd. develops the website content. Plaintiffs argue that Ms. Sherman's statements are irrelevant because they deal only with website content developed after Plaintiffs entered into their office rental agreements. ECF No. 204. The Court agrees. Plaintiffs' objection is SUSTAINED and the declaration is STRICKEN. However, even were the Court to consider Ms. Sherman's declaration, it would be insufficient to overcome Plaintiffs' prima facie case that Regus plc operated the website directly or through an ostensible agent. 11 a specific focus" on certain California industries. 3 held that "the website's subject matter, as well as the size and 4 commercial value of the California market" supported a conclusion 5 that the defendant "anticipated, desired, and achieved a 6 substantial California viewer base." 7 considered two additional factors. 8 United States District Court determined that the defendant "operated a very popular website with 2 For the Northern District of California 1 attracted a nationwide audience, so it could count on reaching 9 consumers in all fifty states. Id. Id. The court The Ninth Circuit also First, the defendant sought and Second, the defendant cultivated a 10 nationwide audience for commercial gain, and therefore could not 11 "characterize the consumption of its products in any state as 12 'random,' 'fortuitous,' or 'attenuated.'" Id. 13 Applying these principles to this case, it is clear that 14 operation of the regus.com website constituted an intentional act 15 expressly aimed at California. 16 regus.com website advertised offices for rent in 37 states, 17 California among them, and in several California cities (including 18 San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, San 19 Mateo, San Bruno, and many others). 20 advertised offices for rent in more than fifteen buildings in San 21 Francisco alone. 22 commercial gain, the Regus companies' revenues derived from 23 California were around ₤60 million 6 each year from 2010 to 2012, 24 6 25 26 27 28 RJN Ex. R. During the relevant period, the RJN Ex. Q. The website also As for cultivating business for These numbers are derived by multiplying the revenue numbers for the Americas published in Regus' publicly available annual reports by the percentages of the Regus Group's revenues that come from California. See RJN Ex. J at PLF00667; RJN Ex. K at PLF00760; RJN Ex. L at PLF00863; ECF No. 187-5 ("Redacted Regus Revenue Stip.") (redacted portions filed under seal). It is somewhat confusing to read the stipulation because, while the stipulation reports the percentages of both RMG and Regus Group revenues derived from 12 1 accounting for over fifteen percent of United States revenues. 2 There can be no doubt that Regus plc intended to, and did, 3 significant business in California through its website. 4 The interactive features of the website are also important. Regus, book a tour of an office, and get a "quick quote" for rental 7 rates. 8 United States District Court The website's interactive features included options to contact 6 For the Northern District of California 5 examples of requests for information submitted to Regus through the 9 website. During jurisdictional discovery, Regus plc turned over One example was a request for information from a 10 potential customer seeking "executive suite space in San 11 Francisco." 12 seal). 13 response it give to inquiries through the website's "contact us" 14 feature. 15 products that Regus offers. 16 name, address, and other information. 17 or any other Regus entity. 18 asserts that RMG, not Regus plc, handled these interactive features 19 of the website. 20 and at this stage factual disputes are resolved in their favor. 21 Even if the Court were to agree that RMG actually operated the 22 interactive features, the absence of any reference to RMG on the 23 website or the response to the "contact us" inquiry would render 24 RMG Regus plc's ostensible agent in operation of those features. 25 Therefore, Plaintiffs have made a prima facie showing that Regus 26 plc operated -- either directly or through an agent -- a website 27 28 ECF No. 187-1 ("Garofolo Decl.") Ex. 9 (filed under Regus plc also turned over an example of the sort of That response provides additional information about the Its footer lists Regus plc's corporate There is no reference to RMG ECF No. 189-4. Once again, Regus plc However, Plaintiffs' evidence suggests otherwise, business in California, the stipulation only reports total revenue figures for RMG. 13 1 with interactive features targeted at Californians and through 2 which Californians interacted with Regus. 3 reasons, the Court finds that operation of the regus.com website 4 was an intentional act aimed at California. 5 For all of these Finally, the intentional act must cause harm the defendant Ninth Circuit found that harm to Californians was foreseeable 8 United States District Court knows is likely to be suffered in the forum state. 7 For the Northern District of California 6 In Marvix, the because a significant number of Californians would have bought the 9 plaintiff's publications. Because the plaintiff alleged copyright 10 infringement of photographs in those publications, the court 11 concluded that it was foreseeable that "a jurisdictionally 12 significant amount of" the plaintiff's harm would be suffered in 13 California. 14 of harm suffered in California is even clearer. 15 website advertised office space in California to Californian 16 residents and businesses. 17 advertisements were misleading and thereby harmed Regus customers, 18 it was eminently predictable that those customers and that harm 19 would be in California. 20 purposefully directed the operations of the regus.com website at 21 California. 22 23 2. Marvix, 647 F.3d at 1232-33. Here, the foreseeability The regus.com If, as alleged, Defendants' The Court finds that Regus plc Claim arises out of the forum-related activities The second requirement for specific jurisdiction is that 24 Plaintiffs' claims arise out of Regus plc's forum related 25 activities. 26 not have been injured 'but for' [Regus plc]'s conduct in 27 [California]." Rio Props., 284 F.3d 1007, 1021. 28 "This requirement is satisfied if [Plaintiffs] would Here, Plaintiffs rented property advertised on the regus.com 14 claiming that Regus provided office space for a low monthly price. 3 According to Plaintiffs, they would not have rented office space 4 from Regus in the absence of the advertising on the website. 5 ¶¶ 46, 57, 72. 6 office space in California through the website constituted an 7 activity purposefully directed at California. 8 United States District Court website. 2 For the Northern District of California 1 They did so after viewing advertisements on the website of Plaintiffs' well-pleaded factual allegations, they would not 9 have rented office space from Regus absent Regus plc's forum- SAC As the Court found previously, the advertising of Assuming the truth 10 related activities. But for Regus plc's activities directed at 11 California, Plaintiffs' alleged injuries would not have occurred. 12 Therefore, the Court finds that Plaintiffs' claims arise out of 13 Regus plc's forum-related activities. 14 C. 15 The Ninth Circuit has developed a multi-factor test for 16 Fair Play and Substantial Justice assessing this aspect of specific personal jurisdiction: 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 The exercise of jurisdiction is reasonable if it comports with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. In determining reasonableness, seven factors are considered: (1) the extent of a defendant's purposeful interjection; (2) the burden on the defendant in defending in the forum; (3) the extent of conflict with the sovereignty of the defendant's state; (4) the forum state's interest in adjudicating the dispute; (5) the most efficient judicial resolution of the controversy; (6) the importance of the forum to the plaintiff's interest in convenient and effective relief; and (7) the existence of an alternative forum." Rio Props., 284 F.3d at 1021. 24 25 Because the Court has found that Plaintiffs have made a prima facie 26 showing under the first two prongs of the specific jurisdiction 27 test, the burden now shifts to Regus plc to show that the exercise 28 of personal jurisdiction would be unfair. 15 Regus plc asserts that it has not purposefully injected itself 1 here. 4 findings. 5 Rican internet business was amenable to suit in Nevada because it 6 had purposefully injected itself into Nevada by running print and 7 radio advertisements for its website in Nevada. 8 United States District Court into California because it has no presence, operations, or assets 3 For the Northern District of California 2 21. 9 directed at California, offering services which would be provided Reply at 12. That hardly matters given the Court's prior In Rio Properties, the Ninth Circuit held that a Costa Id. at 1012, 1020- Here, Regus plc owned and operated a website with advertising 10 in California, and through which Californians interacted with 11 Regus. 12 injection into California favors the exercise of personal 13 jurisdiction. 14 The Court finds that the extent of Regus plc's purposeful Regus plc also asserts that it would be burdened by defending 15 in California. 16 to any international defendant, and, as in Rio Properties, Regus 17 plc "would be so burdened defending in any judicial district in the 18 United States." 19 Regus plc cites no source of conflict with the sovereignty of its 20 home state. 21 adjudicating these claims. 22 in California and the fact it specifically advertises office space 23 here, California has a strong interest in ensuring that its 24 citizens are not harmed by Regus plc's actions. 25 That is likely true. Id. at 1021. However, it applies equally With respect to the third factor, By contrast, California has a strong interest in Given the size of Regus plc's business The fifth factor focuses on the location of the witnesses and 26 evidence. See Menken v. Emm, 503 F.3d 1050, 1060-61 (9th Cir. 27 2007). 28 evidence are here. Plaintiffs assert that most (or all) of their witnesses and Opp'n at 18. Regus plc counters only by 16 1 rehashing its argument under the second factor -- that it would be 2 hard for Regus plc to litigate here. 3 finds that this factor, too, favors Plaintiffs. 4 Reply at 12. Thus the Court The sixth factor assesses the importance of the forum to paramount importance," Menken, 503 F.3d at 1061, this factor favors 7 Plaintiffs. 8 United States District Court Plaintiffs' effective and convenient relief. 6 For the Northern District of California 5 San Francisco that would have a difficult time litigating 9 elsewhere. 10 Though "not of Plaintiff Circle Click is a small business based in Opp'n at 18. The seventh factor considers the existence of a reasonable 11 alternative forum. 12 burden of proving the unavailability of such a forum. 13 conceivable alternative fora are the Channel Islands or Luxembourg, 14 where Regus plc is located. 15 their claims are grounded in California law and specific to 16 California. 17 Regus plc asserts that Plaintiffs bear the The only However, Plaintiffs point out that They might therefore be unavailable elsewhere. On balance, the factors weigh considerably in favor of the 18 reasonable exercise of personal jurisdiction over Regus plc. The 19 first and fourth factors militate particularly strongly in favor of 20 personal jurisdiction. 21 jurisdiction as well, though perhaps not quite so powerfully. 22 third and seventh are neutral. 23 but not in any way unusual for an international defendant. 24 the Ninth Circuit has found that "the factors weigh overwhelmingly 25 in favor of the reasonable exercise of personal jurisdiction" under 26 similar circumstances. 27 Court finds that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over Regus 28 plc comports with the traditional notions of fair play and The fifth and sixth favor personal The Only the second favors Regus plc, Indeed, See Rio Properties, 284 F.3d at 1021. 17 The 1 substantial justice. 2 3 4 5 V. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Regus plc's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is DENIED. 6 7 IT IS SO ORDERED. United States District Court For the Northern District of California 8 9 Dated: October 14, 2014 10 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 18

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.


Why Is My Information Online?