George v. Uponor, Inc. et al
ORDER denying 172 Defendant Uponor Corporation's Motion to Reconsider (Written Opinion). Signed by Judge Ann D. Montgomery on 04/14/2014. (TLU)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Tim George, Charles and Jamie Gibbs,
William and Corie Connelly, Galen and Leslie
Satterlee, Gail Henrichsen, Dustin and Martha
Barnett, Dave and Holly Marcus, Kelly Babb,
and Gary and Elsa Overstreet, individually
and on behalf of all others similarly situated,
Civil No. 12-249 ADM/JJK
Uponor Corporation, Uponor Group,
Uponor, Inc., Wirsbo Company, and
Uponor Wirsbo Company,
Scott K. Canepa, Esq., and Terry W. Riedy, Esq., Canepa, Riedy & Rubino, APC, Las Vegas,
NV; Robert K. Shelquist, Esq., Lockridge Grindal Nauen, PLLP, Minneapolis, MN; Lawrence
Deutsch, Esq., and Jacob Polakoff, Esq., Berger & Montague, PC, Philadelphia, PA; J. Randall
Jones, Esq., Kemp, Jones & Coulthard, LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Shawn M. Raiter, Esq., Larson
King, LLP, St. Paul, MN; Charles J. LaDuca, Esq., Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP, Washington,
DC; Charles E. Schaffer, Esq., Levin Fishbein Sedran & Berman, Philadelphia, PA; Michael A.
McShane, Esq., Audet & Partners, LLP, San Francisco, CA; P. Kyle Smith, Esq., Lynch, Hopper
Salzano & Smith, LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Troy L. Isaacson, Esq., Maddox, Isaacson & Cisneros,
LLP, Las Vegas, NV; James D. Carraway, Esq., Carraway & Associates, LLC, Las Vegas, NV;
Kenneth S. Kasdan, Esq., Kasdan Simonds Weber & Vaughan LLP, Irvine, CA; and Graham B.
LippSmith, Esq., Girardi Keese, Los Angeles, CA, on behalf of Plaintiffs.
John R. Schleiter, Esq., Howard L. Lieber, Esq., and Daniel W. Berglund, Esq., Grotefeld,
Hoffmann, Schleiter, Gordon & Ochoa, LLP, Chicago, IL, and Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of
This matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on
Defendant Uponor Corporation’s (“Uponor Corp.”) Motion for Reconsideration [Docket No.
172]. Uponor Corp. seeks reconsideration of the Court’s December 23, 2013 Order [Docket No.
155]; specifically, it seeks reconsideration of the decision denying Uponor Corp.’s motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiffs oppose the motion.
As an initial matter, Uponor Corp. has failed to comply with Local Rule 7.1(j), which
requires any party intending to file a motion to reconsider to first obtain leave from the court to
do so, by submitting a letter brief not exceeding two pages. D. Minn. L.R. 7.1(j). On this basis
alone, Uponor Corp.’s motion could be validly denied. In the interest of efficiency, however,
Uponor Corp.’s primary basis for reconsideration is addressed briefly.
Uponor Corp.’s motion for reconsideration is based largely on a recent decision by the
United States Supreme Court. See Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014). In Bauman,
the Court reversed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, finding defendant DaimlerChrysler
Aktiengesellschaft (“Daimler”) was not subject to general personal jurisdiction in California due
to the contacts of its subsidiary Mercedes–Benz USA, LLC (“MBUSA”). The Court held that
even under the agency theory of jurisdiction used by the Ninth Circuit, MBUSA’s business in
California did not render Daimler subject to personal jurisdiction there. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. at
Uponor Corp. unpersuasively argues that Bauman upends this Court’s basis for
exercising personal jurisdiction in this case. In Bauman, the subsidiary MBUSA was organized
under the laws of Delaware, had its principal place of business in New Jersey, and conducted
business nationwide. MBUSA’s chief contacts with California were its distribution of vehicles
and its establishment of regional facilities. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. at 751-52. The Supreme Court
declined to find personal jurisdiction over Daimler merely by virtue of MBUSA’s business in
California, even assuming this business could be imputed to Daimler. Holding otherwise, the
Court reasoned, would broadly and unfairly expose multi-state or multi-national corporations to
jurisdiction in many states.
In contrast, Uponor Corp.’s subsidiary in this case, Uponor, Inc., does not simply conduct
business in Minnesota. Unlike MBUSA, Uponor, Inc.’s principal place of business is in the
forum state, and Uponor Corp. conducts much if not most of its American operations, in addition
to sales, through Uponor, Inc. Finding personal jurisdiction over Uponor Corp. in Minnesota on
this basis does not broadly expose the parent company to jurisdiction in any state where it
This Court is also not persuaded by Uponor Corp.’s characterization of the December 23,
2013 Order as applying agency theory by another name. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
has affirmatively rejected agency theory in this context, and the December 23, 2013 Order
applied Eighth Circuit precedent accordingly. See Viasystems, Inc. v. EBM-Papst St. Georgen
GmbH & Co., KG, 646 F.3d 589 (8th Cir. 2011). Even if Uponor Corp.’s characterization was
accurate, the Supreme Court did not universally reject the agency theory. Instead, the Supreme
Court criticized the Ninth Circuit’s broad application of the theory without explicitly rejecting it
as invalid. See Bauman, 134 S. Ct. at 759-60 (holding the Ninth Circuit’s definition of agency
“appears” to conflict with Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 131 S. Ct. 2846
(2011)). Even so, the Court proceeded to apply the Ninth Circuit’s agency theory of personal
jurisdiction and only then found jurisdiction lacking. See Bauman, 134 S. Ct. at 761-62.
Also contrary to Uponor Corp.’s arguments, the Supreme Court expressly acknowledged
the existence of the more “rigorous” alter ego theory of jurisdiction but deliberately made no
ruling as to its validity. Id. at 759. Rather, the Supreme Court held only that the plaintiffs had
failed to demonstrate that MBUSA was an alter ego of Daimler. Id. at 758.
In this case, the Court did not expressly find an alter ego but nevertheless found, in
accordance with Eighth Circuit precedent, that Uponor Corp. so “controlled and dominated”
Uponor, Inc. that exercising personal jurisdiction comported with due process. See Anderson v.
Dassault Aviation, 361 F.3d 449 (8th Cir. 2004); Viasystems, 646 F.3d at 596. Uponor Corp.
has not demonstrated clear error in this conclusion.
Based upon all the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
that Uponor Corporation’s Motion for Reconsideration of the Court’s December 23, 2013 Order
[Docket No. 172 ] is DENIED.
BY THE COURT:
s/Ann D. Montgomery
ANN D. MONTGOMERY
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: April 14, 2014.
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