Gulick v. Lynden, Inc et al
ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. ; granting 7 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction; adopting Findings and Recommendations re 17 Findings and Recommendations. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Magistrate Judge Lynch's Findin gs and Recommendations ADOPTED IN FULL. West Point Dairy's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction is GRANTED. The claims in this case related to West Point Dairy Products, LLC are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 11/16/2016. (ELL, ) Modified on 11/16/2016 to indicate that a copy was mailed to pro se Plaintiff Gulick by US Mail (ELL, ).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
LYNDEN, INC., a Washington
Corporation, aka and dba LTI, Inc. and
MILKY WAY; WEST POINT
DAIRY, a Utah Corporation; and
DOES 1-10 inclusive,
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE
JUDGE’S FINDINGS AND
Defendant West Point Dairy Products, LLC (“West Point Dairy”) moves to
dismiss pro se Plaintiff Gilbert Gulick’s complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction
under Rule 12(b)(2). United States Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch entered
Findings and Recommendations in this matter. (Doc. 17.) Judge Lynch
recommended that the Court grant West Point Dairy’s motion. No objections have
The Court has reviewed Judge Lynch’s Findings and Recommendations for
clear error. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Commodore Bus. Mach., Inc., 656 F.2d
1309, 1313 (9th Cir. 1981). The Court finds no error.
Gulick is a Montana resident who was formerly employed as a truck driver
for Defendant Lynden, Inc. (“Lynden”), a Washington-based corporation that
conducts bulk milk hauling throughout the Northwestern United States. Gulick
alleges that Lynden terminated his employment based on false allegations of sexual
harassment by a female employee of West Point Dairy in Hyrum, Utah. Gulick
filed a complaint alleging a wrongful discharge claim against Lynden, a tortious
interference claim against West Point Dairy, and a defamation claim against both
West Point Dairy is a Wisconsin limited liability company headquartered in
Greenwood, Wisconsin. West Point Dairy has three dairy manufacturing facilities
located in West Point, Nebraska, Hyrum, Utah, and Richland Center, Wisconsin.
West Point Diary sells its products to wholesale distributers. West Point Dairy
ships no goods into Montana. West Point Dairy is not registered to do business in
Montana, does not have any operations in Montana, and does not manufacture any
goods in Montana. And West Point Dairy does not procure any materials or
supplies from Montana, or have any employees or agents in Montana.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) authorizes dismissal when a court
lacks personal jurisdiction over the defendant. As a general rule, “personal
jurisdiction over a defendant is proper if it is permitted by a long-arm statute and if
the exercise of that jurisdiction does not violate federal due process.” Pebble Beach
Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154-55 (9th Cir. 2006). Montana’s long arm statute
is set forth in Rule 4(B)(1) of the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure, and
“embodies principles of both general and specific jurisdiction.” Poliseno v. Credit
Suisse Securities (USA), LLC, 2013 WL 1767951 *2 (D. Mont. Apr. 24, 2013).
West Point Dairy is not subject to specific or general jurisdiction under
Montana’s long-arm statute. West Point Dairy does not have substantial or
continuous and systematic contacts with Montana, which means it cannot be found
within the state of Montana for purposes of general jurisdiction. Rule 4(B)(1), M.
R. Civ. P.; Bi-Lo Foods, Inc. v. Alpine Bank, 955 P.2d 154, 157 (Mont. 1998). It is
not registered to do business in Montana, and does not maintain any operations or
employees here. It does not ship any goods into Montana, does not procure any
materials or supplies from here, and does not otherwise maintain a presence in
Montana. West Point Dairy cannot be found in Montana. As a result, this
Court lacks general personal jurisdiction.
The Court also lacks specific jurisdiction. Mont. R. Civ. P. 4(B)(1)(a)-(g);
Bi-Lo Foods, 955 P.2d at 157. The allegedly tortious conduct of which Gulick
complains took place at West Point Dairy’s facility in Hyrum, Utah. No reason
exists to believe that any alleged conversations between West Point Dairy and
Gulick’s Washington-based employer would have taken place in Montana. Taking
the allegations in the complaint as true, and construing them liberally in Gulick’s
favor, there is no indication that West Point Dairy engaged in any of the activities
sufficient to confer specific jurisdiction.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Magistrate Judge Lynch’s Findings and
Recommendations (Doc. 17) is ADOPTED IN FULL. West Point Dairy’s motion
to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction is GRANTED. The
claims in this case related to West Point Dairy Products, LLC are DISMISSED
Dated this 16th day of November, 2016.
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