LINDSLEY v. AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY, INC. et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE R. BARCLAY SURRICK ON 7/28/17. 7/28/17 ENTERED AND COPIES EMAILED TO COUNSEL.(jaa, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR
COMPANY, INC., ET AL.
JULY 28 , 2017
Presently before the Court is Defendant Ada Technologies, Inc.’s (“Ada”) Motion for
Reconsideration of this Court’s Order entered on July 7, 2017. (ECF No. 25.) For the following
reasons, Ada’s Motion will be denied.
On April 19, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court asserting the following claims
against Ada: negligence (Count I); strict product liability (Count II); failure to warn (Count IV);
violations under the UTPCPL, 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 201-1 et seq. (Count V); and negligent
infliction of emotional distress (Count VI). Ada filed a Motion to Dismiss all of Plaintiff’s
claims for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2).
(ECF No. 19.) On July 7, 2017, we filed a Memorandum and Order, which denied Ada’s Rule
12(b)(2) Motion, and permitted Plaintiff to conduct jurisdictional discovery. (ECF Nos. 23, 24.)
On July 14, 2017, Ada filed a Motion for Reconsideration, requesting that we vacate our July 7th
Order, and dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction. (Ada Mot., ECF No. 25.)
On July 26, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Memorandum in Opposition to Ada’s Motion. (Pl.’s Mem.,
ECF No. 26.) The factual background surrounding this matter is fully set forth in our July 7,
2017 Memorandum. (See Lindsley v. Am. Honda Motor Co., Inc., No. 16-941, 2017 WL
2930962 (E.D. Pa. July 7, 2017)).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) allows parties to file a motion to alter or amend a
judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). A Rule 59(e) motion is a motion for reconsideration. See
E.D. Pa. Local R. Civ. P. 7.1(g). “The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct
manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.” Harsco Corp. v.
Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985) (citation omitted). A judgment may be altered or
amended if the party seeking reconsideration establishes: “(1) an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court [ruled
on the motion]; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest
injustice.” Max’s Seafood Cafe, by Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir.
“Dissatisfaction with the Court’s ruling is not a proper basis for reconsideration.” Id.
(citation omitted). “The scope of a motion for reconsideration . . . is extremely limited.”
Blystone v. Horn, 664 F.3d 397, 415-16 (3d Cir. 2011); see also Tomasso v. Boeing Co., No. 034220, 2007 WL 2458557, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 24, 2007) (“Because of the courts’ interest in the
finality of judgments, motions for reconsideration should be granted sparingly.” (citation
omitted)). “Such motions are not to be used as an opportunity to relitigate the case; rather, they
may be used only to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence.” Blystone, 664 F.3d at 415; see also United States v. Dupree, 617 F.3d 724, 732 (3d
Cir. 2010) (noting that motions to reconsider will only be granted for “compelling reasons . . .
not for addressing arguments that a party should have raised earlier” (internal quotation marks
omitted)); Mash v. Twp. of Haverford Dep’t of Codes Enf’t, No. 06-4479, 2007 WL 2692333, at
*3 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 11, 2007) (“It is improper on a motion for reconsideration to ask the court to
rethink what it has already thought through-rightly or wrongly.” (citations omitted)).
Ada argues that the July 7th Order must be reconsidered because there has been an
intervening change in controlling law. Specifically, Ada contends that the United States
Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cali., San
Francisco Cty., 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017) establishes that “the ‘stream of commerce’ theory
articulated by Justice Brennan in Asahi Metal is no more[,] and that the more stringent ‘stream of
commerce plus’ test articulated by Justice O’Connor controls.” (Ada Mot. 4.) According to
Ada, our denial of Ada’s Rule 12(b)(2) Motion was based upon Justice Brennan’s stream of
commerce theory, and therefore the July 7th Order must be reconsidered. We reject Ada’s
arguments for a number of reasons.
First, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Bristol-Meyers Squibb on June 19, 2017,
eighteen days before we issued the July 7th Memorandum and Order. Since the decision in
Bristol-Meyers Squibb was published before this Court’s July 7th Order, we had an opportunity
to consider the case before issuing the Order. Accordingly, it does not constitute an intervening
change in controlling law.
Second, even if the Supreme Court had issued its decision in Bristol-Meyers Squibb after
July 7th, our Memorandum and Order would nevertheless remain unchanged. Ada’s assertion
that Bristol-Meyers Squibb established Justice O’Connor’s test as controlling law is plainly
wrong. The Court’s decision in Bristol-Meyers Squibb makes absolutely no mention of either
Justice Brennan or Justice O’Connor’s theories under the stream of commerce doctrine.
Contrary to Ada’s assertions, the Court made its decision through a “straightforward application”
of “settled principles of personal jurisdiction.” Id. at 1783. The case does not establish that
Justice O’Connor’s stream of commerce plus test is controlling.
In Bristol-Meyers Squibb the Supreme Court reviewed the California Supreme Court’s
holding that the defendant was subject to specific jurisdiction with regard to claims brought by
nonresident plaintiffs. The United States Supreme Court noted that “[t]he relevant plaintiffs
[were] not California residents and [did] not claim to have suffered harm in that State.” Id. at
1782. In Bristol-Meyers Squibb, over 600 plaintiffs brought suit in California; however, only
eighty-six of those plaintiffs were actually California residents. The nonresidents did not allege
that they purchased the harmful product in question in California, nor did they allege that they
suffered any injury in California. The United States Supreme Court held that the California
courts lacked specific jurisdiction over the claims of the nonresidents. However, the Court also
noted that “the plaintiffs who are residents of a particular State—for example, the 92 plaintiffs
from Texas and the 71 from Ohio—could probably sue together in their home States.” Id. at
1783. Here, Plaintiff is a resident of Pennsylvania, the forum state, who alleges that she was
injured in Pennsylvania by a defect in her Honda CR-V. Ada’s arguments are unpersuasive. 1
Third, even if Bristol-Meyers Squibb had established that Justice O’Connor’s stream of
commerce plus theory is the applicable standard, we would nevertheless find it inappropriate to
amend our July 7th Order. Ada contends that we applied Justice Brennan’s stream of commerce
theory, rather than Justice O’Connor’s stream of commerce plus theory, as the basis for our July
7th Memorandum and Order. Again, Defendant is wrong. In our July 7th Memorandum, we
We also note that the Court’s decision in Bristol-Meyers Squibb “concern[ed] the due
process limits on the exercise of personal jurisdiction by a State,” and “le[ft] open the question of
whether the Fifth Amendment imposes the same restrictions on . . . a federal court.” Id. at 178485.
determined that it was appropriate to allow Plaintiff to engage in jurisdictional discovery given
the “sheer number of defective gear selectors that Ada sold to Honda, and that Honda placed in
its vehicles.” Lindsley, 2017 WL 2930962, at *5. Based upon that information, we determined
that it was possible for jurisdictional discovery to reveal information sufficient to establish
specific jurisdiction over Ada under “one or more of the stream of commerce theories.” Id.
(emphasis added). Implicit in our Memorandum is the possibility that Ada may have sufficient
minimum contacts with Pennsylvania that would satisfy the Justice O’Connor test. Accordingly,
even if Ada were correct, we would nevertheless permit Plaintiff to engage in jurisdictional
discovery in order to determine if Justice O’Connor’s stream of commerce plus theory applies.
For the foregoing reasons, Ada’s Motion for Reconsideration will be denied. An
appropriate Order follows.
BY THE COURT:
R. BARCLAY SURRICK, J.
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