Hodjera et al v. BASF Catalysts, LLC et al

Filing 186

ORDER denying plaintiff's 164 Motion to Amend Complaint, signed by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (SWT)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 9 10 MATTHEW HODJERA and SYLVIA HODJERA, 11 Plaintiffs, v. 12 13 BASF CATALYSTS LLC, et al., Case No. C17-48RSL ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT Defendants. 14 15 16 This matter comes before the Court on plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend their 17 complaint. Dkt. # 164. The Court previously dismissed without prejudice the plaintiffs’ claims 18 against defendants Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc., Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., 19 Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Volkswagen Group of Canada, Dana Companies, LLC, Dana 20 Canada Corp., Imerys Talc America Inc., and Honeywell International Inc., but indicated that if 21 plaintiffs were able to remedy the deficiencies identified, they were free to move to amend their 22 complaint by Friday, June 2, 2017. Dkt. ## 153, 155, 156, 157, 162, 163. This motion follows. 23 Having reviewed the memoranda of the parties and the remainder of the record, the Court denies 24 plaintiffs’ motion for the reasons that follow.1 25 26 1 The Court concludes that this matter is suitable for resolution without oral argument. Accordingly, defendants’ requests for argument, Dkt. ## 170, 171, 172, are denied. 27 28 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT - 1 1 According to the original complaint, Mr. Hodjera was exposed to asbestos or asbestos- 2 containing products in Toronto, Ontario, between 1986 and 1994. Dkt. # 1-1 at 4. On May 20, 3 2016, Mr. Hodjera was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Id. On December 2, 2016, plaintiffs filed 4 suit in King County Superior Court, alleging that Mr. Hodjera’s mesothelioma had been 5 proximately caused by the manufacture, sale, and/or distribution of asbestos-containing products 6 by the following defendants: BASF Catalysts LLC; BorgWarner Morse Tec Inc.; Central 7 Precision Limited; Charles B. Chrystal Company, Inc.; Dana Companies, LLC; Dana Canada 8 Corp.; DAP Products, Inc.; Felt Products Mfg. Co.; Honeywell International Inc.; Imerys Talc 9 America, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.; Pneumo 10 Abex LLC; Union Carbide Corporation; Vanderbilt Minerals LLC; Volkswagen 11 Aktiengesellschaft; Volkswagen Group of Canada; Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.; 12 Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc.; and Does 1–350, inclusive. Dkt. # 1-1 at 2–3. On January 11, 13 2017, defendant Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. removed the case. Dkt. # 1. As noted 14 above, the Court granted various motions to dismiss on the grounds that plaintiffs’ original 15 complaint lacked sufficient factual allegations to establish specific jurisdiction in Washington. 16 Dkt. ## 153, 155, 156, 157, 162, 163. 17 Courts “should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so requires.” Fed. R. Civ. 18 P. 15(a)(2). There is a “strong policy in favor of allowing amendment” after “considering four 19 factors: bad faith, undue delay, prejudice to the opposing party, and the futility of amendment.” 20 Kaplan v. Rose, 49 F.3d 1363, 1370 (9th Cir. 1994). The underlying purpose of Rule 15 is “to 21 facilitate decision on the merits, rather than on the pleadings or technicalities.” Lopez v. Smith, 22 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000). However, if the proposed amendment would be futile (i.e., 23 it would be immediately subject to dismissal if challenged under Rule 12(b)(6)), there is no 24 reason to put defendants through the unnecessary expense and delay of responding to the 25 amendment. Nordyke v. King, 644 F.3d 776, 787 n.12 (9th Cir. 2011). 26 Plaintiffs’ proposed amended complaint substantially elaborates on the claims raised in 27 28 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT - 2 1 their original complaint. See Dkt. # 164-1. The proposed amended complaint now contains 2 detailed factual allegations about Mr. Hodjera’s work in an automotive repair department in 3 Ontario, Canada during the summer of 1986, including allegations that Mr. Hodjera worked with 4 vehicles and parts containing asbestos that were manufactured and/or distributed by various 5 defendants. Dkt. # 164-1 at 7–11. 6 Plaintiffs’ proposed amended complaint does not, however, remedy the jurisdictional 7 deficiencies identified in the Court’s earlier orders. As in their original complaint, plaintiffs 8 argue that specific jurisdiction in Washington exists over various corporate defendants whose 9 products exposed Mr. Hodjera to asbestos in Canada. Accordingly, plaintiffs still fail to satisfy 10 the second prong of the specific jurisdiction test: the requirement that their claims arise out of 11 the defendant’s purposeful contacts with the forum state. There is no allegation that 12 Mr. Hodjera’s asbestos exposure would not have occurred but for the defendants’ contacts with 13 Washington. See Doe v. American Nat. Red Cross, 112 F.3d 1048, 1051 (9th Cir. 1997). 14 Because plaintiffs’ proposed amended complaint fails to remedy the previously identified 15 jurisdictional deficiencies in their original complaint, amendment of plaintiffs’ complaint to 16 reinitiate suit against the dismissed defendants – Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc.; Volkswagen 17 Group of America, Inc.; Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft; Volkswagen Group of Canada; Dana 18 Companies, LLC; Dana Canada Corp.; Imerys Talc America Inc.; and Honeywell International 19 Inc. – would be futile. See Nordyke, 644 F.3d at 787 n.12. The claims against those defendants, 20 which were previously dismissed without prejudice, are hereby dismissed with prejudice. 21 22 For the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend their complaint (Dkt. # 164) is DENIED. 23 Dated this 31st day of July, 2017. 24 A 25 Robert S. Lasnik United States District Judge 26 27 28 ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT - 3

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?