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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
April 12, 2018, Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California; September 18, 2018, Filed
[*600] NGUYEN, Circuit Judge:
A defendant who travels to Nevada and commits an intentional tort there can be sued in that state, absent circumstances that would make such a suit unreasonable. The outcome appears obvious, but we have admittedly created some confusion as to the proper analytical approach to specific jurisdiction in our circuit. Today we take the opportunity to clarify our case law.
Plaintiffs Freestream Aircraft (Bermuda) Limited ("Freestream") and Alireza Ittihadieh sued Defendants John Schmidt and Aero Law Group ("Aero") in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, [**4] alleging that Schmidt made defamatory statements about Freestream at an aviation industry conference in Nevada. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
[*601] We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and reverse.
Freestream is a Bermudan full-service aircraft company in the business jet market. It participates in all aspects of aircraft transactions: brokerage, acquisition, marketing, sales, custom design services, import/export, and maintenance review. Freestream was founded in 1992 by Plaintiff Alireza Ittihadieh, a citizen of the United Kingdom who currently resides in Switzerland.
John Schmidt, a Washington resident, is an attorney at Aero. Aero is a Washington professional corporation that provides transactional legal services to airlines and aircraft owners and operators worldwide. Aero allegedly regularly solicits business in Nevada, including by participating in industry meetings and conventions in the state.
Aero belongs to several trade groups, including the National Business Aviation Association ("NBAA"), and attends trade seminars and conferences around the world. The NBAA holds its annual conferences in various locations, [**5] and, in 2015, held a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Freestream alleges that Schmidt has been attacking its reputation by falsely stating that a transaction structure used by Freestream—a "back-to-back" transaction3—is illegal and unethical and that Freestream only uses this type of transaction.
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905 F.3d 597 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 26388 **
FREESTREAM AIRCRAFT (BERMUDA) LIMITED; ALIREZA ITTIHADIEH, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. AERO LAW GROUP; JOHN SCHMIDT, Defendants-Appellees.
Subsequent History: Rehearing, en banc, denied by Freestream Aircraft (Berm.) Ltd. v. Aero Law Grp., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 30145 (9th Cir. Nev., Oct. 25, 2018)
Later proceeding at Freestream Aircraft (Berm.) Ltd. v. Aero Law Grp., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192992 (D. Nev., Nov. 13, 2018)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. D.C. No. 2:16-cv-01236-JCM-NJK. James C. Mahan, Senior District Judge, Presiding.
Freestream Aircraft (Berm.) Ltd. v. Aero Law Grp., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165047 (D. Nev., Nov. 29, 2016)
Disposition: REVERSED AND REMANDED.
forum state, personal jurisdiction, effects, transactions, back-to-back, minimum contacts test, Defendants', intentional torts, weighs, residents, aviation, tortious, travel, minimum contact, district court, non-resident, prong, defamatory statement, purposefully, allegations, contacts, cases
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Jurisdiction, In Rem & Personal Jurisdiction, In Personam Actions, De Novo Review, In Personam Actions, Due Process, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Jurisdictional Sources, Minimum Contacts, Purposeful Availment