Law School Case Brief
Surface Supplied Inc. v. Kirby Morgan Dive Sys. - No. C 13-575 MMC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75519 (N.D. Cal. May 29, 2013)
A corporate defendant subject to personal jurisdiction in a state is deemed to reside in any judicial district in the state within which its contacts would be sufficient to subject it to personal jurisdiction, if the district were a separate state.
Plaintiff Surface Supplied Inc. (Surface) is a California corporation, established on June 30, 2011, whose principal place of business is the Northern District of California, and whose three employees reside in that district. Surface Supplied "is engaged in the business of research, design, development and manufacture of digital gas analyzer and depth gauge products for the commercial diving industry. On January 22, 2013, Kirby Morgan, a corporation that sells commercial diving helmets and surface gas controllers and analyzers sent Surface Supplied a cease and desist letter, by which letter Kirby Morgan accused Surface of infringing its trademarks and demanded that Surface cease its use of the infringing images. Surface filed a declaration of non-infringement of Kirby Morgan's federally registered trademarks. Kirby’s facilities and most of its employees were in the Central District. Defendant Kirby filed a motion to dismiss the action, or, in the alternative, to transfer venue to the District Court for the Central District of California. Plaintiff has filed opposition, to which defendant has replied.
Did corporate defendant can be deemed to reside in a judicial district in the state, if its contacts would not be sufficient to subject it to personal jurisdiction if the district were a separate state?
A civil action may be brought in a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located. Surface is the defendant in the Central District action, and, consequently, for purposes of determining venue for the action, the Court must determine whether Surface resides in the Central District. "[I]n a State which has more than one judicial district and in which a defendant that is a corporation is subject to personal jurisdiction at the time an action is commenced, such corporation shall be deemed to reside in any district in that State within which its contacts would be sufficient to subject it to personal jurisdiction if that district were a separate State." As a "California corporation" with its "principal place of business" in California, Surface is subject to personal jurisdiction in California, a state having more than one judicial district. Because California's long-arm jurisdictional statute is coextensive with federal due process requirements, the jurisdictional analyses under state law and federal due process are the same.
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