United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
C.C., through his natural mother and guardian, MELANIE GINNEVER, Plaintiff(s),
SUZUKI MANUFACTURING OF AMERICA CORPORATION, et al., Defendant(s).
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD WEBBER, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Suzuki Motor
Corporation's Motion to Dismiss .
August 4, 2016, Plaintiff C.C., through his mother and
natural guardian, Melanie Ginnever, filed a complaint in this
District alleging Defendants Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.
(“SMAI”) and Suzuki Manufacturing of America
Corporation (“SMAC”) sold a defective all-terrain
vehicle (“ATV”) that was unreasonably dangerous
when put to its reasonably anticipated use and these
Defendants were negligent in designing, manufacturing,
marketing, suppling, selling, leasing and otherwise
distributing and placing in the stream of commerce the
subject ATV [ECF No. 1]. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed SMAI
and on June 21, 2017, filed an amended complaint adding
Suzuki Motor Corporation (“SMC”) as a defendant [
ECF No. 41]. The following counts are included in the amended
complaint: (1) Strict Product Liability against SMAC; (2)
Negligence against SMAC; (3) Strict Product Liability against
SMC; and (4) Negligence against SMC.
purposes of this Motion to Dismiss, the Court accepts as true
the following facts alleged in Plaintiff's amended
complaint. Great Rivers Habitat Alliance v. Fed.
Emergency Mgmt. Agency, 615 F.3d 958, 988 (8th Cir.
2010). On July 19, 2015, Plaintiff was driving a 2013 Suzuki
KingQuad ATV, VIN 5SAAK4CAAD7100094 (“the subject
ATV”) near Silva, Missouri. As Plaintiff drove the
subject ATV up an embankment, he lost control. When he
gripped the handlebars, the left rubber handlebar grip
slipped off, exposing the metal handlebar. The exposed
handlebar impaled Plaintiff's left leg, severing his
femoral artery. Plaintiff is a citizen and resident of
Missouri. SMAC is incorporated in Georgia, with its principal
place of business in Georgia. SMC is a Japanese Corporation,
with its principal place of business in Japan.
filed the pending Motion to Dismiss challenging the
Court's jurisdiction arguing Plaintiff failed to properly
serve SMC and the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over SMC.
federal court may exercise jurisdiction over a foreign
defendant only to the extent permitted by the forum
state's long-arm statute and by the Due Process Clause of
the Constitution.” Miller v. Nippon Carbon
Co., 528 F.3d 1087, 1090 (8th Cir. 2008) (internal
quotations and citation omitted). The Missouri Supreme Court
has held a court must analyze whether a defendant's
conduct is covered by the Missouri long-arm statute and if it
comports with due process in two separate inquiries.
Myers v. Casino Queen, Inc., 689 F.3d 904, 909 (8th
Cir. 2012) (citing Bryant v. Smith Interior Design Grp.,
Inc., 310 S.W.3d 227, 231 (Mo. 2010)).
personal jurisdiction is controverted, the party asserting
jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing a prima facie
case that jurisdiction exists. Fastpath, Inc. v. Arbela
Tech., Corp., 760 F.3d 816, 820 (8th Cir. 2014) Thus,
“[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must
state sufficient facts in the complaint to support a
reasonable inference that [the defendant] may be subjected to
jurisdiction in the forum state.” Steinbuch v.
Cutler, 518 F.3d 580, 585 (8th Cir. 2008) (internal
citation omitted). “The plaintiff's ‘prima
facie showing' must be tested, not by the pleadings
alone, but by the affidavits and exhibits presented with the
motions and opposition thereto.” Dever v. Hentzen
Coatings, Inc., 380 F.3d 1070, 1072-73 (8th Cir. 2004)
(internal quotations and citation omitted). Personal
jurisdiction can be established through either general or
specific jurisdiction. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134
S.Ct. 746 (2014).
Motion to Dismiss, SMC asserts two arguments as to why the
Court lacks jurisdiction over SMC. First, SMC argues
Plaintiff failed to properly serve SMC, because Plaintiff
served Carl Pesce and Bruce McCall, who are not registered
agents for SMC. Second, SMC contends the Court lacks personal
jurisdiction over SMC, because SMC is a Japanese corporation,
with its principal place of business in Japan, and it has no
contacts with Missouri. The Court will address the issue of
personal jurisdiction first, and then the lack of service
asserts the Court lacks general and specific jurisdiction
under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of
the United States Constitution and the Missouri long-arm
statute. Plaintiff argues maintenance of this suit in
Missouri does not offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice. As stated supra, the Court must
conduct separate inquiries into whether it has ...