Unpublished Disposition, 861 F.2d 268 (9th Cir. 1988)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 861 F.2d 268 (9th Cir. 1988)

HCC DESIGN, INC., an Oregon corporation; James Moodhe;Roger Krage, Plaintiffs-Appellants,v.DESCENTE, LTD., Defendant-Appellee.

No. 87-3725.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Argued and Submitted July 13, 1988.Decided Oct. 26, 1988.

Before SKOPIL, ALARCON and FERGUSON, Circuit Judges.


HCC Design, Inc., James Moodhe and Roger Krage ("Design"), appeal the district court's grant of Descente, Ltd.'s ("Descente") motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. We affirm.

The pertinent undisputed facts are set forth below.

In spring of 1983, Design incorporated in Oregon for the purpose of distributing sportswear manufactured and designed by HCC S.A., a Swiss corporation. During the relevant time period, Descente, a Japanese corporation, owned 46% of the shares of HCC S.A. Descente and HCC S.A., however, were separate and distinct corporate entities.

On June 29, 1983, Paul Beaunardel entered into an employment agreement with Descente under which Descente would pay Beaunardel's salary as chief executive officer of HCC S.A.

Takahisa Oguri was employed by Descente until at least September, 1983. Through a "seconding" agreement to HCC S.A., Descente continued to pay Oguri's salary for his work as a business advisor to HCC S.A. Beaunardel and Oguri operated the day-to-day business of HCC S.A.

In October, 1983, negotiations between Design and HCC S.A. culminated with the execution of an exclusive Distribution and Licensing Agreement ("Distribution Agreement"). Descente was not mentioned in the Distribution Agreement.

On March 13, 1986, Design filed a complaint against Descente alleging that Beaunardel, as an employee of Descente acting within the course of that employment on behalf of HCC S.A., negligently and intentionally interfered with the Distribution Agreement. Descente moved to dismiss, on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction and forum non conveniens. Design's opposition to the motion included allegations concerning Oguri's actions in relation to the alleged torts committed by Descente.

On February 11, 1987, the district court granted Descente's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Design timely appealed.

In order to defeat Descente's motion to dismiss, Design's pleadings and affidavits must establish a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts. Data Disc, Inc. v. Systems Tech. Assoc., Inc., 557 F.2d 1280, 1286 (9th Cir. 1977). Where a nonresident defendant lacks sufficient contacts with the forum state to support general jurisdiction, we apply a three-part test to determine whether "the nature and quality of defendant's contacts in relation to the cause of action", id. at 1287, can support limited personal jurisdiction:

(1) The nonresident defendant must do some act or consummate some transaction with the forum or perform some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws. (2) The claim must be one which arises out of or results from the defendant's forum-related activities. (3) Exercise of jurisdiction must be reasonable.


Exercise of jurisdiction over Descente would not be reasonable since Design has not shown that Descente had any contacts in relation to this cause of action. There is no evidence to show that either Beaunardel or Oguri had any authority to bind Descente in their dealings with HCC S.A. There is no evidence of any agreement--written or oral--between Design and Descente. Moreover, the torts alleged in the complaint arise solely from the Distribution Agreement between Design and HCC S.A. Descente was not a party to that Agreement, and there is no evidence that Descente ever represented that it would be responsible for problems arising out of the Distribution Agreement. Any contacts with the forum state resulting from the actions of Beaunardel and Oguri were between Design and HCC S.A., not between Design and Descente.

Design has not, therefore, demonstrated that Descente purposefully availed itself to Oregon through any forum-related activities. Cf. Sinatra v. National Enquirer, Inc., No. 86-6527, slip op. at 10124 (9th Cir. Aug. 23, 1988) (defendant purposefully availed itself of jurisdiction in forum by pursuing clients in forum); Data Disc, 557 F.2d at 1287-88 (defendant purposefully availed itself of jurisdiction in forum by participating in contract negotiations in forum). The mere facts that Beaunardel was compensated by Descente, and that Oguri gave Design a business card identifying him as Descente's representative and professed to be an agent of Descente's, do not show otherwise.

Thus Design has not satisfied its burden of showing that Descente--through Beaunardel and Oguri--had sufficient contacts to establish Oregon's jurisdiction over the causes of action alleged in Design's complaint.



This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3