Senanayake vs Solarmission Technologies, Inc., No. 3:2008cv00210 - Document 90 (D. Nev. 2009)

Court Description: ORDER granting 62 Motion to Dismiss. Clerk shall enter judgment. Defendants Roger Davey and Enviomission terminated. Signed by Judge Brian E. Sandoval on 08/12/09. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - LG)
Download PDF
FILED FIEGEIVEI I ENTERED CIIIJSSEQF/IFJIESZERV E!I gh:l CF8: . 2:8 ) 1 ltli )l CLEDRK ISIUS DISTRIU COURT RICTOFNIVADA 8Y; DEMPTY UNITED STATES DI@TRICT COURT D ISTR ICT O F NEVA DA 3:08-CV-00210-BES-VPC DAYA SENANAYAKE,an individual, Plainti l, O R DER V. DAV ID RO DL1,an individual,ROG ER DAVEY,an individual,and ENVIRO M ISSIO N LTD. an Australian corporation,and SO LARM ISSION TECHNOLOG IES,INC.,a Nevada corporation, Defendants. Currently before the Court is Defendants Roger Davey and Envirom ission LTD.'s MotiontoDismiss(#62)filedonMay5,2009.PlaintiffDayaSenanayake('isenanayake'' )filed an Opposition to RogerDavey and Enviromission Ltd's Motion to Dismiss (#82)on July 5, 2009,and an Erratato Plaintis'sOpposition(#84)onJuly 16,2009.Defendantsfiled a Reply Senanayake vs Solarmission Technologies, Inc. Doc. 90 21 (#83)onJuly 17,2009. BACKG RO UND 22 On January 27,2009,Senanayake filed a FirstAmended Verified Complaint(#35) 23 against various defendants including Roger Dpvey (''Davey'') and Environmission Ltd. 24 ('iEnvironmissionn).Accordingtotheallegationsinthecomplaint,Daveyisanindividualwhose 25 26 ddresidence is in Ceres,Victoria,Australia.'' FirstAmended Complaint(#35)at 2. The com plaintfurtherstates thatDavey ''is a purported directorand president''ofSolarM ission 27 Technologies,lnc.,a Nevada corporation,and in thatcapacity D avey ''authorized,directed or 28 Dockets.Justia.com 1 padicipated''invariousactions'ion behalfofSMT''thatdamaged Senanayake and SMT.Ld=. 2 Asto Envirom ission,the com plaintstatesthati tis ''anAustralian corporation,w ith its principal 3 place ofbusiness inVictoria,Australia.''Ld=.According to the complaint,d'Enviromission has 4 transacted business in the State ofNevada bydirecting itsactivities into Nevada when itm ade 5 a m ergerofferto SMT,and when i tm ade a stock exchange offerto aIIshareholders ofSMT, 6 forthe acquisition ofmajoritycontrolofSMT,a Nevada corporation.''Ld=.at2-3. 7 Davey and Enviromission (collectively referred to herein as 'Defendants'')filed the 8 currentm otion to dism iss on the basis thatthey 'dare both residents ofAustralia and do not 9 have sufficientcontacts w i th the State ofNevada forthis Coud to find that ithas personal 10 jurisdictionoverthem .''(Motionto Dismiss(#62)at2).Accordingto Defendants,llDaveyhas 11 only been to the State ofNevada one tim e,and thatwas to m eetwith attorneys on behalfof 12 SolarM ission in regard to the presentaction.'' 1 . i. Enviromission similarly lacks sulicient . 13 contactswith Nevada because it11has neverm arketed,solicited,ordirected its activities into 14 the State ofNevada,''Ld=.Moreover,Defendantsargue that;$(tJhe alleged actionsunderlying 15 the claim s againstDavey and Envirom ission did nottake place in Nevada,were notdirected 16 toward Nevada,and cannotform a basisforpersonaljurisdictionto existwithin the State of l7 Nevada.''Ld=.at3. 18 DISCUSSION 19 A plaintiffhasthe burden ofestablishing thatthe courthas personaljurisdiction over 20 adefendant. Boschetto v.l -lansino,539 F.3d 1011,1015 (9th Cir.2008). Ifthe districtcourt 21 decides the motion withoutan evidentiary hearing,then the courtllonly inquires into whether 22 the plainti frs pleadings and affidavits make a prima facie showing ofpersonaljurisdiction.'' 23 Ld=.(internalquotations and citations om i tted). ''Uncontroverted allegations in the plaintifrs 24 complaint must be taken as true,''and ''Eclonflicts between the padies overstatements 25 contained inaffidavi ts mustbe resolved inthe plaintil'sfavor.' Ld-u 26 llW hennofederalstatutegovernspersonaljurisdiction,thedistrictcourtappliesthe Iaw 27 oftheforum state.''Ld= ''UnderNevada'sIong-arm statute,the Court'sjurisdictionisasbroad 28 1 as authorized by due process underthe United States Consti tution.''l Klein v Freedom . 2 Strateaic Partners,595 F.supp.zd 1152,1157-58 (D.Nev.zoogltciting Arbella Mut.Ins.Co. 3 v,Eichth JudicialDist.Coud,122 Nev.509,134 P.3d 710,712 (Nev.2006)). Due process 4 requires that a defendant have ''m inim um contacts''w ith the forum state,''dsuch thatthe 5 maintenanceofthesuitdoesnotoffendtradi tionalnotionsoffairplayandsubstantialjustice.''' 6 RioProns..lnc.v.Rio Int'lInterlink,284 F.3d 1007,1019(9thCir.zoozltquotingInt'lShoeCo. 7 v.W ashincton,326 U.S.310,316,66 S.Ct.154,90 L.Ed.95 (1945)). There are two forms # ofpersonaljurisdictionthataforum state mayexerciseoveranonresidentdefendant-general 9 jurisdictionandspecificjurisdiction.Boschetto,539 F.3dat1016. Inthismatter,Senanayake 10 arguesthatthe Courthasboth generaland specificjurisdictionoverthe Defendants. 11 A. GeneralJurisdiction 12 Inordertoexercise generaljurisdiction,a''defendant'scontactswithaforum Imustbe) 13 so substantial,continuous,and system atic thatthe defendantcan be deem ed to be dpresent' 14 inthatforum foralIpurposes.''Menkenv.Emm ,503 F.3d 1050,1057 (9th Cir.2007). Here, 15 theCoudfindsthatthereisnogeneralpersonaljurisdictionovertheDefendants.Senanayake 16 concedes that both Davey and Envirom ission are residents of Australia. M oreover, 17 Senanayake does notprovide anyevidence thatDefendants have substantial,continuous,or 18 systematic contactswith Nevada. Rather,Senanayake's argumentforgeneraljurisdiction 19 relates to Davey and Envirom ission's interactions with SMT, a Nevada corporation. 20 Specifically,SenanayakearguesthatDefendantsare subjecttojurisdiction in Nevada based 21 on the factthat Davey was a directorofSMT forseveralyears,and Environm ission was 22 involved in m ergernegotiationswith SM T.However,these assertionsalone are notsufficient 23 to impose generaljurisdiction on the Defendants.Assuch,thiscase issubjectto dismissal 24 unlessspecificjurisdiction can be imposed. 25 26 27 S pecifically,NRS 14.06541)statesthat:..A courtofthisstatemayexercisejurisdiction over 28 a Party t? a civil action on any tasis not inconsistent with the Constitution of this state ()r the Constltutlon ofthe U nited States.-3 1 B. Specific Jurisdiction 2 The Ninth Circui tappliesathree-pad testtodeterm ine lwhetherthe exercise ofspecific 3 jurisdiction overa nonresidentdefendantis appropriate.' Boschetto,539 F.3d at1016. 4 5 6 7 (1) The non-resident defendant must purposefully direct his activities or consum m ate som e transaction w ith the forum orresidentthereof' !orperform som e actby which he purposefullyavails him sel fofthe privileges ofconducting activi ties in the forum thereby invoking the benefits and protections ofthe Iaws' , (2)the claim mustbe one which arises outoforrelates to the defendant's forum-relatedacti vities' ,and(3)theexerciseofjurisdictionmustcomportwi thfair playand substantialjustice,i.e.itm ustbe reasonable. 8 Ld=.''The plainti ffbearsthe burdenonthe firsttwo prongs.''Ld=.Ifthe plainti fffailsatthe first 9 step,'' the jurisdictionalinquiryends and the case m ustbe dism issed.''Ld=. 10 ln theirm otion to dism iss,Defendants argue thatthey are b0th residents ofAustralia 11 ''and do nothave sufficientcontacts with the State ofNevada forthis Courtto find thatithas 12 personaljurisdiction overthem .' (Motion to Dismiss(#62)at2). According to Defendants, 13 'ItlhefiduciaryshielddoctrinebarsDaveyfrom beingsubjecttopersonaljurisdictioninNevada 14 based uponactionsIhetook)asPresidentofISMTI.''. $.uat4.Moreover,''Davey,individuall y, 15 does nothave sufficientcontactswith the State ofNevada to be subjectto suitItherel.' Ld-. 16 ''Likew ise, Envirom ission Iacks sufficient contact with Nevada'' because ''i t has never 17 conducted businessw ithin the State ofNevada.' .$= Inresponse,Senanayake cl aimsthatthe 18 coud has specificjurisdiction overDavey because he Iisted his business residence as 995 19 ForestStreet,Reno,Nevada 89509 onthe filingsforSMT withthe Nevada Secretaw ofState, 20 and because he acted as ''a purported director''fora Nevada corporation.z (Opposition to 21 Motion to Dismiss (#82)at3). In this regard,Senanayake asseds thatDavey submitted 22 himselftojurisdictionasanindividualbecauseheiididnotholdshareholdermeetings''forSMT 23 and thus 'iviolated (his)fiduciary duties''to thatcompany. . I. t at3-4. Asto Envirom ission, 24 Senanayake argues thatit is subjectto specific jurisdiction because Enviromission was 25 engaged in m ergernegotiations with SMT and SM T is 11a corporation registered in Nevada 26 27 2 A ccording to Senanayake.D avo , has sufticientcontactw ith N evada because he filed annual 28 returnsand otherdocum ents on SM T'S behalfw ith the N evada Secretary ofState. See O pposition to M otion to Dism iss(/82)at7). l underthe Iaws of Nevada w ith a Registered Office in Nevada and a Registered Agentin 2 Nevada.' Ld-uat13. Speci fically,Senanayake alleges thatEnviromission made an olerto 3 SMT shareholders to 'dexchange shares held in a Nevada corporation.''Ld=. 4 'Underthefiduciaryshield doctrine,a person's mere associationw itha corporationthat 5 causes injury in the forum state is notsufficientin itselfto perm i tthatforum to assert 6 jurisdiction overthe person.''Davisv.Metro Prods..Inc.,885 F.2d 515,52O (9th Cir.1989). 7 ''The Nevada Supreme Coud has notdeterm ined the status ofthe fiduciary shield doctrine in 8 Nevada,and othercourts disagree as to the extentofi ts application.'' Klein,595 F.supp.zd 9 at 1158. ' dNevedheless,precedentfrom the United States Suprem e Courtand the Ninth 10 Circuit establishes that any application of the fiduciary shield doctrine is Iim ited.'' Ld=. 11 ''Specifically,although the Courtcannotacquire personaljurisdiction overemployeesbased 12 on theirem ployers'forum activi ties,dtheirstatus as em ployees does notsom ehow insulate 13 them from jurisdiction.'''Ld-.(quoting Davis,885 F.2d at521). Rather,'ithe courtm ustassess 14 each defendant's contacts individually.' I J-v . 15 In this m atter,assessing Davey's contacts individually,the Courtfinds thatDavey did 16 not m aintain contacts with Nevada sufficientto authorize this Coud to exercise personal 17 jurisdiction overhim in an individualcapacity. As noted in the complaint,Davey is nota 18 resident of Nevada. In addi tion, Davey has provided evidence that he 'dhas only been to 19 Nevada one time,and thatwasto meetwith attorneysfrom ISMT)in regardsto the present 20 Iawsuit.''(Motionto Dismiss (#62)atExhibit1). Moreover,Davey hasnotdirected business 21 activities toward Nevada,and none ofthe acts thatform the basis ofPlaintiffs claim s took 22 place in Nevada.I J..AlthoughSenanayakearguesthatthisCoud hasjurisdictionoverDavey, . 23 Senanayake hasfailed to show thatDaveypurposefullyavailed him sel findividuallyto Nevada. 24 Rather,Senanayake focuses on the factthatDavey was a directorand officerofa Nevada 25 corporation and took action in thatcapacity. However,any forum -related contactby Davey 26 w asm ade on behalfofthe corporation.Senanayake did notallege thatDaveywasconducting 27 businessin Nevada inan individualcapacity,orthatDaveywas conducting personalactivi ties 28 in Nevada.Based on the foregoing,dism issalofthe claim s againstDaveyforlackofpersonal 5 1 jurisdiction isappropriate. 2 In addition,the claim s againstEnvirom ission are also dism issed forIack ofpersonal 3 jurisdiction. Like Davey, Enviromission is not a resident of Nevada. ln addi tion, 4 Envirom ission's alleged m erger activities with SM T did notcreate sufficient contacts with 5 Nevada to authorize this Coud to exercise personaljurisdiction over it. Specifically, 6 Envirom ission neverm arketed,solicited orconducted business activities w ithin the State of 7 Nevada,anddidnotdirectitsactivitiestowardNevada.(Motionto Dismiss(#62)atExhibit1). 8 Although Envirom issionwasengaged in mergernegotiationsw i th SM T,those negotiationshad 9 no relation to this forum outside the factthatSM T is a Nevada corporation. In this regard, 10 none ofthe negotiations occurred w i thin Nevada,norw ere any ofthe representatives ofeither 11 Envirom ission or SM T residents of Nevada. $=. Moreover,the mergerneveroccurred. . 12 Finally,the stock exchange oRer m ade by Envirom ission to SMT did not create sufficient 13 contacts because none ofthe shareholders orwarrantholdersofSMT were Iocated w i thinthe 14 State ofNevada.Assuch,this CourtlackspersonaljurisdictionoverEnvirom ission. 15 16 CONCLUSION Based on the foregoing, IT IS O RDERED that Defendants Roger Davey and 17 Envirom ission Ltd.'s Motionto Dism iss (#62)isGRANTED. 18 The Clerkofthe Courtshallenterjudgmentaccordingl y. l9 20 DATED:Thi s Ik dayofAugust,2009. 2l 22 UNITED STAT S DISTRICT JUDGE 23 24 25 26 27 28 6