Court Grants Plaintiffs Opportunity to Identify Brake Brand before Ruling on Motion to Quash

Court: Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles

Plaintiffs Samson Bareh and Gen Bareh filed this matter, alleging Samson developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos. Defendant Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Inc. filed the within motion to quash service of summons for lack of personal jurisdiction.

The plaintiff had made no specific allegations against Aftermarket, and the complaint alleged nothing about Aftermarket, except to name it as a defendant.

A defendant may move to quash service of summons on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the court over him or her. Code Civ. Proc., § 418.10, subd. (a)(1). The court may dismiss without prejudice the complaint in whole, or as to that defendant, when dismissal is pursuant to Section 418.10. Code Civ. Proc., § 581, subd. (h).

“The Due Process Clause protects an individual’s liberty interest in not being subject to the binding judgments of a forum with which he has established no meaningful ‘contacts, ties, or relations.'” Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz (1985) 471 U.S. 462, 471-472. A state court may not exercise personal jurisdiction over a party under circumstances that would offend “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Asahi Metal Industry Co., Ltd., v. Superior Court of California, Solano County (1987) 480 U.S. 102, 113.

When a defendant moves to quash service of process on jurisdictional grounds, the plaintiff has the initial burden of demonstrating facts justifying the exercise of jurisdiction. Jayone Foods, Inc. v. Aekyung Industrial Co. Ltd. (2019) 31 Cal.App.5th 543, 553. Once facts showing minimum contacts with the forum state are established, the defendant has the burden to demonstrate that the exercise of jurisdiction would be unreasonable. Ibid.

Here, general jurisdiction over Aftermarket was not in dispute.

Regarding specific jurisdiction, Aftermarket did not deny contact with California. Rather, it argued the plaintiffs “must show that his claims arise out of the supply of a particular Aftermarket product [in] California, not merely that Aftermarket sold other products in California.”

Because the plaintiffs failed to identify the brand of brakes that Aftermarket allegedly supplied to California, and allegedly exposed the plaintiff to asbestos, they had not yet met their burden. Accordingly, the court continued the motion to allow the plaintiffs time to identify the brand of brakes Aftermarket allegedly supplied to the plaintiff’s employer.

Read the full decision here.