Automotive Parts Manufacturer Granted Dismissal due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

In another decision out of the Hodjera suit in the Western District of Washington, the motions to dismiss of Dana Companies, LLC and Dana Canada Corporation (the defendants), were granted based on lack of personal jurisdiction.

Dana Companies is a Virginia corporation with its principal place of business in Ohio. Dana Canada is a Canadian corporation with its principal place of business in Ontario. The plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos in Toronto, Ontario, between 1986 and 1994. Neither company is registered to do business in Washington; nor has either appointed a registered agent in Washington. Neither company has facilities, real property, offices, or employees in Washington.

A court can establish personal jurisdiction over a particular defendant through either general or specific jurisdiction. The court first found that because neither company is subject to general jurisdiction in Washington because neither were incorporated in Washington and do not have their principal place of business in Washington. Further, the court did not find it had specific jurisdiction of the defendants. A defendant may be sued in a forum where it has minimal contacts, provided those contacts are purposefully directed at the forum, the claim arises out of those contacts, and the exercise of jurisdiction over that party is reasonable. The plaintiffs failed to satisfy the requirement that their claim arose out of the defendants’ purposeful contacts with Washington. The court commented, “Though plaintiffs allege that Mr. Hodjera’s asbestos exposure occurred in Toronto, Ontario, where Dana Canada presumably conducted business, plaintiffs have not alleged that Mr. Hodjera’s exposure in Ontario would not have occurred “but for” Dana Canada’s contacts with Washington.” As a result, the court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

Read the full decision here.