United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO
Waddoups United States District Judge.
the court is the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 6) by Defendant
Alert Holdings Group, Inc. dba Alert Alarm
(“Alert”). The motion has been fully briefed, and
the court heard argument on the same on October 23, 2019.
Having reviewed the pleadings and materials submitted and
considered the arguments of counsel, the court
DENIES Alert's motion.
Inc. (“Vivint”) and Alert both provide home
security services in the state of Hawaii. While Alert's
business is isolated to Hawaii, Vivint operates in a number
of states and is headquarter, and has its principal place of
business, in Utah. (ECF No. 2, at ¶¶ 1-2). At some
point in 2017, Alert allegedly reached out to Kai Goldstein,
who was a former employee of Alert but was then working for
Vivint at its headquarters in Utah, and offered to
“make it worth [his] while” if he would access,
and turn over to Alert, information on Vivint's customers
in Hawaii. (ECF No. 2, at ¶¶12-19; ECF No. 16, at
2-4). Alert allegedly used this information throughout 2017
and 2018 in order to target and solicit Vivint customers in
Hawaii. (ECF No. 2, at ¶¶12- 19).
April 1, 2019, Vivint filed a complaint against Alert,
asserting causes of action against it for Unfair Competition,
Misappropriation of Trade Secrets, Tortious Interference with
Contracts, Tortious Interference with Prospective Business
Relations, and Violations of the Federal Trade Secrets Act.
(ECF No. 2, at ¶¶26-46). Vivint's complaint
also seeks to enjoin Alert “from making false and
misleading statements, engaging in illegal contracting
practices, tortuously interfering with Vivint's
contractual and prospective relationships, and
misappropriating Vivint's trade secrets.” (ECF No.
2, at ¶¶47-52).
moves to dismiss Vivint's complaint under Rule 12(b)(2)
of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure on the basis that it
is not subject to personal jurisdiction of the court and
under Rule 12(b)(3) because this court is not the proper
venue in which to hear Plaintiff's claims. In the
alternative, Alert requests the court to transfer venue to
the District of Hawaii. Each of Alert's requests will be
discussed in turn.
The court has personal jurisdiction over Alert.
jurisdiction is contested, the plaintiff has the burden of
proving that proper jurisdiction exists. See Far West
Capital, Inc. v. Towne, 46 F.3d 1071, 1075 (10th Cir.
1995). Plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of
personal jurisdiction at this preliminary stage of
litigation. Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts,
Inc., 514 F.3d 1063, 1070 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing
Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 55 F.3d 1503, 1505 (10th
Cir. 1995)). “‘A claim has facial plausibility
when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.'” Free
Speech v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 720 F.3d 788, 792
(10th Cir. 2013) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). In determining whether a plaintiff has
made such a showing, the court accepts the allegations in the
complaint as true and resolves all factual disputes in the
plaintiff's favor. See Rambo v. American Southern
Ins. Co., 839 F.2d 1415, 1417 (10th Cir. 1988).
that personal jurisdiction exists over a defendant, a
plaintiff must establish first, that jurisdiction is
authorized under Utah law and second, that the exercise of
jurisdiction does not offend the due process clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment. See Far West Capital, 46 F.3d
at 1074. The Tenth Circuit has recognized that the
“jurisdictional inquiry in Utah diversity cases is
reduced to a single question: did the defendants have
sufficient ‘minimum contacts' with the state of
Utah to establish personal jurisdiction over them?”
Rusakiewicz v. Lowe, 556 F.3d 1095, 1100 (10th Cir.
2009) (citation omitted).
Alert has minimum contacts with the State of Utah.
defendant is held to have minimum contacts with a forum where
he “has purposefully directed his activities at
residents of the forum, and the litigation results from
alleged injuries that arise out of or relate to those
activities.” Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz,
471 U.S. 462, 472 (1985) (internal quotation marks and
citations omitted). However, “the plaintiff cannot be
the only link between the defendant and the forum. Rather, it
is the defendant's conduct that must form the necessary
connection with the forum State that is the basis for its
jurisdiction over him.” Walden v. Fiore, 571
U.S. 277, 285-86 (2014) (citing Burger King Corp.,
471 U.S. at 478). While a defendant's contacts with the
forum State “may be intertwined with his transactions
or interactions with a plaintiff, ” their relationship
with the plaintiff, standing alone, “is an insufficient
basis for jurisdiction.” Id. at 286. In order
to authorize jurisdiction, a defendant's conduct in a
state “must have a broader effect on the forum
itself-something beyond the effect felt by the
plaintiff alone.” Younique, L.L.C. v. Youssef,
No. 2:15-cv-783, 2016 WL 6998659, at *7 (D. Utah Nov. 30,
2016) (emphasis in original).
contacts with Utah are minimal. It is a Hawaii company with
its principal place of business in Hawaii that only provides
services in Hawaii, and it only used the client information
that it obtained from Vivint in Hawaii. Thus, as Vivint
succinctly states in its opposition to Alert's motion to
dismiss, “Alert's Motion to Dismiss presents a
simple issue: Can a defendant who steals property from a
company located in Utah to the harm and detriment of that
company avoid having to answer for that theft in a Utah court
by utilizing the stolen property outside of Utah?” (ECF
No. 16 at 1). Tenth Circuit precedent establishes that it
minimum contacts test for specific jurisdiction encompasses
two distinct requirements: (i) that the defendant must have
purposefully directed its activities at residents of the
forum state, and (ii) that the plaintiff's injuries must
arise out of [the] defendant's forum-related
activities.” Old Republic Ins. Co. v. Cont'l
Motors, Inc., 877 F.3d 895, 904 (10th Cir. 2017)
(quotations and citations omitted). In a tort case, the first
requirement may be established “when an out-of-state
defendant's intentional conduct targets and has
substantial harmful effects in the forum state.”
Id. at 907 (emphasis added) (citing Calder v.
Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 790-91 (1984)). This requires that
three elements be met: “(a) an ...