United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Amended Motion
to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Dkt. #12).
Plaintiff, in turn, argues that a California statute waives
personal jurisdiction over the California public entities it
has sued in Texas-a novel argument courts have yet to
address. After careful consideration, the motion will be
Bulkley & Associates, LLC is a Texas limited liability
company that transports refrigerated goods. This can require
travelling across state lines. At some point, a Bulkley
delivery driver fell out of the back of his truck while
driving through Salinas, California. This incident prompted
the State of California Department of Industrial Relations,
Division of Occupational Safety and Health (the
“Division”) to issue three citations against
Bulkley for “(a) fail[ing] to timely report the injury
to [the appropriate California agency]; (b) fail[ing] to
develop and implement an ‘Injury and Illness Prevention
Program;' and (c) fail[ing] to require what California
believes is appropriate foot protection for drivers working
at customer locations and climbing in and out of refrigerated
trailers” (Dkt. #9 at p. 5).
appealed the citations to the Occupational Safety and Health
Appeals Board of the State of California (the “Appeals
Board”). Bulkley argued that the Agency “lacked
jurisdiction over Bulkley, both as a matter of California
statutory law and federal constitutional law, ” since
Bulkley “is not an employer of the State of California,
is engaged in interstate commerce, and does not have a place
of business in the State of California” (Dkt. #9 at p.
7). But the Appeals Board disagreed and “refused to set
these citations aside” (Dkt. #9 at p. 8).
subsequently filed a writ of mandamus in the District Court
of Hopkins County, Texas 62nd Judicial District (the
“Hopkins County District Court”) seeking to
overturn the Appeals Board decision. The Division and the
Agency (collectively, the “California Public
Entities”) subsequently removed the case to this Court,
and now move to dismiss the case for lack of personal
jurisdiction. They note that this lawsuit concerns public
agencies in California issuing citations for the violation of
California law after a Bulkley delivery driver was injured on
the job while in California.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) requires a court to dismiss
a claim if the court does not have personal jurisdiction over
the defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). After a non-resident
defendant files a motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, it is the plaintiff's burden to establish
that in personam jurisdiction exists. Bullion v.
Gillespie, 895 F.2d 213, 217 (5th Cir. 1990) (citing
WNS, Inc. v. Farrow, 884 F.2d 200, 202 (5th Cir.
satisfy that burden, the party seeking to invoke the
court's jurisdiction must “present sufficient facts
as to make out only a prima facie case supporting
jurisdiction” if a court rules on a motion without an
evidentiary hearing. Alpine View Co. v. Atlas Copco
AB, 205 F.3d 208, 215 (5th Cir. 2000). When considering
the motion to dismiss, “[a]llegations in [a]
plaintiff's complaint are taken as true except to the
extent that they are contradicted by defendant's
affidavits.” Int'l Truck & Engine Corp. v.
Quintana, 259 F.Supp.2d 553, 557 (N.D. Tex. 2003)
(citing Wyatt v. Kaplan, 686 F.2d 276, 282-83 n.13
(5th Cir. 1982)); accord Black v. Acme Mkts., Inc.,
564 F.2d 681, 683 n.3 (5th Cir. 1977). Further, “[a]ny
genuine, material conflicts between the facts established by
the parties' affidavits and other evidence are resolved
in favor of plaintiff for the purposes of determining whether
a prima facie case exists.” Id.
(citing Jones v. Petty-Ray Geophysical Geosource,
Inc., 954 F.2d 161, 1067 (5th Cir. 1992)). However, if a
court holds an evidentiary hearing, a plaintiff “must
establish jurisdiction by a preponderance of the admissible
evidence.” In re Chinese Manufactured Drywall
Prods. Liab. Lit., 742 F.3d 576, 585 (5th Cir. 2014)
(citing Walk Haydel & Assocs., Inc. v. Coastal Power
Prod. Co., 517 F.3d 235, 241-42 (5th Cir. 2008)).
Parties dispute whether personal jurisdiction exists over
this case either based on the California Public Entities'
minimum contacts with Texas or pursuant to California Labor
Code § 6627, which directs those challenging an Appeals
Board decision to file a writ of mandate in “the
superior court of the county in which he resides.” Cal.
Labor Code § 6627.
The California Statute
insists that this Court has personal jurisdiction over the
California Public Entities pursuant to California Labor Code
§ 6627-irrespective of whether minimum contacts exists.
See Travelers Indem. Co. v. Calvert Fire Ins. Co.,
798 F.2d 826, 834 (5th Cir. 1986) (explaining that
“parties can waive lack of personal
jurisdiction”). Section 6627 allows:
Any person affected by an order or decision of the appeals
board [to] . . . apply to the superior court of the county in
which he resides, for a writ of mandate, for the purpose of
inquiring into and determining ...