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Lundahl v. JP Morgan Chase Bank

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division

August 12, 2019

LOGAN LUNDAHL, HOLLI LUNDAHL, Plaintiffs,
v.
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, OLD REPUBLIC INSURANCE CO., MEL HOFFMAN, LOS ANGELES HOMEOWNERS AID, LILIA CHAVARIN, AMERICAN MODERN INSURANCE GROUP, FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE CO., DOES 1-10, HSBC, SMITH COUNTY, TX, LOIS MOSLEY, PAUL KELLEYJR., SANDRA COPELAND, DAVID GILBERTSON, IN THEIR ADMINISTRATIVE CAPACITIES; CRAIG PFEIFLE, IN THEIR ADMINISTRATIVE CAPACITIES; AND AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE CO., Defendants.

          ORDER

          LAWRENCE L. PIERSOL JUDGE

         Plaintiffs, Logan Lundahl and Holli Lundahl ("plaintiffs") filed a pro se action against defendants and requested leave of in forma pauperis, which was later granted. Dockets 1, 2, 3, and 15. In their amended complaint the plaintiffs allege:

(1) Violations of the Federal Racketeering Act[;] ... (2) Violations of the Fair Housing Amendments Act . . . and its retaliation provisions[;] ... (3) The Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act[;] . . . (4) violation] and conspiracy to violate the Federal Civil Rights Act; ... (5) Prospective Injunctive and declaratory relief under the Ex Parte Young Doctrine; (6) for Supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs state law claims for (a) false arrest/false imprisonment; (b) abuse of process; (c) Malicious prosecution; (d) slander and libel under South Dakota law; (e) Constructive fraud and deceit; (f) Breach of Unfair Trade Practices in Utah and South Dakota; (g) criminal and civil conspiracy [;] [and] (h) tortious interference with Plaintiffs economic advantages[.]

         Docket 27 at 1-2, Motions pending before this Court are Dockets 31, 34, 36, 41, 45, 55, 63, and 88. Each of the motions in Dockets 31, 34, 36, and 41 include a motion to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction over the prospective defendant. This Court grants the motions to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction in Dockets 31, 34, 36, and 41. Therefore, any remaining motions in those dockets have become moot. Dockets 31, 34, 36, and 41. The Court grants the motions to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction because of the rationale set out below. Furthermore, motions in Docket 45 (Defendant Lilia Chavarin's motion to join... motions to dismiss), Docket 55 (Defendant, American Modern Insurance Group's motion to join the motion in Docket 47) and Docket 63 (First American Title Co.'s motion to join motion in Docket 47) have now become moot. Plaintiffs motion to amend in Docket 88 was untimely filed and therefore the motion is denied.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) regarding lack of personal jurisdiction "permits the district court "to notice a jurisdictional challenge 'at any time during the pendency of the proceedings.'" Waldner v. N. Am. Truck & Trailer, Inc., 277 F, R.D. 401, 411-12 (D.S.D. 2011) (quoting United States v. Patton, 309 F.3d 1093, 1094 (8th Cir. 2002)). "The party asserting personal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing a prima facie case, and the burden does not shift to the party challenging jurisdiction." Nichols v. MMIC Ins. Inc., 68 F.Supp.3d 1067, 1071 (D.S.D. 2014); see Epps v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 327 F.3d 642, 647 (8th Cir. 2003).

         Plaintiffs allege that this forum has personal jurisdiction over the defendants under 18 U.S.C. § 1965 a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ("RICO") statute. The Eighth Circuit has not addressed the "bounds of personal jurisdiction under" 18 U.S.C. § 1965. Waldner, 277 F.R.D. at 412. However, this Court has adopted the narrower view of the Second Circuit regarding 18 U.S.C. § 1965. Id; PT United Can Co. v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 138 F.3d 65, 71 (2dCir. 1998).;

         The Second Circuit noted that 18 U.S.C. § 1965 must be read in its entirety. PT United, 138 F.3d at 71. Section 1965:

[D]oes not provide for nationwide personal jurisdiction over every defendant in every civil RICO case, no matter where the defendant is found. First § 1965(a) grants personal jurisdiction over an initial defendant in a civil RICO case to the district court for the district in which that person resides, has an agent, or transacts his or her affairs. In other words, a civil RICO action can only be brought in a district court where personal jurisdiction based on minimum contacts is established to at least one defendant.

Id. Furthermore, to establish personal jurisdiction over the "other parties" there must be a showing that the "ends of justice so require." Id.

         This Court had adopted the Second Circuit's test to determine whether personal jurisdiction is found under 18 U.S.C. § 1965: "(1) [whether] the district court has traditional personal jurisdiction based?on minimum contacts analysis over at least one defendant; and (2) [whether] the district court has personal jurisdiction over non-resident defendants who are alleged co conspirators if the 'ends of justice' require the court to have this jurisdiction." Waldner, 277 F.R.D. at 412; see PT United, 138 F.3d at 71-72; see also Butcher's Union Local No. 498 v. SDC Inv. Inc., 788 F.2d 535, 53R (9th Cir. 1986).

         In Waldner, this Court found that there was personal jurisdiction under both prongs set forth by the adopted test. The first prong was successful because "a number of defendants. . . [were] headquartered or incorporated in South Dakota, meet[ing] the minimum contacts analysis. Under the second prong, the 'ends of justice' are met if the action is brought 'where suits are normally expected to be brought." Waldner, 277 F.R.D. at 412.; (quoting PT United Can, 138 F.3d at 71-71.). Moreover, "Congress has expressed a preference in § 1965 to avoid, where possible, haling defendants into far flung fora.'" Id. In Waldner, this Court reasoned that because many defendants were domiciled in South Dakota and the majority were located in Iowa or Minnesota then it was foreseeable they would be brought to suit in South Dakota. Waldner, 277 F.R.D. at 412.

         DISCUSSION

         Because plaintiffs have filed their claim pro se, it will be liberally construed. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Even with this construction, "a pro se complaint must contain specific facts supporting its conclusions." Martin v. Sargent,780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. ...


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