United States District Court, D. Nebraska
Stanko, and similarly situated citizens, Plaintiff, Pro Se,
pro hac vice.
Multnomah County Jail, Defendant, represented by Susan M.
Dunaway, MULTNOMAH COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE.
Staton, Defendant, represented by Susan M. Dunaway, MULTNOMAH
COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, pro hac vice.
R. ZWART, Magistrate Judge.
have moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for lack of
personal jurisdiction. (Filing No. 9). Plaintiff has objected
to the motion. (Filing No. 11). For the reasons stated below,
the objection to the motion should be overruled and the
motion to dismiss should be granted.
alleged in Plaintiff's complaint, such facts being
accepted as true for the purposes of this motion only, and
the parties' submissions (Filing Nos. 10 & 12):
Plaintiff resides in Nebraska, and he has not travelled to
Oregon in the last 10 years. (Filing No. 1, at CM/ECF p. 2;
Filing No. 12). On March 17, 2016, Plaintiff mailed legal
documents to Ryan Bundy, a pretrial detainee in the Multnomah
County Jail in Oregon. Defendant Daniel Staton, the Multnomah
County Sheriff, is the chief overseer of all enforcement
operations at the Multnomah County Jail, including the mail
service. (Filing No. 1, at CM/ECF p. 6). The jail and Sheriff
Staton's office are located in Portland, Oregon. (Filing
No. 10, at CM/ECF p. 2).
alleges the Multnomah County jail did not deliver the mail
sent by Plaintiff to Bundy. Instead, the mailing was returned
to Plaintiff on March 28, 2016, with an explanation:
"Does not meet criteria for Legal Mail, Opened as
regular mail." Plaintiff alleges he is a jailhouse
lawyer and Bundy needed the mailed documents for Bundy's
defense. Plaintiff alleges Defendants' conduct of opening
the mail, perhaps reading it, and returning it to Plaintiff
rather than delivering it to Bundy, violated Plaintiff's
and Bundy's constitutional rights. (Filing No. 1, at
CM/ECF p. 7).
claims the defendants subjected themselves to the
jurisdiction of a Nebraska court by "accepting mail from
Nebraska and unconstitutionally returning mail to
Nebraska...." (Filing No. 11, at CM/ECF p. 2). Plaintiff
argues that using the mail is a "relevant contact"
with Nebraska, and Nebraska is the correct forum since
"[P]laintiff has not been in Oregon in over ten
years...." (Filing No. 11, at CM/ECF p. 2).
has personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant if,
by virtue of the defendant's conduct and connections with
the state, that "defendant purposefully avail[ed] itself
of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum
State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its
laws." Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S.
462, 475 (1985). The "purposeful availment"
requirement "ensures that a defendant will not be haled
into a jurisdiction solely as a result of random, '
fortuitous, ' or attenuated' contacts, ... or the
unilateral activity of another party or a third
person.'" Burger King Corp., 471 U.S. at
475 (internal citations omitted). When personal jurisdiction
is challenged, the plaintiff has the burden to show
jurisdiction exists. Burlington Indus., Inc. v. Maples
Indus., Inc., 97 F.3d 1100, 1102 (8th Cir. 1996).
only alleged contact with Nebraska is receiving one mailing,
opening it, and returning it to the plaintiff. This conduct
is "just the sort of random, fortuitous, and attenuated
contact that cannot justify the exercise of personal
jurisdiction." Viasystems, Inc. v. EBM-Papst St.
Georgen GmbH & Co., KG, 646 F.3d 589, 594 (8th Cir.
2011) (holding scattered e-mails, phone calls, and a
wire-transfer of money to defendant in Missouri did not
confer personal jurisdiction); Scullin Steel Co. v.
Nat'l Ry. Utilization Corp., 676 F.2d 309, 314 (8th
Cir. 1982) ("The use of interstate facilities
(telephone, the mail), the making of payments in the forum
state, and the provision for delivery within the forum state
are secondary or ancillary factors and cannot alone provide
the "minimum contacts" required by due
has not met his burden of proving that a Nebraska court can