United States District Court, D. Hawaii
MCHAEL MAEDA and ILIANA SANCHEZ, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
PINNACLE FOODS INC.; DOES 1 THROUGH 50, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT
PINNACLE FOODS INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFFS'
CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT
A. Otake, Judge
putative consumer class action arises out of the sale and
marketing of Defendant Pinnacle Food Inc.'s
(“Defendant”) Hawaiian brand snacks, including:
Kettle Style Potato Chips, Original; Hawaiian Kettle Style
Potato Chips, Luau BBQ; Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips,
Sweet Maui Onion; Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips, Ginger
Wasabi; Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips, Hulapeno;
Hawaiian Kettle Style Potato Chips, Mango Habanero; Hawaiian
Luau Barbeque Rings; and Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion Rings
(collectively “Hawaiian Snacks”). Plaintiffs
allege that they purchased these snacks due to false and
deceptive labeling, packaging, and advertising, which misled
them into believing that the snacks are made in Hawai‘i
from local ingredients.
moves to dismiss this action for lack of personal
jurisdiction, lack of actionable misrepresentation as to the
consumer protection claims, failure to state a claim, and
lack of standing. For the reasons articulated below, the
Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Class Action Complaint. ECF
commenced this action on October 12, 2018 in the Circuit
Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawai‘i. Defendant
removed the action on November 23, 2018. Plaintiffs allege
that although the Hawaiian Snacks are manufactured in Algona,
Washington, Defendant markets them in such a manner as to
mislead consumers into believing that they were manufactured
assert the following claims: (1) violation of
Hawai‘i's made in Hawai‘i statute (Haw. Rev.
Stat. § 486-119); (2) violation of Hawai‘i's
Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Haw. Rev. Stat.
Chapter 480); (3) violation of Hawai‘i's false
advertising law (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 708-871); (4)
violation of California's Consumers Legal Remedies Act
(Cal. Civil Code § 1750); (5) violation of
California's unfair competition law (Cal. Business &
Professions Code § 17200); (6) violation of
California's false advertising law (Cal. Business &
Professions Code § 17500); (7) breach of express
warranty; (8) breach of implied warranty; (9) common law
fraud; (10) intentional misrepresentation; (11) negligent
misrepresentation; and (12) quasi-contract/unjust
three proposed classes identified by Plaintiffs are as
Hawaii Class: All persons, who, within the relevant
statute of limitations period, purchased any of the Hawaiian
Snacks, in the State of Hawai‘i.
California Class: All persons, who, within the
relevant statute of limitations period, purchased any of the
Hawaiian Snacks, in the State of California.
California Consumer Subclass: All persons, who,
within the relevant statute of limitations period, purchased
any of the Hawaiian Snacks for personal, family, or household
purpose, in the State of California.
Compl. at ¶ 51.
their prayer for relief, Plaintiffs request a declaration
that Defendant's conduct violates the law; restitution;
damages; punitive damages; attorneys' fees and costs; and
pre and post judgment interest. Id. at 31-32.
Federal Rule of Procedure (“FRCP”) 12(b)(1), a
district court must dismiss a complaint if it lacks subject
matter jurisdiction to hear the claims alleged in the
complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). “Standing is a
threshold matter central to our subject matter
jurisdiction.” Bates v. United Parcel Serv.,
Inc., 511 F.3d 974, 985 (9th Cir. 2007). “[L]ack
of Article III standing requires dismissal for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction under [FRCP] 12(b)(1).”
Maya v. Centex Corp., 658 F.3d 1060, 1067 (9th Cir.
2011) (citations omitted). In determining constitutional
standing, the trial court has the authority to “to
allow or to require the plaintiff to supply, by amendment to
the complaint or by affidavits, further particularized
allegations of fact deemed supportive of plaintiff's
standing.” Id. (citation and quotations
omitted). The court “must accept as true all material
allegations of the complaint, and must construe the complaint
in favor of the complaining party” when “ruling
on a motion to dismiss for want of standing.” Warth
v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975).
FRCP 12(b)(2), a defendant may seek dismissal of an action,
or of particular claims, for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). In determining whether personal
jurisdiction exists, courts may consider evidence presented
in affidavits and declarations. Doe v. Unocal Corp.,
248 F.3d 915, 922 (9th Cir. 2001) abrogated on other
grounds by Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117 (2014).
Plaintiffs bear the burden of showing that courts have
personal jurisdiction over defendants. See Pebble Beach
Co. v. Caddy, 453 F.3d 1151, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006).
Absent formal discovery or an evidentiary hearing,
“this demonstration requires that the plaintiff make
only a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts to
withstand the motion to dismiss.” Id.
this prima facie showing, a plaintiff can rely on the
allegations in its complaint to the extent that the moving
party does not controvert those allegations. See
Doe, 248 F.3d at 922.
12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of a complaint that fails
“to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). On a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss, “‘the court accepts the facts
alleged in the complaint as true,' and ‘[d]ismissal
can be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the
absence of sufficient facts alleged.'” UMG
Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital Partners LLC, 718
F.3d 1006, 1014 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Balistreri v.
Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.
1988)) (alteration in original). However, conclusory
allegations of law, unwarranted deductions of fact, and
unreasonable inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion
to dismiss. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266
F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001); Nat'l Ass'n for
the Advancement of Psychoanalysis v. Cal. Bd. of
Psychology, 228 F.3d 1043, 1049 (9th Cir. 2000).
Furthermore, the court need not accept as true allegations
that contradict matters properly subject to judicial notice.
Sprewell, 266 F.3d at 988.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). Facial plausibility exists “when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The tenet that the court
must accept as true all of the allegations contained in the
complaint does not apply to legal conclusions. Id.
As such, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do
not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility
of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not
‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” Id. at 679 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)) (some alterations in original). If dismissal is
ordered, the plaintiff should be granted leave to amend
unless it is clear that the claims could not be saved by
amendment. Swartz v. KPMG LLP, 476 F.3d 756, 760
(9th Cir. 2007).
seeks dismissal of the Complaint with prejudice on the
following grounds: (1) the Court lacks personal jurisdiction
over the claims asserted by Plaintiff Iliana Sanchez; (2)
Plaintiffs' consumer protection claims fail because
Plaintiffs have not alleged an actionable misrepresentation;
(3) Plaintiffs' common law claims fail as a matter of
law; and (4) Plaintiffs lack standing to seek prospective
injunctive relief. The Court addresses each of
Defendant's arguments in turn.
Personal Jurisdiction Over Nonresident Plaintiff Iliana
Sanchez and Unnamed Nonresident Class Members
contends that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over the
claims asserted by Plaintiff Iliana Sanchez, as well as the
unnamed nonresident class members.
The Court Lacks Personal Jurisdiction Over Plaintiff
successfully challenges Plaintiff Sanchez's satisfaction
of personal jurisdiction requirements. Although they bear the
burden of establishing that jurisdiction is proper,
Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.2d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir.
2008), Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the Court has
personal jurisdiction over Plaintiff Sanchez's claims,
nor even addressed the specific jurisdiction test. It is well
established that in a class action, personal jurisdiction
requirements “must be satisfied for each and every
named plaintiff for the suit to go forward.” AM Tr.
v. UBS AG, 78 F.Supp.3d 977, 987 (N.D. Cal. 2015)
(quoting Abrams Shell v. Shell Oil Co., 165
F.Supp.2d 1096, 1107 n.5 (C.D. Cal. 2001)) (citation and
quotations omitted); Action Embroidery Corp. v. Atl.
Embroidery, Inc., 368 F.3d 1174, 1180 (9th Cir. 2004)
(“Personal jurisdiction must exist for each claim
asserted against a defendant.”).
long-arm statute, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”)
§ 634-35, Authorizes the exercise of personal
jurisdiction to the extent permitted by the Due Process
clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Barranco v. 3D Sys.
Corp., 6 F.Supp.3d 1068, 1077 (D. Haw. 2014) (citing
Cowan v. First Ins. Co. of Haw., 61 Haw. 644, 649,
608 P.2d 394, 399 (1980)). Due Process requires that a
defendant have “minimum contacts with [the forum state]
such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend
traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” Int'l Shoe Co. v. State of Wash.,
Office of Unemployment Comp. & Placement, 326 U.S.
310, 316 (1945) (citations omitted) (internal quotations
are two types of personal jurisdiction:
“‘general' (sometimes called
‘all-purpose') jurisdiction and
‘specific' (sometimes called
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Ct. of Cal., San
Francisco Cty., __ U.S. __, 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1779-80
(2017). A corporate defendant's place of incorporation
and principal place of business are “paradig[m] . . .
.bases for general jurisdiction.” Daimler, 571
U.S. at 137 (citation omitted) (alteration in original). When
a court has general jurisdiction, it “may hear any
claim against that defendant, even if all the incidents
underlying the claim occurred in a different State.”
Bristol-Myers, __ U.S. at __, 137 S.Ct. at 1780
(citation omitted). That said, “‘only a limited
set of affiliations with a forum will render a defendant
amenable to' general jurisdiction in that State.”
Id. (citation omitted). It is undisputed that the
Court lacks general jurisdiction over Defendant.
has specific jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant when
it “purposefully avails itself of the privilege of
conducting activities within the forum State, ”
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475
(1985), and “the suit ‘aris[es] out of or
relate[s] to the defendant's contacts with the
forum.'” Daimler, 571 U.S. at 127
(citation omitted); Bristol-Myers, __ U.S. at __,
137 S.Ct. at 1781 (alteration in original) (“In order
for a court to exercise specific jurisdiction over a claim,
there must be an ‘affiliation between the forum and the
underlying controversy, principally, [an] activity or an
occurrence that takes place in the forum State.'”).
Although courts must consider a variety of interests in
determining whether personal jurisdiction is present,
including those of the forum State and the plaintiff's
forum of choice, the “primary concern” is
“the burden on the defendant.”
Bristol-Myers, __ U.S. at __, 137 S.Ct. at 1780
(citations omitted) (internal quotations omitted).
Ninth Circuit employs a three-part test to determine whether
a court may exercise specific jurisdiction over a nonresident
(1) the defendant must either purposefully direct his
activities toward the forum or purposefully avail himself of
the privileges of conducting activities in the forum; (2) the
claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the
defendant's forum-related activities; and (3) the
exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and
substantial justice, i.e., it must be reasonable.
Axiom Foods, Inc. v. Acerchem Int'l, Inc., 874
F.3d 1064, 1068 (9th Cir. 2017) (internal citations and
quotations omitted). The plaintiff bears the burden of
establishing the first two prongs. Schwarzenegger v. Fred
Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004). If
either prong is not satisfied, “personal jurisdiction
is not established in the forum state.” Id. If
the plaintiff satisfies the first two prongs, “the
burden then shifts to the defendant to ‘present a
compelling case' that the exercise of jurisdiction would
not be reasonable.” Id.
specific jurisdiction inquiry focuses on the relationship
between the nonresident defendant, the forum, and the
litigation. Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 284
(2014). “For a State to exercise jurisdiction
consistent with due process, the defendant's suit-related
conduct must create a substantial connection with the forum
State.” Id. This requires the relationship to
“arise out of contracts that the ‘defendant
himself' creates with the forum state” and
“looks to the defendant's contacts with the forum
State itself, not the defendant's contacts with persons
who reside there.” Id. at 284-85.
applying the specific jurisdiction test, the Court addresses
the parties' dispute concerning the extension of
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of
California, San Francisco County to this
case. In its briefing, Defendant contends that
the Court should apply Bristol-Myers to dismiss the
unnamed non-resident class members for lack of personal
jurisdiction. At the hearing, however, defense counsel
conceded that the personal jurisdiction inquiry before the
Court can be resolved without reliance on
Bristol-Myers. While a number of district courts
have weighed in on whether Bristol-Myers should
apply to federal courts and/or class actions, the Court finds
it unnecessary to resolve this issue because well-established
jurisprudence governs the present jurisdictional inquiry.
Indeed, Bristol-Myers involved the
“straightforward application . . . of settled
principles of personal jurisdiction, ”
Bristol-Myers, __ U.S. __, 137 S.Ct. at 1783;
see also Id. at 1781 (“Our settled principles
regarding specific jurisdiction control this case.”).
Accordingly, the Court declines to speculate as to the
applicability of Bristol-Myers in this particular
context. Id. at __, 137 S.Ct. at 1783-84
(“[S]ince our decision concerns the due process limits
on the exercise of specific jurisdiction by a State, we leave
open the question whether the Fifth Amendment imposes the
same restrictions on the exercise of personal jurisdiction by
a federal court.”). Any reference to
Bristol-Myers is limited to the longstanding
personal jurisdiction principles therein.
to the specific jurisdiction test, Plaintiff Sanchez has made
no effort to establish either of the first two prongs, nor
has she cited the relevant test or explained how this Court
has specific jurisdiction over her claims, which concern
Defendant's purported conduct in California and do not
arise out of any of Defendant's contacts with
Prong One: Purposeful Direction
cases sound in tort, courts employ the purposeful direction
test, also known as the “effects” test. Axiom
Foods, 874 F.3d at 1069. Under this test, which derives
from Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984),
“[t]he defendant must have ‘(1) committed an
intentional act, (2) expressly aimed at the forum state, (3)
causing harm that the defendant knows is likely to be
suffered in the forum state.'” Id.
(citation omitted). Purposeful direction “usually
consists of evidence of the defendant's actions outside
the forum state that are directed at the forum, such as the
distribution in the forum state of goods originating
elsewhere.” Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 803.
intentional act is “an external manifestation of the
actor's intent to perform an actual, physical act in the
real world.” Washington Shoe Co. v. A-Z
Sporting Goods, Inc., 704 F.3d 668, 674 (9th Cir.
2012), abrogated as recognized in Axiom Foods, 874
F.3d at 1069-70; Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 806. In
the Complaint, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant deceptively
labeled the Hawaiian Snacks to create impression that they
are made in Hawai‘i and that it sells the snacks at
multiple retail locations throughout Hawai‘i and
California. Defendant's conduct constitutes an
second element requires Defendant to have “expressly
aimed” its intentional act at the forum state:
Hawai‘i. Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 806. As
noted above, Plaintiffs allege that the deceptively labeled
Hawaiian Snacks were and are sold throughout Hawai‘i.
Accepting Plaintiffs' allegations as true, Defendant
expressly aimed its conduct at Hawai‘i, but only as to
Plaintiff Maeda and the Hawai‘i class. See
Calder, 465 U.S. at 789 (“In sum, California is
the focal point both of the story and of the harm suffered.
Jurisdiction over petitioners is therefore proper in
California based on the ‘effects' of their Florida
conduct in California.”). The same cannot be said of
Plaintiff Sanchez, who claims to have suffered harm in
California based on Defendant's deceptive labeling
and advertising of the Hawaiian Snacks in
California. Therefore, Plaintiff Sanchez fails to meet
the second element of the purposeful direction test.
third and final element of the purposeful direction test is
satisfied if Defendant's actions had “foreseeable
effects” in the forum state. Brayton Purcell
LLP v. Recordon & Recordon, 606 F.3d 1124, 1131
(9th Cir. 2010), abrogated on other grounds by
Axiom Foods, 874 F.3d at 1069. Although it was
foreseeable that Plaintiff Maeda would suffer harm in
Hawai‘i, it was not foreseeable that Defendant's
actions in Hawai‘i (the advertising and sale of its
products) would cause harm to Plaintiff Sanchez in
California. Accordingly, Plaintiff Sanchez has not satisfied
the elements of the purposeful direction test and has
correspondingly failed to establish the first prong of the
specific jurisdiction test.
Prong Two: Claims Arising Out of Defendant's
second prong of the specific jurisdiction test requires
Plaintiff Sanchez's claims to arise out of or relate to
Defendant's forum-related activities. Axiom
Foods, 874 F.3d at 1068. Plaintiff Sanchez has not
argued, nor could she, that her claims involving
Defendant's conduct in California arise out of
Defendant's activities in Hawai‘i. Thus, even
though Defendant directed certain actions to Hawai‘i,
said conduct has no bearing on the harm allegedly suffered in
Plaintiff Sanchez has not met her burden as to the first and
second prongs, the Court finds that specific jurisdiction is
lacking over Plaintiff Sanchez's claims against
Defendant, and it is unnecessary to address the
reasonableness prong of the specific jurisdiction test.
The Court Cannot Exercise Pendent Jurisdiction Over
Plaintiff Sanchez's Claims
effort to save Plaintiff Sanchez's claims, Plaintiffs
posit that the Court can and should exercise pendent personal
jurisdiction because her claims arise out of the same nucleus
of operative facts as those asserted by Plaintiff Maeda.
jurisdiction exists where there is a sufficiently
substantial federal claim to confer federal
jurisdiction, and a common nucleus of operative fact
between the state and federal claims.” Gilder v.
PGA Tour, Inc., 936 F.2d 417, 421 (9th Cir. 1991)
(emphasis added) (citing In re Nucorp Energy Sec.
Litig., 772 F.2d 1486, 1490 (9th Cir. 1985)); United
Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966)
(“Pendent jurisdiction, in the sense of judicial power,
exists whenever there is a claim ‘arising under (the)
Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties
made'. . . and the relationship between that claim and
the state claim permits the conclusion that the entire action
before the court comprises but one constitutional
‘case.'”); Action Embroidery, 368
F.3d at 1180-81 (“Pendent personal jurisdiction is
typically found where one or more federal claims for which
there is nationwide personal jurisdiction are combined in the
same suit with one or more state or federal claims for which
there is not nationwide personal
within the district court's discretion to exercise
personal pendent jurisdiction. Action Embroidery,
368 F.3d at 1181. Pendent claims may be dismissed
“where considerations of judicial economy, convenience
and fairness to ...