United States District Court, District of Columbia
C. LAMBERTH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
to an agreement with the Indonesian government, Exxon Mobil
Corporation (EMC), a United States corporation, and several
of its wholly owned subsidiaries, including Exxon Mobil Oil
Indonesia Inc. (EMOI), operated a large natural gas
extraction and processing facility in the Aceh Province of
Indonesia. Plaintiffs are Indonesian citizens who claim
Exxon's security forces engaged in extrajudicial killing;
torture; cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; and
arbitrary detention in violation of the Alien Tort Statute
(ATS) and committed various common law torts. Now before the
Court are EMOI's motion for the Court to reconsider its
prior ruling on personal jurisdiction and EMC and EMOI's
motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Def.'s Mot. for Recons. & Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No.
633 [hereinafter ECF No. 633]. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court will deny EMOI's motion for the Court to
reconsider its prior personal jurisdiction ruling and will
deny EMC and EMOI's motion to dismiss for lack of
Court gave a detailed discussion of the factual background in
its opinion dismissing plaintiffs' ATS claims against
Exxon also issued on this date. This section only recites the
facts and procedural history relevant to personal
moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in its
initial response to the complaint in October 2001.
See Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 13. This
Court denied the motion without prejudice in 2005. Mem. Op.,
ECF No. 103. Following jurisdictional discovery, EMOI again
moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in January
2008. See Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 268.
This Court denied the motion in July 2008. Mem. Op., ECF No.
340 [hereinafter ECF No. 340]. EMC has never challenged
2008, Judge Oberdorfer, who initially presided over this
case, found plaintiffs had established this Court had
personal jurisdiction over EMOI. Id. The Court
determined specific jurisdiction existed based on D.C.'s
long-arm statute. D.C.'s long-arm statute states a D.C.
court "may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person,
who acts directly or by an agent, as to a claim of relief
arising from the person's- (1) transacting any business
in the District of Columbia" or other specified contacts
with D.C. D.C. Code § 13-423(a) (2012). Based on the
D.C. Court of Appeal's interpretation of D.C.'s
long-arm statute, the Court found the statute conferred
jurisdiction if the suit sufficiently related to the
defendant's contacts with D.C. ECF No. 340.
Court concluded the suit related to EMOI's contacts with
D.C. EMOI had significant contact with Robert Haines,
Exxon's Manager of International Government Affairs, in
D.C. focused on EMOI's security policies and practices in
Indonesia, which relate to plaintiffs' claims.
Id. Further, a number of EMOI personnel attended
Exxon's "Worldwide Security Conference" in D.C.
Id. This conference included a management meeting on
the "Asia/Pacific" region and provided training on
security related issues, including on standards and training
for security guards and using host government security.
Id. The Court believed EMOI employed certain
elements of the training provided at the security conference.
Id. This led the Court to conclude it had personal
jurisdiction over EMOI. Id.
2018, EMC and EMOI brought the present motions to reconsider
the Court's prior ruling and to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction based on the Supreme Court's 2017
decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb. EMC and EMOI argue
Bristol-Myers Squibb "significantly tightened
and clarified the limits imposed by the Due Process Clause on
a state's assertion of personal jurisdiction over
out-of-state defendants." ECF No. 633. Thus, EMC and
EMOI allege this Court has no basis under D.C.'s long-arm
statute to assert specific jurisdiction.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) directs a court to dismiss
an action when the court lacks personal jurisdiction over the
defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). The Supreme Court has
recognized two types of personal jurisdiction: general
(sometimes called "all-purpose") jurisdiction and
"specific" (sometimes called
"case-linked") jurisdiction. Goodyear Dunlop
Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919
(2011). "For an individual, the paradigm forum for the
exercise of general jurisdiction is the individual's
domicile; for a corporation, it is an equivalent place, one
in which the corporation is fairly regarded as at home."
Id. at 924. A court with general jurisdiction over a
defendant "may hear any claim against that
defendant, even if all the incidents occurred in a different
State." Id. at 919. On the other hand, specific
jurisdiction requires the suit to "aris[e] out of or
relate to the defendant's contacts with the
forum." Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 126
(2014) (quoting Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A.
v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 n.8 (1984)). Therefore,
"specific jurisdiction is confined to adjudication of
'issues deriving from, or connected with, the very
controversy that establishes jurisdiction.'"
Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 919.
personal jurisdiction defense is waived if it is not
asserted. Neirbo Co. v. Bethlehem Shipbuilding
Corp., 308 U.S. 165, 168 (1939); Ins. Corp. of lr.
v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 703
(1982) ("Because the requirement of personal
jurisdiction represents first of all an individual right, it
can, like other such rights, be waived."). Once waived,
this defense cannot be reclaimed by a defendant or restored
by the court. E.g., O'Brien v. R.J. O'Brien &
Assocs., Inc., 998 F.2d 1394, 1399 (7th Cir. 1993) (once
the defendant has waived objections and submitted to the
jurisdiction of the court, "the court is powerless to
dismiss the suit for lack of personal jurisdiction");
Kabbani v. Int'l Total Servs., Civ. No. 91-0391,
1991 WL 251863, at *1 (D.D.C. Nov. 12, 1991). An exception to
this waiver rule is where the defense was unavailable, as EMC
argues here. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(g).
EMOI contend the Supreme Court's 2017 decision in
Bristol-Myers Squibb requires dismissal of this
action. In Bristol-Myers Squibb, hundreds of
non-California residents joined with California residents to
sue Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMS), a global pharmaceutical
company incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New
York, and another defendant in California state court for
injuries allegedly associated with the BMS prescription drug
Plavix. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of
California, San Francisco Cty.,137 S.Ct. 1773, 1777
(2017). Each plaintiff alleged serious side effects from