Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Standing Challenge Decided under Rule 12(b)(1) as an Aspect of Subject Matter Jurisdiction — Personal Jurisdiction Decided under Rule 12(b)(2) — Determining Personal Jurisdiction in a Federal Question Case

From Cascade Fund LLLP v. Absolute Capital Mgmt. Holdings Ltd., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32255 (D. Colo. Mar. 31, 2010):

The issue of standing to bring a claim is considered a component of subject-matter jurisdiction and analyzed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). The party asserting the existence of subject matter jurisdiction bears the burden of proving such jurisdiction exists, including the burden of demonstrating adequate standing. Hydro Resources, Inc. v. E.P.A., 562 F.3d 1249, 1258 (10th Cir. 2009); Montoya v. Chao, 296 F.3d 952, 955 (10th Cir. 2002). Rule 12(b)(1) motions generally take one of two forms: (1) a facial attack on the sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint as to subject matter jurisdiction; or (2) a challenge to the actual facts upon which subject matter jurisdiction is based. Ruiz v. McDonnell, 299 F.3d 1173, 1180 (10th Cir. 2002), citing Holt v. United States, 46 F.3d 1000, 1002-03 (10th Cir. 1995). ***

Rule 12(b)(2) provides that a defendant may move to dismiss a complaint for "lack of jurisdiction over the person." The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction over the defendant or defendants. OMI Holdings v. Royal Ins. Co. of Can., 149 F.3d 1086, 1091 (10th Cir. 1998). This burden is light in the preliminary stages of litigation. Wenz v. Memery Crystal, 55 F.3d 1503, 1505 (10th Cir. 1995). When there has been no evidentiary hearing, a plaintiff must only present competent proof in the form of affidavits and other written materials that, if true, would establish a prima facie case that jurisdiction is proper. Id. To defeat such a showing by the plaintiff, a defendant must come forward with a "compelling case" that other considerations render jurisdiction unreasonable. See OMI Holdings, 149 F.3d at 1091 (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1985)). In the absence of a hearing, the Court accepts a plaintiff's well-pled allegations in a complaint as true to the extent that they are not controverted by a defendant's affidavits. Wenz, 55 F.3d at 1505. If there is a factual dispute, it is preliminarily resolved in the plaintiff's favor, to be ultimately determined at trial....

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has enumerated the proper process to determine whether a court has personal jurisdiction in a federal question case:

Before a federal court can assert personal jurisdiction over a defendant in a federal question case, the court must determine (1) whether the applicable statute potentially confers jurisdiction by authorizing service of process on the defendant and (2) whether the exercise of jurisdiction comports with due process.

Pea v. Bellsouth Medical Assistance Plan, 205 F.3d 1206, 1209 (10th Cir. 2000) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

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