LAS VEGAS (CN) – Best-selling author Dean Koontz doesn't directly do business in Nevada and can't be sued on fraud claims by a Nevadan who says Koontz kept valuable signed works instead of selling them.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro dismissed a complaint filed by Raymond Davis that accused Koontz of keeping a valuable collection of signed literature formerly owned by John Paul Bodner.
Koontz and Davis were mutual friends with Bodner, who passed away in 2012.
Davis said Bodner gave him a collection books written by Koontz, many of which the author signed.
Davis said he sought his help in selling them, and Koontz agreed to sell them on consignment in 2013.
But instead of selling the books, Davis said Koontz kept them and refuses to return them. Davis sued Koontz last year, and accused the author of fraud, conversion and unjust enrichment.
Koontz sought dismissal due to a lack of personal jurisdiction.
Navarro said the Constitution limits personal jurisdiction to "'certain minimum contacts with [a state] such that the maintenance of a suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'"
Koontz "must have 'minimum contacts' with the forum state itself, rather than mere contacts with persons who reside there" for personal jurisdiction to apply, Navarro wrote.
"A court determines sufficient minimum contacts either through specific jurisdiction, where the specific interaction with the forum relating to the cause of action gives rise to the contact, or through general jurisdiction, where the contacts with the forum are systematic and continuous," Navarro wrote.
She said Koontz lives in Orange County, California, and Davis does not claim Koontz personally sells his books in Nevada or does other business in the state.
"The fact that a book written by defendant may end up, through the normal stream of commerce, being sold to a Nevada resident does not in itself satisfy the exacting standard for general jurisdiction," Navarro wrote.
Navarro dismissed Davis' claim without prejudice, noting he could request permission to amend his complaint.
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