Swift Air Files For Dismissal of Lawsuit from Saipan Air

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CNMI – Saipan Air Inc. is strongly opposing a bid to have its case against Swift Air dismissed, saying the court has jurisdiction over the nonresident defendants of the case.

Saipan Air, in a report from the Saipan Tribune, is suing Swift Air executives after they failed to deliver an aircraft that would have been used for the maiden flight of the aborted Saipan-based airline. Saipan Air is seeking $50 million in damages.

Swift Air officials filed a motion to dismiss the case on Oct. 12, using the argument that the court lacks personal jurisdiction to handle the lawsuit.

Saipan Air counsel Steve Pixley, however, argued that the court possesses specific jurisdiction over Swift Air executives Donald A. Stukes, Jeffry Conry, Boris Van Lier, and Hank Tobert.

The Ninth Circuit, Pixley noted, applied a three-part jurisdiction test to determine whether specific jurisdiction may be applied to a defendant.

On Swift Air’s claim that the court has no basis to exercise personal jurisdiction over them because they are based outside the CNMI, Pixley invoked the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act or RICO Act, which provides a nationwide service of process.