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Mary V Froogle

In: Business and Management

Submitted By fzyfrg
Words 755
Pages 4
Summary of Facts Mary owns and operates a business in Vermont that sells ski equipment to resorts based in Vermont. Mary signs a contract with California-based company Froogle, allowing her to advertise on their website. Mary never visits California, doing all her business either by phone or online. Froogle alleges Mary has violated the contract between the two parties and files suit in California. Mary claims California holds no jurisdiction over her, while Froogle believes that the company being based in California gives enough credence over personal jurisdiction.

Issue

The issue in this case is whether or not the California Court has personal jurisdiction over Mary.

Rule Abbott Power Corp. v. Overhead Elec. Co., 131 Cal. Rptr. 508 (Cal. Ct. App. 1976), held that Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 410.10, which states that a court may exercise jurisdiction on any basis not inconsistent with the state or federal constitutions, allows for the broadest possible exercise of judicial jurisdiction.

Burger King Corp. v Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 471 (1985), ruled that for a case concerning a foreign defendant to be heard, the defendant must have intentionally established minimum contacts in the forum state. Typically establishing minimum contacts means that the defendant must have taken actions deliberately directed toward

the forum state. This does not require for the defendant to ever be present within the forum state; however, purposeful availment and minimum contact should not be found simply through incidental and fortuitous contact with a forum state.

Bridgestone Corp. v. Superior Court, 99 Cal. App. 4th 767 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 2002), stated that a nonresident defendant whose activities within the state are substantial, continuous, and systematic is subject to general jurisdiction in the state. If no such activities exist, a defendant is subject to specific jurisdiction only if the defendant received benefits and protections of the state’s laws through purposefully availing himself and directing activities toward the forum state, the dispute arises out of or has a significant relevance with the defendant's contacts with the state, and if the exercise of jurisdiction would be fair and reasonable.

Jewish Def. Org. v. Superior Court, 72 Cal. App. 4th 1045 (1999), upheld Bridgestone by stating the effects test can only be satisfied if the plaintiff can point to contacts which demonstrate that the defendant expressly aimed its conduct at the forum, and thereby made the forum the focal point of the activity. Simply asserting that the defendant knew that the plaintiff's principal place of business was located in the forum would be insufficient in itself to meet this requirement. The defendant must exhibit intentions specifically aimed at and targeted on the forum state for the test to be satisfied. A passive Web site that does little more than make information available to those who are interested in it is not grounds for the exercise of personal jurisdiction.

Application

As upheld in Abbott, California’s long-arm statute allows for personal jurisdiction over foreign defendants, such as Mary as long as it does not violate due process. However, proof of minimum contacts within California must be met. As stated in Burger King, the requirements for a nonresident defendant, such as Mary, which establish minimum contacts within the forum state must be met and the intent of the actions of Mary must be targeted toward the residents of California and not be incidental. Bridgestone affirmed

Mary’s activities within the forum state must be substantial, continuous, and systematic for the requirements of general personal jurisdiction to be met. Her minimum contacts for a nonresident defendant were not purposeful to gain a benefit from California; the contract dispute with Froogle did not come about from a dispute directly related to California, nor would it be fair or reasonable for Mary to litigate in a California court. Mary never directed her actions toward California residents, only Vermont. As upheld in Jewish Def. Org., a company acting as a passive Web site that allows the passing of information does not constitute grounds for personal jurisdiction. Mary’s business was specifically targeted at advertising toward Vermont residents, making calls and sending emails to the California-based company who holds the contract for the advertising is incidental and non-intentional contact with California and does not constitute minimum contacts.

Conclusion

It is clear in this case that according to California law, California does not have personal jurisdiction over Mary. Mary never aimed her advertising toward California customers, only Vermont. The plaintiff merely acted as a platform for Mary to advertise to her Vermont-based clientele.

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