The opinion of the court was delivered by: TROUTMAN
This matter is before the Court on defendants' motions to quash return of service of the summons and complaint or to dismiss the action.
The merits of the case are not before us, but to consider the jurisdictional problem in context, they involve a Wrongful Death and Survival Act action brought by plaintiffs, administrator and wife of decedent, to recover damages for the death of their decedent, James Scalise. Mr. Scalise died in the crash of a private plane near Salem, New Jersey, on August 21, 1965. The defendants are Beech Aircraft Corporation (hereinafter referred to as Beech), manufacturer of the plane, and Atlantic Aviation Corporation (hereinafter referred to as Atlantic), owner of the plane in which Mr. Scalise was receiving flight instructions from an Atlantic employee at the time of the crash.
Service of process was purportedly made at the Philadelphia International Airport offices of Atlantic Aviation Service, Inc., (hereinafter referred to as Service), and Atlantic Philadelphia, Inc., by delivery of the summons and complaint to Mrs. Leonore Jacobs, secretary to the Operations Manager, Reuben Springer. The record clearly establishes that Service and Atlantic Philadelphia are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Atlantic. At the time of the accident in suit, Service was the regional distributor, and at the time of service of process, a dealer of Beech; and at the time of service of process, Atlantic Philadelphia was the regional distributor of Beech.
In substance, plaintiffs contend that the facts as set forth in the affidavits and exhibits produced by the opposing parties support the proposition that the defendant corporations exerted such control over the corporations served that they were "doing business" within Pennsylvania so as to render them amenable to the process of this Court.
For the sake of clarity, plaintiff's contentions will be first considered as to Atlantic, and then as to Beech.
In support of plaintiffs' contentions that Atlantic was "doing business" in Pennsylvania, through its subsidiary, affidavits and answers to interrogatories have been filed which establish the following:
1. Atlantic is incorporated in the State of Delaware, has its principal place of business in Delaware, and is primarily engaged in the design and installation of aircraft and the maintenance of large aircraft. It also sells Gulfstream and Beech aircraft, maintains some small charter operations, including the chartering of planes for flight instructions.
2. Among Atlantic's wholly-owned subsidiaries are included: Service, a Delaware corporation, having its principal place of business in Pennsylvania, engaging primarily in the sales and service of small aircraft, primarily Beechcraft, and conducting a flight and charter operation, not including the chartering of planes for flight instructions; Delaware Aviation Corporation, Inc., a Delaware corporation, having its principal place of business in Pennsylvania, and engaging primarily in the sales and service of aircraft; Atlantic Aviation Supply, Inc., a Delaware corporation, having its principal place of business in New Jersey, and engaging primarily in the sale of aircraft parts; National Financing, Inc., a Delaware corporation, engaging in the business of financing aircraft sales.
3. The principal officers of Atlantic and Service are identical. Although the salaries of these common officers are paid by Atlantic, this expense is allocated to the respective corporations on a formula basis.
4. For the most part, the board of directors of Atlantic and Service have been identical.
5. The persons in charge of Service's activities are Milton Maloney, Sales Manager, and Reuben Springer, Operations Manager, both of whom are employees solely of Service. Although both report directly to Donald Redpath, a Vice President of Atlantic and Service, apart from the general budget control of Mr. Redpath, both have virtually complete autonomy in the sales and operations areas.
6. The advertising of the subsidiaries is prepared under the direction of the sales managers of the respective subsidiaries with some requested layout assistance from Atlantic's advertising department. However, approval of Atlantic Aviation ...