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DRYSDALE v. FLORIDA TEAM TENNIS

March 1, 1976

Cliff DRYSDALE
v.
FLORIDA TEAM TENNIS, INC., et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROSENBERG

 This matter is before me on the motion of the defendant, World Team Tennis, Inc. (WTT), to dismiss the complaint of Cliff Drysdale, the plaintiff a citizen of Great Britain and a professional tennis player, who entered into a Player's Contract with the defendant, Florida Team Tennis, Inc. (FTT), a franchisee of WTT, for the use of his tennis playing services for the year 1974.

 The motion as presented is based factually on the averments contained in the Complaint, in the motion itself, in an affidavit of the plaintiff on belief of his legal right to bring suit, and on the deposition by the defendant of the plaintiff. In actuality this would seem to be a basis for a motion of summary judgment in whole or in part, rather than for a motion to dismiss the complaint. However, the circumstances of this stage of the proceeding are such as need no definition on my part for the purpose of disposing of the motion as presented.

 The defendant WTT is the general governing body of its franchises which constitute a league of teams playing in competition among themselves. Individual players are chosen to play for a franchisee by way of a draft system used in most professional sports organizations. A player may negotiate a Player's Contract only with the franchisee which obtains the right to contract with him as a result of the draft system.

 The plaintiff was drafted by the Philadelphia franchisee of the defendant WTT, which in turn assigned its exclusive right to contract with the plaintiff to the defendant FTT. On February 27, 1974 the plaintiff and the defendant FTT entered into a contract by which, upon the rendering of the plaintiff's services, he would receive a consideration of the sum of $60,000 for the 1974 season. Theodore Cohen, the owner of the defendant FTT, personally guaranteed the payment due under the $60,000 agreement.

 The plaintiff alleges that (1) the defendants FTT and Cohen as guarantor failed to make requisite salary payments; (2) the defendant WTT impliedly and expressly warranted the solvency of its franchise and guaranteed players' salaries; and (3) the defendant WTT agreed, combined, and conspired with each franchisee to restrain trade and commerce by conducting its player draft and establishing exclusive negotiation rights with individual players constituting a group boycott in violation of § 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1.

 FTT is now defunct and on May 22, 1975, an entry of default was filed by the plaintiff and default judgment was entered in favor of the plaintiff against the defendant FTT for failure to plead or answer.

 The defendant WTT avers in its motion to dismiss that (1) it is not subject to the jurisdiction of this court being a nonprofit California corporation that does not do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within the meaning of the Pennsylvania Long Arm Statute, 42 P.S. Pocket Parts, § 8309; (2) the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted in that (a) he lacks standing to raise antitrust violations; (b) the allegation of implied warranty is not founded in law, and (c) he does not allege knowing reliance upon, or consideration for any explicit guaranty; and (3) that there is lack of venue since the defendant is not doing business within the meaning of 15 U.S.C. § 22 and 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c).

 This diversity action involves a plaintiff from Great Britain, a defendant Pennsylvania corporation FTT, an individual defendant Theodore Cohen residing in Pennsylvania, and a defendant California corporation WTT which is not registered to do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The defendant WTT charges that it is not now nor was it doing any business within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which would connect it with the present action.

 The Pennsylvania statute on nonqualified foreign corporations subject to service of process is as follows:

 
"(a) General rule -- Any foreign corporation which shall have done any business in this Commonwealth without procuring a certificate of authority to do so from the Department of State as required by statute, shall be conclusively presumed to have designated the Department of State as its true and lawful attorney authorized to accept, on its behalf, service of process in any action arising within this Commonwealth." 42 P.S. § 8302.
 
"Where process is issued against any corporation or individual by any court of the United States empowered to issue such process under the laws of the United States, the Department of State is authorized to receive such process in the same manner and with the same effect as provided in this chapter for process issued by the courts of this Commonwealth." 42 P.S. § 8308.

 Judge Gerald Weber of this Court in a parallel case of Florida Team Tennis, Inc. v. World Team Tennis, Inc., 401 F. Supp. 117 (D.C.Pa. 1975), held that WTT was and is doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. That case involved two of the same parties involved in the present action and the facts concerning business contacts within the Commonwealth are almost identical. The affidavits submitted by the parties as well as the complaint lead me to adhere to Judge Weber's decision that there can be no doubt that the defendant WTT was doing business within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and subject to service of process proscribed in 42 P.S.§ 8302.

 The defendant argues that no activity of WTT which occurred in Pennsylvania was in any way connected with the contract between the plaintiff and the defendant FTT and therefore it cannot be served. This contention holds no weight in light of the statutory interpretation given to 42 P.S. § 8302. Glen Knit ...


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