The opinion of the court was delivered by: TEITELBAUM
This is a contract action brought by plaintiff Pullman Swindell (Swindell) against defendant Guyandotte Water and Sewer Development Association (Guyandotte), a locally-based association of Logan County, West Virginia residents interested in improving water and sewer facilities in their community.
Guyandotte is organized as a nonprofit corporation in West Virginia. Plaintiff Swindell, an engineering and construction firm, is a division of Pullman Incorporated, a Delaware corporation, and has its administrative and executive offices and principal place of business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The amount in controversy between the parties exceeds $10,000.00.
This case is presently before the Court on defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of in personam jurisdiction, pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion to dismiss will be granted on grounds that the nexus between defendant's activities and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is insufficient to justify the exercise of jurisdiction under the Pennsylvania "Long Arm" Statute, 42 P.S. § 8301 et seq., and the federal due process standard adopted therein, 42 P.S. § 8309(b).
The contract upon which this suit is grounded arose out of defendant Guyandotte's efforts to develop water and sewer facilities for residents of the Logan, West Virginia area. The contract itself -- a written agreement for engineering services to have been provided by Swindell in West Virginia -- is the sole basis for the assertion of jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant. Guyandotte's only alleged contact with this Commonwealth is that its contract with Swindell was "formally executed on behalf of plaintiff " at the latter's Pittsburgh office (emphasis supplied).
The following facts are pertinent to the jurisdictional issue: Plaintiff is internally divided into four operating groups, one of which is the Civil Works Group. Swindell's Civil Works Group maintains a branch office in Charleston, West Virginia and engages in civil works projects such as water, sewer and sanitary system design, as well as highway and bridge design and engineering. Plaintiff was known to defendant as a West Virginia engineering firm through its (Swindell's) offices in Charleston,
and Guyandotte entered into discussions with the firm ". . . because it needed locally-based engineering services which would meet the standards of local offices of state and federal agencies."
The terms of the written agreement under which this action is brought were reviewed and approved by the parties at a meeting at Swindell's Charleston office. Roscoe Thornbury, for Guyandotte, subsequently signed the contract in West Virginia. Thereafter, one Donald Stingel, then Executive Vice President of Swindell, signed the contract on behalf of plaintiff in his Pittsburgh office.
Defendant Guyandotte has never performed any activity in Pennsylvania and has never conducted business in the Commonwealth; it has no offices, no property, no agents nor any other presence in this State. The only asserted contact between defendant and Pennsylvania is that the subject contract was signed for Swindell in Pittsburgh, by Pittsburgh-based officers of plaintiff, and therefore purportedly was executed in this Commonwealth.
Having recently written at some length on the question of the reach of the Pennsylvania Long Arm Statute, see Crucible, Inc. v. Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags AB, 403 F. Supp. 9 (W.D. Pa. 1975), the Court does not deem it either useful or necessary on this occasion to engage in extended discourse on the relevant provisions of that legislation. Instead, we begin simply by observing that it would seem plain that defendant Guyandotte has not "done business" in this Commonwealth within the meaning of any of the provisions of 42 P.S. § 8309(a).
With particular regard to subsections (1) and (2) of § 8309(a), it is noted that the exercise of jurisdiction requires more than the wholly isolated "act" or "event" present in the case sub judice. What is contemplated by these subsections is an actual or intended series of acts done in the Commonwealth; thus, even if it be assumed that the contract here at issue was formally executed in Pennsylvania, that is not sufficient to render Guyandotte amenable to service of process under § 8309(a). See Columbia Metal Culvert Co., Inc. v. Kaiser Industries Corp., 526 F.2d 724 (3d Cir. 1975).
"(b) Exercise of full constitutional power over foreign corporations. -- In addition to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section the jurisdiction and venue of courts of the Commonwealth shall extend to all foreign corporations and the powers exercised by them to the ...