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STEVEN GARFIELD v. HOMOWACK LODGE (10/06/77)

decided: October 6, 1977.

STEVEN GARFIELD, AND AUDREY GARFIELD, HIS WIFE
v.
HOMOWACK LODGE, INC., APPELLANT



No. 1598 October Term, 1976, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County entered April 21, 1976, as of January Term, 1975, No. 3418., Trial Div., Law.

COUNSEL

Joel Paul Fishbein, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert S. Dubin, Philadelphia, with him Morton B. Wapner, Philadelphia, for appellees.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Hoffman, J., files a dissenting opinion, in which Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ., join.

Author: Jacobs

[ 249 Pa. Super. Page 394]

This appeal was taken from an order of the trial court dismissing appellant's preliminary objections to the in personam jurisdiction of the court.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Appellees filed a complaint in trespass against appellant, a non-registered foreign corporation, on January 13, 1975, alleging that Stephen Garfield was injured when he fell on a defectively maintained ice skating rink at appellant's resort in Spring Glen, New York. Service of the complaint was effected by registered mail to the Secretary of the Commonwealth

[ 249 Pa. Super. Page 395]

    and to the appellant in New York, whereupon appellant filed preliminary objections challenging jurisdiction.

The parties stipulated the following facts:

1. For each week during approximately the past five years, appellant has advertised its resort in The Jewish Exponent, a newspaper published and distributed in the Philadelphia area;

2. The cost of this advertising is $2,000.00 per year;

3. Appellant maintains a toll-free telephone number for Philadelphia area residents to make reservations with its lodge;

4. Appellant provides advertising brochures to several Philadelphia travel agents and pays a ten per cent referral fee for customers referred by a travel agency to the lodge.

The language of the Pennsylvania long-arm statute*fn2 clearly covers appellant's activities in this case. In § 8309(a)(1), the Act defines "doing business" for jurisdictional purposes as

"The doing by any person in this Commonwealth of a series of similar acts for the purpose of thereby realizing pecuniary benefit or otherwise accomplishing an object."*fn3

We think the stipulated facts that appellant continuously advertises its resort through a Pennsylvania newspaper, maintains a toll-free telephone number in Pennsylvania for lodge reservations, and retains Pennsylvania travel agents on a ten per cent commission basis demonstrate that appellant is doing a series of similar acts in this Commonwealth for the purpose of realizing pecuniary benefit, and therefore hold that sufficient contacts exist for in personam jurisdiction on the basis of the statutory language alone. However, additional reasons exist for a finding of sufficient contacts to trigger jurisdiction here.

In Nettis v. DiLido Hotel, 215 Pa. Super. 284, 257 A.2d 643 (1969), this Court held that service of process on a Philadelphia

[ 249 Pa. Super. Page 396]

    travel agent who booked reservations to defendant's Florida hotel on a ten per cent commission basis was an invalid effort to bring the defendant, a non-registered foreign corporation, within the jurisdiction of the court, because the travel agent was not an agent of defendant. In dictum, the Court stated that insertion in a Pennsylvania newspaper of an advertisement for the defendant's Florida hotel did not constitute an introduction ...


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