it was issued June 23, 1975 and became effective July 1, 1975. By an internal "speedagram" dated July 1, 1975 to Mike Murphy, a PMA employee at the main office, Mr. Sloan requested that the Township's policy be "issued effective 7/2/75." Such a policy was issued, effective July 2, 1975, but apparently without prior underwriting approval. The "speedagram" bears the notation "received July 03, 1975 Underwriting Services," the day after the policy became effective. PMA did not explain at the hearing how, if underwriting approval is a prerequisite to issuance, a policy could be approved, issued and take effect all before it reached the underwriting department.
PMA raises two arguments to support its invocation of the in personam jurisdiction of this court over the Township of Gloucester. The first argument is that all of the important events giving rise to the cause of action occurred in Pennsylvania. The decision to issue the policy and what premiums to charge occurred in Pennsylvania, even the breach of contract occurred in Pennsylvania, according to PMA, when it failed to receive the premiums when due. The second argument, somewhat related to the first, is that because the policy issued only after final approval by PMA's underwriting department in Pennsylvania, the contract was formed in this jurisdiction. Based on the facts before me and consideration of the applicable law, I find these arguments unavailing. Indeed, the case is not even close.
Pennsylvania permits its courts to exercise long arm jurisdiction to the fullest extent allowed by the Constitution; hence the question in this case is whether the Township has exhibited constitutionally sufficient "minimum contacts" with Pennsylvania. See 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5322(b). The principles of minimum contact analysis are well-known and need not be reviewed here. See generally World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 100 S. Ct. 559, 62 L. Ed. 2d 490 (1980); Jacobs v. Lakewood Aircraft Service, Inc., 493 F. Supp. 46 (E.D.Pa. 1980). PMA's first argument proceeds on the faulty assumption that its contacts with the forum state may somehow by their sheer weight carry along the defendant. But the mere "unilateral activity of those who claim some relationship with a nonresident defendant cannot satisfy the requirement of contact with the forum state." Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253, 78 S. Ct. 1228, 1239, 2 L. Ed. 2d 1283 (1958). The bilateral activity in this case took place between the Township and the Pennsauken District Office, as distinct from the direct solicitation of a Pennsylvania corporation that occurred in Watson McDaniel Co. v. National Pump & Control, Inc., 493 F. Supp. 18 (E.D.Pa. 1979). The plaintiff's unilateral activity of allocating business decisionmaking, such as the setting of premiums and the issuing of policies, to its main office does not diminish the constitutional burden on the plaintiff. Nor is the unilateral character of that activity altered by the Township Manager's knowledge of PMA's business structure. "Foreseeability" in the literal sense that the Township Manager could foresee that the policy would be issued out of PMA's Pennsylvania office, "has never been a sufficient benchmark for personal jurisdiction under the Due Process Clause." See World-Wide Volkswagen, supra, 444 U.S. at 295, 100 S. Ct. at 566-67, 62 L. Ed. 2d 490.
Plaintiff's second argument seems to be premised on an overly broad reading of my earlier opinion in Watson McDaniel Co., supra. Cases such as these are notoriously fact-specific, perhaps due to a conceptual disarray in the governing law. In any event, the secondary emphasis on the fictional place of formation of the contract in Watson McDaniel cannot support the exercise of in personam jurisdiction in a case with contacts so minimal as those here.
Moreover, the facts do not support PMA's contention that the contract was formed in Pennsylvania. Assuming arguendo that it was, this case well illustrates how, when contracts are made by mail, insistence on the formalities of contract or insurance law can lead away from the considerations of fundamental fairness that the Due Process Clause embodies. Reliance on the fiction of the place of making, or the place of breaching for that matter, would be excessively technical here. See Vencedor Mfg. Co. v. Gougler Industries, 557 F.2d 886, 890-91 (1st Cir. 1977). I conclude that the defendant has not exhibited the minimum contacts with the forum state that due process requires and accordingly will grant the motion to dismiss.