Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

ROGERS v. ICELANDAIR

September 21, 1981

Wilbert S. ROGERS, et al.
v.
ICELANDAIR/FLUGLEIDER, INTERNATIONAL, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HUYETT

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This is an action for breach of employment contracts brought by several former pilots and flight engineers of defendant International Air Bahama (IAB). Plaintiffs claim that defendant Flugleider, H.F. (incorrectly sued as Icelandair/Flugleider) (Flugleider) owns and controls IAB and wrongfully directed IAB to terminate plaintiffs' employment with IAB. Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2), which will be granted for the reasons set forth below.

 Subject matter jurisdiction was alleged on the basis of diversity of citizenship. Plaintiff Rogers is a citizen of Pennsylvania, the other plaintiffs are citizens of various other states, defendant IAB is a foreign corporation incorporated in and with its principal place of business in Nassau, Bahama Islands, and defendant Flugleider is a foreign corporation incorporated in and with its principal place of business in Reykjavik, Iceland. Thus this court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(2).

 In Pennsylvania in personam jurisdiction over defendants must be based on either 42 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. § 5301 (Purdon 1981) (the doing business statute) or 42 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. § 5322 (Purdon 1981) (the long arm statute). Plaintiffs may not obtain in personam jurisdiction over defendants pursuant to section 5301 because it is undisputed that neither defendant is incorporated in Pennsylvania, is qualified to do business here, has consented to be sued here, or carries on "a continuous and systematic part of its general business within this Commonwealth." See 42 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. § 5301(a)(2) (Purdon 1981). However, in personam jurisdiction lies in this court over defendants pursuant to the long arm statute, *fn1" which controls the exercise of in personam jurisdiction over nonresident corporate defendants by the federal district courts sitting in Pennsylvania. Galaxy International, Inc. v. White Stores, Inc., 88 F.R.D. 311, 314 (W.D.Pa.1980); Donner v. Tams-Witmark Library, Inc., 480 F. Supp. 1229, 1231-32 (E.D.Pa.1979). The provision states:

 
(a) General rule A tribunal of this Commonwealth may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person ... who acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of action or other matter arising from such person:
 
(4) Causing harm or tortious injury in this Commonwealth by an act or omission outside this Commonwealth.

 Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, plaintiff Rogers' employment contract was wrongfully terminated, causing him harm within Pennsylvania, pursuant to a letter sent from outside of Pennsylvania. See Restatement of Contracts § 321 (1932) (statement of repudiation of contract in a letter constitutes a breach at the time and place where the letter was dispatched). Thus 42 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. § 5322(a)(4) (Purdon 1981) applies to this action. Further, because this action alleges wrongful termination of employment, which termination was effectuated by an act outside of Pennsylvania and caused harm within Pennsylvania, 42 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. § 5322(c) (Purdon 1981) presents no bar to in personam jurisdiction. *fn2"

 
(Due) process requires only that in order to subject a defendant to a judgment in personam, if he be not present within the territory of the forum, he have certain minimum contacts with it such that maintenance of the suit does not offend "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice."

 326 U.S. at 316, 66 S. Ct. at 158. In World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 100 S. Ct. 559, 62 L. Ed. 2d 490 (1980), the Supreme Court reaffirmed that requirement:

 
As has long been settled, and as we reaffirm today, a state court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant only so long as there exists "minimum contacts" between the defendant and the forum state.

 444 U.S. at 291, 100 S. Ct. at 564. In Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 78 S. Ct. 1228, 2 L. Ed. 2d 1283 (1958), the Supreme Court explicated that standard, stating that due process requires a defendant to have "purposefully avail(ed) itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws." 357 U.S. at 253, 78 S. Ct. at 1239.

 Relying on International Shoe Co. v. Washington and Hanson v. Denckla, the Pennsylvania Superior Court set forth the following guidelines for determining whether minimum contracts were present in a given factual setting:

 
First, the defendant must have purposefully availed itself of the privilege of acting within the forum state thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.... Secondly, the cause of action must arise from defendant's activities within the forum state.... Lastly, the acts of the defendant must have a substantial enough ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.