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WHITE-EVANS MFRS., INC. v. ELEVATOR SALES & SERV.
July 16, 1982
WHITE-EVANS MANUFACTURERS, INC., Plaintiff,
ELEVATOR SALES & SERVICE, Defendant, v. ELEVATOR SYSTEMS, INC., Third-Party Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRODERICK
In this diversity action, plaintiff White-Evans Manufacturers, Inc. ("White-Evans"), an Indiana corporation, filed a complaint with this Court against Elevator Sales & Service, Inc. ("Sales & Service"), a Pennsylvania corporation, alleging that Sales & Service had failed to pay the full contract price for certain elevators shipped to them by White-Evans. Sales & Service counterclaimed, alleging that White-Evans had failed to deliver the elevators by the agreed upon dates resulting in lost profits and other damages. White-Evans as defendant on the counterclaim filed a third-party complaint against Elevator Systems, Inc. ("Elevator Systems"), a New York corporation, claiming that any delay in the delivery of elevators by White-Evans to Sales & Service was the result of late deliveries of component parts by Elevator Systems to White-Evans. Elevator Systems has now moved to dismiss this third-party complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction averring that Elevator Systems lacks the sufficient contacts with Pennsylvania to justify suit in a Pennsylvania court. For the reasons hereinafter set forth, the Court will deny Elevator Systems' motion to dismiss.
Service of process on Elevator Systems was made pursuant to the Pennsylvania long-arm statute, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5301 et seq. as authorized by Rule 4(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Therefore, Elevator Systems' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction must be considered pursuant to the Pennsylvania long-arm statute, Strick Corporation v. A.J.F. Warehouse Distributors, Inc., 532 F. Supp. 951 (E.D.Pa.1982) at 953, bearing in mind that any exercise of personal jurisdiction is subject to the restrictions of the due process clause of the Constitution.
The Pennsylvania long-arm statute provides for two procedures by which a non-resident corporation may become subject to the jurisdiction of this Court. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5301 provides in pertinent part:
(a) General rule.-The existence of any of the following relationships between a person and this Commonwealth shall constitute a sufficient basis of jurisdiction to enable the tribunals of this Commonwealth to exercise general personal jurisdiction over such person, ... and to enable such tribunals to render personal orders against such person ...:
(iii) The carrying on of a continuous and systematic part of its general business within this Commonwealth.
(b) Scope of jurisdiction.-When jurisdiction over a person is based upon this section any cause of action may be asserted against him, whether or not arising from acts enumerated in this section....
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5322 provides in pertinent part:
(1) Transacting any business in this Commonwealth.
(b) Exercise of full constitutional power over nonresidents.-In addition to the provisions of subsection (2) the jurisdiction of the tribunals of this Commonwealth shall extend to all persons who are not within the scope of section 5301 ... to the fullest extent allowed under the Constitution of the United States and may be based on the most minimum contact with this Commonwealth allowed under the Constitution of the United States.
(c) Scope of jurisdiction.-When jurisdiction over a person is based solely upon this section, only a cause of action or other matter arising from acts enumerated in subsection (a), or from acts forming the basis of jurisdiction under subsection (b), may be asserted against him.
The fundamental difference between these sections of the Pennsylvania long-arm statute, as far as this case is concerned, is that § 5322 requires that the cause of action arise from the non-resident defendant's contact with the state, whereas § 5301 makes no demands that the cause of action be related to the activities of a defendant within the state so long as that person meets the requirements of the section. The demands of § 5301 are, however, more stringent than those of § 5322. Under § 5301(a)(2)(iii), a corporation must maintain "a continuous and systematic part of its general business" in Pennsylvania in order to justify jurisdiction by a Pennsylvania court. Section 5322, on the other hand, merely requires that a corporation transact some business in Pennsylvania or have some other contact as defined in § 5322(a) or (b). As Judge Pollak stated in his analysis of these sections, the difference ...
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