No. 1 W.D. Appeal Docket 1982, Appeal from Order of Superior Court entered June 26, 1981, at No. 116 April Term 1979,
O'Brien, C.j., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott and Hutchinson, JJ. Roberts, C.j., files an opinion in support of affirmance in which Larsen and Flaherty, JJ., join. Nix, J., files an opinion in support of reversal in which McDermott and Hutchinson, JJ., join. O'Brien, former C.j., did not participate in the decision of this case.
The Court being equally divided, the Order of the Superior Court is affirmed.
OPINION IN SUPPORT OF AFFIRMANCE
The record amply supports the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County sustaining its exercise of jurisdiction over appellant, H.M. Trimble & Sons, Limited. As the Opinion in Support of Reversal acknowledges, appellant "purposely availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state" by partially performing the contract with appellees in Pennsylvania. Appellant entered into a contract to transport goods manufactured in Pennsylvania from Pennsylvania to Canada. In order to take custody of the goods in Pennsylvania, appellant entered into a "trip lease" of its equipment with Coastal Tanklines, Limited, which authorized appellant to enter Pennsylvania for that purpose. Compare World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 100 S.Ct. 559, 62 L.Ed.2d 490 (1980), and Kenny v. Alexson Equipment Co., 495 Pa. 107, 432 A.2d 974 (1981) (jurisdiction inappropriate where defendant's contact with forum is fortuitous). The state's interest in assuring that a contract for the safe transportation of Pennsylvania goods is properly performed must be evident. Not only does Pennsylvania have an interest in highway safety; it also has an interest in assuring that Pennsylvania manufacturers do not bear unwarranted liability for goods proper when made and delivered to the buyer's carrier. See McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., 355 U.S. 220, 78 S.Ct. 199, 2 L.Ed.2d 223 (1957).
Contrary to the assertion of the Opinion in Support of Reversal, it must be obvious that the reasonableness of asserting jurisdiction over a particular defendant is not
properly determined by the existence or non-existence of a mere allegation in the plaintiff's complaint of the situs of a claimed breach of contract. Indeed, in this case, appellee's claim against appellant for the improper carriage of goods does not even require proof that appellant's alleged contamination of the goods "occurred during [appellant's] sojourn in Pennsylvania," which, according to the Opinion in Support of Reversal, would be a necessary allegation for the exercise of jurisdiction. All appellee must prove is that the goods were contaminated when appellant made the delivery in Canada and that the goods had been in a satisfactory condition when appellant assumed custody in Pennsylvania. While the situs of an alleged breach, if known, is relevant to a jurisdictional inquiry, it is only one of many potential contacts between the defendant, the forum, and the litigation which may support jurisdiction.*fn1
It is not unfair to require appellant, a Canadian-based carrier, to defend in a Pennsylvania court in an action for breach of contract instituted by the Canadian buyer against both the carrier and the Pennsylvania manufacturer who supplied the goods which the carrier contracted to transport from Pennsylvania to Canada. As the Supreme Court of the United States stated in International Shoe,
"to the extent that a corporation exercises the privilege of conducting activities within a state, it enjoys the benefits and protection of the laws of that state. The exercise of that privilege may give rise to obligations; and, so far as those obligations arise out of or are connected with the activities within the state, a procedure which requires the corporation to respond to a suit brought to enforce them can, in most instances, hardly be said to be undue."
The contract for delivery of the methylene chloride was entered into between the Montreal office of Kingsley Canada and H.M. Trimble & Sons, Ltd., a Canadian corporation (Trimble Canada).*fn3 Interstate Chemical Corporation (Interstate Penna.), a Pennsylvania corporation, was to provide the methylene chloride. On October 12, 1974, a tank truck of Interstate Penna. delivered approximately 40,000 pounds (1/2) of the methylene chloride for transfer to a tank truck of Trimble Canada in Indianapolis, Indiana, which in turn was to be delivered to Celanese in Canada.
On November 12, 1974, a second tank truck of Interstate Penna. transferred the remaining half of the methylene chloride (approximately 40,000 pounds) to a Trimble Canada tank truck in Mercer, Pennsylvania which load was also to be delivered to Celanese in Canada.
Upon arrival, testing and inspection in Canada, Celanese rejected the methylene chloride claiming that it was contaminated. Kingsley Canada and Kingsley New Jersey thereafter filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County ...