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MICHELSON v. EXXON RESEARCH & ENGG. CO.

July 19, 1984

WILLIAM L. MICHELSON, Plaintiff
v.
EXXON RESEARCH and ENGINEERING COMPANY, A. W. HANGGELI, INTERNATIONAL COLOMBIA RESOURCES CORPORATION, and GUSTAVO ARIAS, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEBER

 Plaintiff has instituted this diversity action in thirteen counts against four defendants. He was employed by Exxon Research and Engineering Company to work out of his home in Warren, Pennsylvania. He reported to his employer's office in New Jersey by correspondence and telephone. His supervisor was defendant Hanggeli who worked at the company headquarters in New Jersey. His assignment out of which the present controversy arose was the inspection of locomotives being manufactured by the General Electric Company in Erie, Pennsylvania, for a client of Exxon Research and Engineering Company in Colombia, South America. He was discharged from his employment and he brings claims against Exxon, Hanggeli, and International Colombia Resources Corporation (Intercor).

 We are concerned here only with the claims against Hanggeli and Intercor for they have moved for dismissal of the claims against them on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction over their persons. Because evidentiary material has been presented in support of and in opposition to the motion it will be treated as a motion for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.

 The burden of proof of jurisdiction falls upon the party alleging such jurisdiction. Summary judgment requires a showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact.

 Defendant Hanggeli is charged with defamation (Count V), interference with contractual relations (Count VI), and misrepresentation (Count VII).

 It is undisputed that Hanggeli is not domiciled in Pennsylvania, has not consented to be sued in Pennsylvania, and has not been served with process in Pennsylvania. He is an individual and is subject to suit in the Pennsylvania courts only for activities which he personally undertook in Pennsylvania. Activities in which he was engaged as an officer or employee of a corporation are not sufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over him. Techno Corp. v. Dahl Associates, Inc., 521 F. Supp. 1036, 1037 (W.D. Pa. 1981) and 535 F. Supp. 303 (W.D. Pa. 1982).

 
Establishing personal jurisdiction over an individual on the basis of "doing business" requires that the evidence show not only that the individual did business within Pennsylvania as defined in 40 Pa.C.S.A. 8309, but that the business was done by the individual for himself and not for or on behalf of his corporation.

 Spelling-Goldberg Productions v. Bodek and Rhodes, 452 F. Supp. 452, 454 (E.D. Pa. 1978).

 Plaintiff relies on evidence that Hanggeli in New Jersey sent and received business reports from plaintiff in Pennsylvania, both by written correspondence and telephonically. Hanggeli was plaintiff's supervisor and there is no evidence that these were other than matters concerning their mutual employment by Exxon.

 Plaintiff argues that jurisdiction over Hanggeli is covered by the Pennsylvania Long-Arm Statute provision contained in 42 PA C.S.A. § 5322(a)(4).

 
. . . causing harm or tortious injury in this Commonwealth by an act or omission outside this Commonwealth.

 Plaintiff supports this claim by evidence that Hanggeli defamed Plaintiff by sending to him a report critical of his performance as an employee of Exxon. This was a memorandum on a form labeled "Interoffice Correspondence" marked "Private - for the personal use of the addressee" from Hanggeli to Plaintiff. It referred to a previous telephone conversation between them discussing Plaintiff's performance of his inspection duties at the General Electric Company. It transmitted a summary of telephone conversations between Hanggeli and the representative of a joint venturer with Exxon concerning Plaintiff's performance of his inspection duties. There is nothing in Hanggeli's cover letter that is capable of a defamatory meaning, and no attempt has been made by Plaintiff to suggest an innuendo or defamatory meaning. This is an initial determination that must be made by the court.

 Hanggeli transmitted the critical report to Plaintiff alone, and asked for a reply. Plaintiff does not contend that the communication was communicated to anyone in Pennsylvania. Thus the essential element of publication is absent. *fn1"

 Plaintiff alleges that the report was transmitted to others in the Exxon organization in New Jersey. The report was distributed within the organization only to persons in the Exxon chain of command, Hanggeli's supervisors and Plaintiff's immediate supervisor. The information was not published to anyone outside the employer's organization. This use of an internal complaint of plaintiff's job performance cannot constitute a defamation. Keddie v. Pennsylvania State ...


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