a continuous and systematic part of their general business within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5301(a) (Supp. 1992).
Since the Court lacks general jurisdiction over Defendants under section 5301 the Court must turn to the Pennsylvania long-arm statute, section 5322, to determine whether the Court can exercise in personam jurisdiction over Defendants. This analysis involves two steps. First, the statute must give the Court authority to exercise jurisdiction over Defendants. Second, if the statute authorizes jurisdiction, the Court's exercise of that jurisdiction must fall within the constitutionally permissible limits of due process.
Section 5322(a) provides that a court may exercise jurisdiction over a person who performs any one of ten enumerated acts. The only possible bases for jurisdiction under the statute, viewing the allegations in the complaint as true, are the transacting business provision, section 5322(a)(1) and the causing harm or tortious injury in the Commonwealth by an act outside of the Commonwealth provision, section 5322(a)(4). According to Plaintiff's complaint, the Granite City Police Department mailed a notice to Plaintiff in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania informing Plaintiff that unless he claimed his motor home within thirty days the police department would sell it. Complaint P 13. The mailing of this one letter into the Commonwealth does not constitute transacting business within the meaning of section 5322(a)(1). Under section 5322(a)(4) a Pennsylvania court could exercise jurisdiction over a person if that person causes "harm or tortious injury in this Commonwealth by an act or omission outside this Commonwealth." 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5322(a)(4) (1981). It is far from clear whether the acts alleged by Plaintiff against Defendants in the complaint could satisfy this provision. Even assuming, for the sake of argument, however, that the Court could exercise jurisdiction over Defendants pursuant to section 5322(a)(4), the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution does not allow the Court to exercise jurisdiction over Defendants.
The Pennsylvania long-arm statute permits a court to assert personal jurisdiction over a defendant to the fullest extent allowed under the United States Constitution and jurisdiction may be based on the most minimum contact with the Commonwealth allowed under the Constitution. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5322(b) (1981). Accordingly, section 5322 is coextensive with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Lynch v. New Jersey Auto. Full Ins. Underwriting Ass'n, 762 F. Supp. 101, 103 (E.D. Pa. 1991). To satisfy due process, a nonresident defendant must have sufficient contacts with the forum state so that allowing the action to go forward does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 90 L. Ed. 95, 66 S. Ct. 154 (1945). A plaintiff may establish that a defendant has minimum contacts with the forum state by showing that the defendant "purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws." Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253, 2 L. Ed. 2d 1283, 78 S. Ct. 1228 (1958). In addition the Court may consider whether the cause of action arises from the defendant's activities within the forum state. McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., 355 U.S. 220, 223, 2 L. Ed. 2d 223, 78 S. Ct. 199 (1957). Finally, the Court should ask whether the acts of the defendant in the forum state were substantial enough to make the exercise of jurisdiction over the defendant reasonable. International Shoe, 326 U.S. at 317. Consideration of these factors is designed to test whether the "defendant's conduct and connection with the forum state are such that he should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there." World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297, 62 L. Ed. 2d 490, 100 S. Ct. 559 (1980).
Other than mailing a notice to Plaintiff in Pennsylvania, Defendants have no jurisdictionally relevant contacts with Pennsylvania to allow this Court to exercise jurisdiction over them. Defendants have not purposefully availed themselves of the privilege of conducting activities within Pennsylvania. Plaintiff's cause of action arises out of events that occurred in Illinois, not Pennsylvania. Defendants' lack of contacts with Pennsylvania are such that they could not reasonably anticipate being haled into this Court to defend against Plaintiff's allegations. The exercise of jurisdiction over them would be unreasonable and unconstitutional.
Because Plaintiff has failed to make even a prima facie showing that the Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendants, the Court will deny Plaintiff's motion for a temporary stay of a decision on Defendants' motion to dismiss. Because Defendants lack sufficient minimum contacts with Pennsylvania, allowing Plaintiff's action to go forward would violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court lacks jurisdiction over the persons of Defendants and will therefore grant Defendants' motion to dismiss. An appropriate order follows.
Daniel H. Huyett, 3rd, Judge
January 4, 1993
Upon consideration of Defendants' motion to dismiss (Document Nos. 13 and 21), Plaintiff's response and motion for a temporary stay (Document No. 24) and for the reasons stated in the foregoing memorandum:
1. Plaintiff's motion for a temporary stay is DENIED.
2. Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
Plaintiff's complaint and Civil Action No. 91-7477 is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction over the persons of Defendants.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Daniel H. Huyett, 3rd, Judge