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GAMBLE v. LYONS PRECAST ERECTORS

June 22, 1993

MARIAN S. GAMBLE
v.
LYONS PRECAST ERECTORS, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BY THE COURT; ANITA B. BRODY

 I am being called upon to decide whether a federal district court has personal jurisdiction over a third-party defendant corporation whose principal place of business is located outside the forum state but within 100 air miles of the district courthouse. I find that, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 (f), the court has personal jurisdiction over the corporation.

 Before me is the motion by third-party defendant Prismatic Development Corporation ("Prismatic") to dismiss the third-party complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 (b) (2) for lack of personal jurisdiction. Prismatic is a New Jersey corporation whose principal place of business, located in Parsippany, New Jersey, is within 100 air miles of our district court.

 Factual Background

 The plaintiff Marian S. Gamble, Administratrix of the Estate of Donald E. Siegfried, is bringing this action in negligence against Lyons Precast Erectors, Inc. ("Lyons"), a New Jersey subcontractor, in connection with the collapse of four precast concrete panels at a construction site in Newark, New Jersey which resulted in the death of Mr. Siegfried.

 Lyons filed a third-party complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 14 for contribution and indemnity from Prismatic. *fn1" Lyons served process on Prismatic at Prismatic's principal place of business, in Parsippany, New Jersey. The Court has taken judicial notice that all parts of Parsippany, New Jersey are within 100 miles of this court, which sits at 601 Market Street in Philadelphia. (Interim Order of June 1, 1993).

 Discussion

 Prismatic moves to dismiss Lyons' third party complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12 (b) (2) for lack of personal jurisdiction. Prismatic argues that Lyons is limited to serving process on Prismatic under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 (e). Prismatic focuses on that part of the Rule 4 (e) which provides:

 
whenever a statute or rule of court of the state in which the district court is held provides . . . for service of a summons . . . upon a party not an inhabitant of or found within the state . . . service may . . . be made under the circumstances and in the manner prescribed in the statute or rule."

 Following this language, Prismatic asserts that (1) the Pennsylvania long-arm statute extends the jurisdiction of its state courts to the "fullest extent allowed under the Constitution of the United States," Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. ยง 5322 (b) (Purdon Supp. 1981); (2) the due process clause of the 14th Amendment allows a state court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a foreign defendant as long as that defendant has certain minimum contacts with the forum state so that maintenance of the suit does not offend "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice," International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 90 L. Ed. 95, 66 S. Ct. 154 (1945); and (3) this standard of minimum contacts with Pennsylvania cannot be met. *fn2" For this reason, Prismatic contends, it cannot be served with process from this court, leaving the court without personal jurisdiction over Prismatic.

 Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 (e), however, also allows service "upon a party not an inhabitant of or found within the state in which the district court is held" in accordance with any "statute of the United States or order of court thereunder" which authorizes such service. Rule 4 (f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is such an "order of court." See Jacobs v. Flight Extenders, Inc., 90 F.R.D. 676, 679 (E.D. Pa. 1981). Rule 4 (f) provides that:

 
persons who are brought in as parties pursuant to Rule 14 [as third party defendants], may be served . . . at all places outside the state but within the United States that are not more than 100 miles from the place in which the action is commenced. *fn3"

 Although the Third Circuit has never addressed the issue, the circuit courts that have considered the impact of Rule 4 (f) upon jurisdiction have uniformly held that the "100 mile bulge rule" in effect extends the territorial jurisdiction of the federal district courts. Quinones v. Pennsylvania General Ins., 804 F.2d 1167 (10th Cir. 1986); Sprow v. Hartford Ins. Co., 594 F.2d 412 (5th Cir. 1979); Coleman v. American Export Isbrandtsen Lines, Inc., 405 F.2d 250 (2d Cir. 1968) (Friendly, J.); MacNeil v. K. Mart Corp., 1987 WL 12291 (E.D. Pa. 1987). These decisions follow the general rule that Congress may extend the territorial jurisdiction of a federal district court to any part of the United States. Mississippi Publishing Corp. v. Murphree, 326 U.S. 438, 90 L. Ed. 185, 66 S. Ct. 242 (1946). Rule 4 (f) is simply a partial application of this authority. Quinones, 804 F.2d at 1175-76; See also, Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 Advisory Committee note on the 1963 amendments to ...


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