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MASSACHUSETTS SCH. OF LAW AT ANDOVER, INC. v. ABA

March 11, 1994

MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL OF LAW AT ANDOVER, INC.
v.
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. WILLIAM DITTER, JR.

 Ditter, J.

 Before me is a case involving law school accreditation and alleged violations of federal antitrust law by four organizational defendants and 22 individual defendants. Plaintiff avers in its complaint that the American Bar Association ("ABA") monopolizes the accreditation process. Defendants, plaintiff asserts, have conspired to fix the salaries of law school faculties and administrators; restrict their output; raise law school tuitions; and foreclose from legal education people in lower socio-economic classes. Twenty-one *fn1" of the individual defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the claims against them for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue. I will grant their motion.

 I. FACTS

 For the purposes of the present jurisdictional motion the following allegations contained in the complaint will be accepted as true. Plaintiff, Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, Inc. ("MSL") is a non-profit corporation that operates a law school in Andover, Massachusetts. The law school opened its doors in 1988.

 MSL asserts it endeavors to provide high quality, low-cost legal education to people who might otherwise be shut out of more traditional law schools. The law school prides itself on having a unique admissions procedure that encourages applicants from mid-life and from lower economic classes and on having a tuition that is currently $ 9,000 per year. MSL says it achieves its goals by policies and practices that it admits are in direct conflict with certain ABA accreditation criteria. MSL asserts that the ABA requires law schools to utilize the LSAT in admissions decisions, which MSL does not do. The ABA does not count adjunct faculty in computing required student-faculty ratios; MSL makes extensive use of adjunct professors, which keeps salary costs down, but does not allow MSL to reach the ABA-required ratio. The ABA criteria require a law school's library to have a certain number of hardbound volumes; MSL relies heavily on an electronic library.

 MSL sought accreditation from the ABA. Such accreditation is crucial, MSL contends, because the vast majority of jurisdictions (41 states plus the District of Columbia) require that a prospective bar applicant be a graduate of an ABA-accredited law school before he or she can sit for that state's bar examination. *fn2" In 1993 the ABA denied MSL's application for accreditation.

 MSL maintains that the ABA's accreditation criteria are anticompetitive and that the ABA has abused its monopoly power over accreditation. MSL asserts that defendants' actions have caused it to suffer competitive injury and loss of prestige. It avers that it has difficulty competing for students as a result of the ABA's denying accreditation, and it has suffered economic damage through decreased enrollments. In two counts, MSL claims that defendants have combined and conspired to organize and enforce a group boycott in restraint of trade, a violation of the Sherman Act, Section 1, and that defendants have conspired to monopolize the provision of law school training, the accreditation of law schools, and the licensing of lawyers, in violation of the Sherman Act, Section 2. 15 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2.

 II. PERSONAL JURISDICTION

 Before this court can exercise personal jurisdiction over any of these individual defendants, there must be a constitutionally acceptable relationship between that defendant and the forum. Once a defendant challenges the exercise of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff has the burden of proving with reasonable particularity that sufficient contacts to support jurisdiction exist between the defendant and the forum state. The plaintiff must establish a basis for either specific jurisdiction or general jurisdiction.

 A. Personal Jurisdiction Based on Individual Defendants' Contacts With Pennsylvania

 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4 allows a federal district court to exercise personal jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants to the extent allowed by the law of the state where the court is located. Pennsylvania has two statutes that confer jurisdiction over persons. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 5301, 5322. General jurisdiction over an individual defendant is based on the individual's presence or domicile in Pennsylvania when served or on the individual's consent to jurisdiction. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5301 (a)(1) (Purdon 1993). Specific jurisdiction over a person is based on the cause of action arising from the person's activities and contacts in Pennsylvania. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5322(a) (Purdon 1993).

 Each of the individual defendants has stated in an affidavit that he or she was served outside of Pennsylvania, is not a resident *fn4" of Pennsylvania, and has not consented to the exercise of personal jurisdiction by courts in Pennsylvania. (Def. Mot., exh. A-U). Plaintiff has not offered evidence to the contrary. Therefore, I find that ...


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