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HARRY MILLER CO. v. CARR CHEM INC.

April 13, 1998

HARRY MILLER COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
CARR CHEM INC, and PAUL CARR, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRODY

ORDER-EXPLANATION

 AND NOW, this 13th day of April, 1998, IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue or in the alternative to transfer this case (docket entry 8) is DENIED.

 Plaintiff Harry Miller Company (Harry Miller) has shown that I have specific personal jurisdiction over defendants Paul Carr ("Carr") and Carr Chem Inc. ("Carr Chem"). Both defendants have sufficient minimum contacts with the forum, meeting the requirements of the Pennsylvania Long Arm Statute and the Constitution. Also, traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice will not be offended by my exercising personal jurisdiction over them.

 Specific personal jurisdiction arises when the plaintiff's claim is "related to or arises out of the defendant's contacts with the forum." Mellon Bank (East) PSFS v. Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1221 (3d Cir. 1992)(citations omitted). In a case where specific jurisdiction is asserted, I must be satisfied that the interrelationship of the defendant, the cause of action and the forum falls within the "minimum contacts" framework set out by the Supreme Court. Id. To comport with due process there must be some act by which each defendant has "purposely availed" itself of the "privilege of conducting business within the forum State, thus invoking the privileges of its laws." Id. I must take in account the relationship of the "forum, the defendant and the litigation" to determine whether the defendants conduct and connection with the forum State are such that the defendant should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there. Id.

 At the heart of this diversity case is a state created cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. Under Pennsylvania law, a person who discloses or uses another's trade secret, without privilege to do so, is liable to the other if "(a) he discovers the secret by improper means, or (b) his disclosures or use constitutes a breach of confidence reposed in him by the other in disclosing the secret to him...." See Van Products Co. v. General Welding, 419 Pa. 248, 213 A.2d 769, 774 (Pa. 1965).

 A federal court sitting in Pennsylvania has jurisdiction over an out of state defendant where the defendant has entered into a relationship of trust with a Pennsylvania resident and then has violated the resident's trade secrets. Paolino v. Channel Home Centers, 668 F.2d 721, 722-723 (3d Cir. 1982). In Paolino the plaintiff developed, in Pennsylvania, a device and disclosed the device in correspondence with the out of state defendant "under circumstances establishing a relationship of trust and confidence." The defendant then manufactured the device and sold them to a large retailer who offered the device for sale in Pennsylvania stores. The Third Circuit concluded that it was clearly and specifically foreseeable that Pennsylvania could exercise its long arm jurisdiction over such a case. Id. at 724. As the court wrote, the fact that the misappropriation took place outside of Pennsylvania was not determinative:

 Since Pennsylvania law created that property interest that state's interest in protecting the Pennsylvania resident from its willful destruction was clearly and specifically foreseeable. Inducing a Pennsylvanian to entrust that creature of Pennsylvania law to Air Control on a promise of confidentiality, and then misappropriating it, obviously would cause harm in Pennsylvania no matter where the misappropriation occurred.

 Id.

 The following actions of Carr occurring in or directed at Pennsylvania are material to the elements of Harry Miller's cause of action and establish that he purposefully availed himself of the forum.

 . Carr was an employee of Harry Miller, a Pennsylvania Corporation for almost nine years.

 . Carr traveled to Pennsylvania for his initial interview with Harry Miller.

 . Carr received training in Pennsylvania.

 . Carr made a significant number of trips to Pennsylvania to solicit business on behalf of Harry Miller, taking advantage of this forum's laws and protections. See e.g. Carr deposition at 82, 86, 89, 91, 94 and 95 (acknowledging sales trips to Erie, Warren, Bradford and Philadelphia Pennsylvania). There is also evidence that he made sales calls into Pennsylvania. Carr Deposition at 85-96 and Exhibits 1-5.

 . Carr frequently sent sales reports to Harry Miller in Pennsylvania, arguably communications aimed at the forum designed ...


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