Personal Jurisdiction on eBay


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Personal Jurisdiction on eBay - Cyberspace Law JMLS Summer 2011

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Personal Jurisdiction on eBay

  1. 1. Personal Jurisdiction on<br />
  2. 2. A quick review of Civ Pro I<br />General PJ:<br />Where Defendant has systematic and continuous contacts with the forum state.<br />Specific PJ:<br />Where Defendant has “certain minimum contacts” with the forum such that the exercise of jurisdiction “does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” <br />
  3. 3. Due Process Analysis<br />3-Part Test (Mohasco):<br />D must purposefully avail himself of the privilege of acting in the forum or causing a consequence in the forum.<br />The cause of action must arise from D’s contacts with the forum. <br />D’s acts or the consequences caused by him must have a substantial enough connection with the forum to make the exercise of jurisdiction over D reasonable.<br />
  4. 4. Purposeful Availment Based on Interactivity of Website (Zippo)<br />3 levels of interactivity: <br />(1) Purely passive sites: informational only<br />(2) Active sites: users clearly transact business<br />(3) Hybrid sites: users exchange information with the host computer<br />Under Zippo, Internet auctions (eBay) are more than a passive website, and will support a finding of purposeful availment.<br />
  5. 5. Dedvukaj v. Maloney (E.D. Mich. 2006)<br />D = NY seller <br />
  6. 6. Dedvukaj v. Maloney (cont.)<br />P = MI buyer<br />
  7. 7. Dedvukaj v. Maloney (cont.)<br />Forum = MI District Court<br />Action for breach of K, fraud, and misrepresentation<br /> PJ?<br />
  8. 8. MI Long-Arm Statute<br />“The existence of any of the following relationships… enable a court of record to exercise limited personal jurisdiction over the individual…” <br />(1) The transaction of any business within the state.<br />(2) The doing or causing an act to be done, or consequences to occur, in the state resulting in an action for tort.<br />[…]<br />(5) Entering into a contract for services to be rendered or for materials to be furnished in the state by the defendant.<br />
  9. 9. Dedvukaj v. Maloney (cont.)<br />Due Process requirement: <br />D must have adequate “minimum contacts” with the forum.<br />3-Part Test (Mohasco):<br />Purposeful availment<br />Suit must arise out of D’s activities with the forum<br />PJ must be reasonable: D’s acts/ consequences must have a substantial connection with the forum<br />
  10. 10. Dedvukaj v. Maloney (cont.)<br />“Defendants are not random sellers on eBay cleaning out their attic or selling knick-knacks out of their garage. Defendants appear to be highly sophisticated sellers with an extensive offering of merchandise and a volume of business that requires a warehouse.”<br />
  11. 11. MacNeil v. Trambert(Ill. App. 2010)<br />D = CA seller<br />P = IL buyer<br />Forum = IL <br />
  12. 12. MacNeil v. Trambert(cont.)<br />“…Trambert placed the vehicle for sale on eBay, had no control over who ultimately purchased it […]”<br />“[…] and, once the item was purchased, had limited contacts with MacNeil.” <br />“Therefore, Trambert’s conduct directed at this forum did not rise to the level of purposeful availment...” <br />
  13. 13. MacNeil v. Trambert(cont.)<br />Purposeful availment based on “the level of interactivity and the commercial nature of the information exchanged”?<br />No. “One-time deal.” <br />The Effects Doctrine<br />
  14. 14. Erwin v. Piscitello(E.D. Tenn. 2007)<br />D = TX seller <br />1962 Impala; “mint” <br />
  15. 15. Erwin v. Piscitello(cont.)<br />P = TN buyer <br />1962 Impala; “less-than-mint”<br />
  16. 16. Erwin v. Piscitello(cont.)<br />Purposeful availment<br />“Defendant knowingly interacted with a Tennessee resident, he “hard-sold” the Impala to Plaintiff, and he misrepresented the Impala's mint condition.” <br />
  17. 17. Erwin v. Piscitello(cont.)<br />The Effects Test (Calder)<br />“Plaintiff's misrepresentation and fraud claims stem from Defendant's acts of calling into Tennessee and representing the Impala was something it was not.” <br />