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COA affirms dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found that a Texas corporation that made a component of a dust collector that injured a Fort Wayne man did nothing more than place the screw conveyor in the stream of commerce, which supports dismissing the Texas business from a lawsuit filed here.

In John V. Sebring v. Air Equipment and Engineering, Inc., Donaldson Co., Inc., William W. Meyer and Sons, Inc., Newton Conveyors, Inc. and Emerson Power Transmission Corp.,
02A05-1211-PL-566, John Sebring sued several companies, including Newton Conveyors Inc., after the dust collector he used at work at OmniSource in Fort Wayne severely injured several of his fingers. NCI, a Texas company that has its sole place of business in that state, made the screw conveyor that Donaldson Co. Inc. used to make the dust collector. Donaldson is incorporated under the laws of Delaware and has a plant in Kentucky.

NCI argued for dismissal because it doesn’t have any employees or facilities in Indiana, has not advertised in the state since 1993, has not had any sales reps in the area since 2003 and doesn’t have any ongoing business relationships with any Indiana residents.

As part of their analysis, the judges looked at the shipping process of the part, in which Donaldson arranged for and paid for it to be picked up in Texas and sent to Fort Wayne. They also cited several cases, including J. McIntyre Machinery Ltd v. Nicastro, 131 S. Ct. 2780 (2011), to affirm the dismissal of NCI for lack of personal jurisdiction.

“… all of NCI’s actions relating to this case took place within Texas, the decision to ship the product to Indiana was made by Donaldson, and Donaldson took responsibility for sending the product to Indiana. We cannot agree that NCI did 'something more' than placing the screw conveyor in the stream of commerce,” Judge Terry Crone wrote.

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