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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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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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