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eBay suit presents issue of first impression

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In an issue of first impression in Indiana - and possibly in the United States - the Indiana Court of Appeals addressed specific jurisdiction questions in a suit filed by sellers on the online auction site, eBay.

In Richard and Marlene Attaway v. Llexcyiss Omega and D. Dale York, No. 11A01-0712-CV-608, the Attaways brought an interlocutory appeal of the trial court's denial of their motion to dismiss a suit filed by Llexcyiss Omega and Dale York. They claimed the trial court erred in denying the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, that Clay County wasn't a proper venue, and eBay and PayPal user agreements prohibited the parties from litigating the dispute.

The Attaways, who live in Idaho, purchased a Porsche on eBay using PayPal from Llexcyiss Omega and York, who are in Indiana. The Attaways arranged for a transportation company to deliver the car to Iowa. Once they received it, they filed a claim with PayPal for a refund because they said the car wasn't as described on eBay. PayPal denied the refund, but the Attaways managed to have their credit card company remove the charges and rescind payment.

Llexcyiss Omega and York filed suit in small claims court in Clay County, demanding $5,900 in damages.

The Court of Appeals determined the Attaways weren't subject to general jurisdiction in Indiana and had to decide whether they were subject to specific jurisdiction. This brings up the issue of first impression because the appellate court couldn't find any cases in which an eBay seller had sued a buyer for rescission of payment after the buyer picked up the item in the seller's state.

The Court of Appeals looked to similar cases involving buyers filing suits in U.S. District Courts in Michigan, California, and New Jersey, and a case out of New York state courts to rule the Attaways' actions surrounding the purchase tip the scale in favor of personal jurisdiction.

The Indiana sellers filed suit against the Attaways after they took delivery of the car and rescinded payment. The Attaways were able to see the car was in Indiana before buying it and agreed to pick up the vehicle. During the course of the transaction, there was more than just a single online purchase to satisfy the personal jurisdiction requirements of the federal due process clause, wrote Judge Terry Crone. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the Attaways' motion to dismiss.

"In weighing the interests of the states, it is certainly within the bounds of fair play and substantial justice to allow Indiana to exercise personal jurisdiction over individuals who have entered into a contract with an Indiana resident for the purchase of property located in Indiana, have removed that property from the state of Indiana, and then rescinded payment," he wrote.

The Court of Appeals also affirmed Clay County was a proper venue and that there was no language in the PayPal user agreement and eBay dispute resolution procedures posted online to suggest the online dispute resolution process is a buyer or seller's sole recourse in the event of a dispute.

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  • follow up to Attaway vs Omega article
    Just a quick follow up to this article which I just recently stumbled upon. I reside in Idaho, not Iowa (which may or may not make any difference as to access to visibility to car prior to purchase, apparently did not).My husband Richard was not part of the lawsuit. It was all on me so his name should be taken off of all documentation entirely. Also, whereabouts of the vehicle after returning to Indiana is undetermined as well as my attorney did a "no show" at a final hearing leaving me with a FTA warrant against me. A Complaint is to be filed with the Indiana State Bar and possibly legal recourse for malpractice. The last time we spoke, his license was suspended and I've not been able to make further contact with him.

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  1. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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