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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The Indiana sellers filed suit against the Attaways after they took delivery of the car and rescinded payment.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. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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