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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The Indiana sellers filed suit against the Attaways after they took delivery of the car and rescinded payment.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. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

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  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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