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Indiana has no jurisdiction in case of damaged boat

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found a plaintiff’s claims that personal jurisdiction existed in Indiana over a Michigan company involved in a lawsuit about his damaged boat didn’t hold water.

Hamilton County resident Dr. Dev Brar filed a small claims lawsuit in Hamilton County seeking $6,000 for damages to the bow of his boat. The boat, which docked in Chicago from May to October, was stored at Wolf’s Marine in Michigan for the winter. When Brar’s personal agent, Thomas Leonard – who found the facility to store the boat – retrieved the boat from Wolf’s in May 2012, he said the bow was damaged.

Wolf’s sought to have the case dismissed and filed in Berrien County, Mich. The trial court found it had personal jurisdiction over Wolf’s and denied Wolf’s motion to dismiss.

On interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed, rejecting Brar’s argument that merely entering into a contract with an Indiana resident subjects an out-of-state defendant to suit in Indiana.

The judges found this case to be similar to ones in which a hotel or other attraction advertises its services to residents in other states, a person decides to visit that hotel or attraction, he or she sustains injury at the hotel or attraction, and then attempts to sue the hotel or attraction in his or her home state.

“Additionally, the mere fact that a plaintiff executes a contract in his or her home state and sends the contract back to an out-of-state defendant does not confer personal jurisdiction over the defendant,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote in Wolf's Marine, Inc. v. Dev Brar, 29A02-1303-SC-293.

“Wolf’s deliberate contacts with Indiana were limited to general advertising, emailing a form contract to Leonard at Leonard’s request, and invoicing and receiving payment from Leonard. We hold this was not sufficient ‘purposeful availment’ of the privilege of conducting business in Indiana by Wolf’s so as to permit Indiana to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over it with respect to Dr. Brar’s cause of action.”

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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