Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Case of the Day: Ye Olde Time Keepers, Inc. v. C.R. Martin Auctioneers, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64537 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 17, 2018)

Summary:

Plaintiff, a New York corporation, sued in New York the defendant auctioneers for allegedly selling an antique Chinese clock that was a counterfeit. Defendant, a California corporation, moved to dismiss for lack of personality jurisdiction.

The court denied the motion to dismiss. The court considered a number of theories for long-arm jurisdiction and rejected most of them. The court found there was no transaction conducted in New York, since "the center of gravity of the transaction was clearly California." Importantly, the defendant's website was not sufficiently interactive, especially because the actual auction occurs on a different site. However, the court found that the defendant's tortious act (i.e. the alleged misrepresentation as to the authenticity of the clocks) occurred in New York. The court found the defendant did not regularly solicit business in New York, as it derived less than 5 percent of its revenue from New York. But the court found the defendant regularly engaged in interstate commerce, and should have expected its actions would have consequences in New York because the defendant was aware that the plaintiff was in New York.

Takeaway:

Admittedly the connection to Asia is pretty tenuous in this case, but it is worth going over the New York test for long arm jurisdiction, especially because it is not very often you see a case in which the court grants long arm jurisdiction over a transaction with as thin a connection to New York as this one.

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