Problem 1

Mrs. Potter, a wealthy resident of Philadelphia, decides that the time has come to make provisions for her children after her death. She creates a trust, administered by the Delaware Bank & Trust Company (located, naturally enough, in Delaware). Under the terms of the trust, after Mrs. Potter’s death, her daughter Dora will receive whatever money remains in the trust account. She also writes a will, leaving the remainder of her estate to her other daughter, Polly.

A year later, Mrs. Potter decides to move to Cocoanut Manor, a luxurious retirement community in Florida. There she meets Mr. Hammer, the genial grifter who developed Cocoanut Manor in the hopes of attracting a steady supply of wealthy victims for his cons. Mrs. Potter, smitten by Hammer’s charm and believing he is the true love of her life, contacts the Delaware bank and directs them to make Mr. Hammer the trust beneficiary in place of her daughter Dora, who hasn’t even bothered to write or call since Mrs. Potter moved to Florida.

A few months later, Mrs. Potter dies in a tragic shuffleboard accident. Dora Potter is chagrined to discover that the trust funds, now totalling $1.4 million, will go to Mr. Hammer isntead of her. She brings a lawsuit in a Florida court, challenging the validity of the trust. Polly Potter, who despises her sister, also joins the suit as a co-plaintiff, arguing that the money in the trust should also go to her as part of Mrs. Potter’s estate under the will. Because the Bank is in control of the trust account, it is named as a co-defendant in the suit.

Does the Florida court have personal jurisdiction over the Bank?

Problem 2

HCI is a District of Columbia company that conducts training programs around the country to help servers and sellers of alcohol prevent alcohol abuse. Mariner, a Texas company, owns hotels in five states but has none in D.C. Mariner contacted HCI to arrange for training sessions for its employes. A contract between the parties was negotiated by telephone and by mail over a period of eight months. it was signed in Texas. Pursuant to the contract, HCI conducted four two-day workshops for Mariner, none of them in D.C. HCI issued certificates to people successfully completing the workshops, which allowed them to provide similar training for other mariner employees. HCI sent Mariner materials for these additional sessions, graded the participants’ exams, and corresponded with Mariner about the training. When Mariner failed to pay for these services, HCI sued Mariner for breach of contract in a D.C. federal court. Mariner moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. Assume that the applicable long-arm statute authorizes the exercise of personal jurisdiction up to the constitutional limit.

Is Mariner subject to personal jurisdiction in D.C.? See Health Communications, Inc. v. Mariner Corp., 860 F.2d 460 (D.C. Cir. 1988).

Problem 3

Dan & Pat, both residents of Pennsylvania, are partners in a Delaware business. The business fails, and a disagreement arises between Dan & Pat over the division of the partnership’s remaining assets. Deciding to get away from it all, Dan moves to Idaho. Pat now wants to sue Dan over the partnership dispute. Each state’s long-arm statute provides for jurisdiction to the full extent permitted under the U.S. Constitution.

In which state(s) may Pat sue?

Problem 4

Dan operates a gas station near U.S. Interstate 40 in Greensboro, north Carolina. The station is frequented by locals and by interstate travelers using I-40. last summer, Dan changed a tire on an automobile bearing Missitucky license plates. The car belonged to Vivian, who was driving through Greensboro on her way home from vacation in the Outer Banks. A few days later, after Vivian reached Missitucky, her car swerved out of control and his an embankment. Vivian sued Dan in Missitucky state court, alleging that the accident resulted in his negligence in changing the tire.

Assuming the Missitucky long-arm statute allows it, would the exercise of personal jurisdiction over Dan be permissible under the U.S. Constitution?

Model Answer

Question 4.1

If P sues D in a North Dakota court, claiming that D owes P $25,000 arising from their business partnership, may the North Dakota court assert jurisdiction?

a. No, because the case does not arise out of any activity in North Dakota

b. No, because P has no contacts with North Dakota

c. Yes, because D is subject to general jurisdiction in North Dakota

d. Yes, but only if D is personally served while present in North Dakota

Question 4.2

P has a vacation home on the Jersey shore. While P is spending the weekend there, D arranges to serve him with a complaint and summons in a suit D has filed in New Jersey court, claiming that P owes D $25,000 arising from their business partnership. May the New Jersey court assert jurisdiction?

a. Yes, because P owns property in New Jersey

b. Yes, because P is physically present in New Jersey when he is served

c. No, because D’s suit does not arise from, and is unrelated to, P’s contacts with New Jersey

d. No, because New Jersey is not P’s permanent home

Question 4.3

P sues D in a Delaware court, and obtains a judgment against D in the amount of $25,000. Assume that the Delaware court validly asserted personal jurisdiction over D based. P now seeks to collect on the Delaware judgment. He knows that D has a bank account in Florida, so he files an action in the Florida court, asking the court to attach D’s bank account and order payment to P in the amount of the judgment. May the Florida court assert jurisdiction?

a. Yes, but only if P has some additional contacts with Florida apart from the bank account.

b. Yes, because the court may assert quasi in rem jurisdiction in this case

c. No, unless D is personally served while pressent in Florida

d. No, because the underlying judgment has no connection to Florida