Commercial Division Blog

Posted: August 2, 2014 / Categories Commercial, Jurisdiction

No Personal Jurisdiction Based on Solicitation of Business in State Without More

On July 30, 2014, the Second Department issued a decision in Mejia-Haffner v. Killington, Ltd., 2014 NY Slip Op. 05522, affirming a dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction.

In Mejia-Haffner, the plaintiffs sued a Vermont ski resort in Queens County. Even though the resort advertised in New York, the Second Department affirmed the dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction, explaining:

A foreign corporation is amenable to suit in New York courts under CPLR 301 if it has engaged in such a continuous and systematic course of doing business here that a finding of its presence in this jurisdiction is warranted. Mere solicitation of business within New York will not subject a defendant to New York's jurisdiction. Instead, a plaintiff asserting jurisdiction under CPLR 301 must satisfy the standard of solicitation plus, which requires a showing of activities of substance in addition to solicitation.

Even assuming that [the defendant] engaged in substantial advertising in New York, as the plaintiffs claim, the plaintiffs have not demonstrated that [the defendant] also engaged in substantial activity within this State sufficient to satisfy the solicitation-plus standard. Contrary to the plaintiffs' contention, this Court's decision in Grimaldi v Guinn (72 AD3d 37, 49-50) does not stand for the principle that a business's interactive website, accessible in New York, subjects it to suit in this State for all purposes. Instead, the Grimaldi decision stands only for the more limited principle that a website may support specific jurisdiction in New York where the claim asserted has some relationship to the business transacted via the website. Here, even [the defendant's] alleged substantial solicitation in New York constitutes no more than solicitation.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis added). The Second Department also affirmed the ruling that there was no jurisdiction under CPLR 302.

This decision illustrates the limits to asserting jurisdiction based on solicitation of business in New York.