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How should the court rule on the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction?

Question 1

Qualtee is a high tech company that makes medical imaging machines, like x-ray and MRI machines. It is located in Bangor, Maine, where it has its corporate headquarters and it’s only manufacturing facility. Qualtee mostly sells its machines to health providers throughout the United States. One of the machines that it sold to a hospital in Miami, Florida, had a serious malfunction, causing $100,000s of costs to the hospital. As a result, the hospital sued Qualtee in a Florida court for breach of its contractual warranty. When Qualtee learned of the suit, it asked its Maine lawyers for advice about how to find a lawyer in Miami. Its Maine lawyers recommended Sam Spade, a litigator in Miami that the Maine firm had used in the past. After reading Spade’s webpage, the CEO of Qualtee decided to fly to Miami to interview Spade. The meeting was fruitful, so Qualtee decided to retain Spade to represent it in the litigation. Spade mailed his “engagement” (the contract specifying legal fees and other terms of representation) to Qualtee in Maine, where the CEO signed it and returned it to Spade. Spade did most of his trial preparation in Miami, where staff members from Qualtee visited him. However, as part of his preparation, Spade also traveled to Bangor, Maine, on three occasions to take depositions and to prepare witnesses. Overall, Spade spent about seven days in Maine as part of his trial preparations. Spade also had considerable correspondence, e-mails, and telephone conversations from his office in Miami with Qualtee’s people in Maine. The trial took weeks to litigate. It was a devastating loss for Qualtee, granting the hospital all the damages it requested. The court also required Qualtee to pay the hospital’s court costs and attorneys’ fees. Angry at Spade’s incompetent representation in the lawsuit, Qualtee decided to sue Spade for legal malpractice in Maine state court in Bangor. Service was properly made pursuant to the Maine long-arm statute. Spade appeared specially in court to contest personal jurisdiction. In connection with Spade’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the court held a hearing at which these additional facts were proved: Spade regularly advertised in the Maine Bar Association quarterly magazine trying to reach Maine lawyers who might recommend Spade to Maine residents who retired to the Miami area. Qualtee’s lawyers in Bangor first learned of Spade from an advertisement in the Bar magazine. The Maine firm had used Spade for three business transactions in Florida on three occasions before they recommended him to Qualtee. In addition to his visits to Maine in connection with the Qualtee litigation, Spade had made two recreational trips to Maine in the past five years, once for a week’s hiking in the mountains and the other a long weekend visit to a friend who owned a cottage on an island off the coast of Maine. How should the court rule on the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction?



Question 2

When a flock of geese walked across a two-lane highway in rural Missouri outside the St. Louis region, Able stopped his car to let the geese cross the road. Baker, who was driving a distance behind Able, saw that Able was stopped and so stopped his car. However, Connie was speeding behind Baker and could not stop in time when she saw the stopped cars in front of her. As a result, Connie crashed into the back of Baker’s car, pushing it into Able’s. Able sued Connie in federal court for the Eastern district of Missouri, in St. Louis, for the tort of negligence and sought $250,000 in damages caused by the accident. Connie answered by denying liability and also added a counterclaim against Able for her own injuries sustained in the accident. Connie alleged that Able was negligent by stopping in the middle of the road. Then Connie brought in Baker and asserted a claim for slander seeking damages of $50,000. Connie was a well-known singer in the area where the accident occurred, so the local newspaper covered the accident. A reporter for the paper interviewed Baker a few days after the accident occurred and quoted him saying that Connie had been drinking before the accident because he could smell alcohol on her breath when they were talking immediately after the accident. Then Baker filed a claim against Connie for his injuries sustained in the accident. He sought damages of $100,000. After Baker was made a party, Able added a negligence against him because it was Baker’s car that hit his car. He claimed that Baker and Connie were jointly and severally liable for his $250,000 damages. Then Connie filed the following motions: (1) Connie moved to dismiss the lawsuit for a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (2) If that motion was denied, Connie asked the court to dismiss the claim Baker had asserted against her for lack of proper joinder. A hearing on the motions disclosed the following facts: Able and Baker are both citizens of Missouri. Able claimed that Connie was an Illinois citizen, while Connie claimed that she was a Missouri citizen. Up to the time of the accident, Connie had lived her entire life in St. Louis. She earned a living by singing in clubs in both Missouri and Illinois, primarily in the greater St. Louis metropolitan region. She owns a condo in the Soulard district of St. Louis. The accident caused Connie to reassess what was important in her life. As a result, she moved in with her long-time boyfriend shortly after the accident. He owned a nice house in Belleville, Illinois, across the river from St. Louis, and had been trying to get her to move in for a number of years. Connie moved most of her possessions out of her condo into her boyfriend’s house and put her condo up for sale. She changed her postal mailing address to her boyfriend’s address in Belleville and registered her car in Illinois. Connie had not voted or paid income taxes for a number of years. She was served at her new Illinois address pursuant to the Missouri long-arm statute. However, a few weeks after service she moved out of her boyfriend’s house and back to her condo in St. Louis (which had not sold). She explained that she moved out because she was a free spirit who could not tolerate being with someone 24/7, even someone she loved a much as her boyfriend. However, once she moved out, she missed him and so she had moved back in with her boyfriend a few days before the hearing. She also added that one of the reasons she loved him was his understanding of her difficulties to commit to a long-term relationship. Analyze how the court should rule on the motions.


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