482 F.2d 297 (4th Cir. 1973), 72-2360, Lee v. Walworth Valve Co.

Docket Nº:72-2360.
Citation:482 F.2d 297
Party Name:Janie R. LEE, Executrix of the Estate of Stanley Lee, Deceased, et al., Appellees, v. WALWORTH VALVE COMPANY, Appellant.
Case Date:August 02, 1973
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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Page 297

482 F.2d 297 (4th Cir. 1973)

Janie R. LEE, Executrix of the Estate of Stanley Lee, Deceased, et al., Appellees,

v.

WALWORTH VALVE COMPANY, Appellant.

No. 72-2360.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

Aug. 2, 1973

Argued March 7, 1973.

Page 298

Thomas E. Byrne, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa. (William H. Grimball, Grimball & Cabaniss, Charleston, S. C., John C. Detweiler and Krusen, Evans & Byrne, Philadelphia, Pa., on brief), for appellant.

B. Allston Moore, Jr., Charleston, S. C. (Buist, Moore, Smythe & McGee, Charleston, S. C., William G. Symmers and Symmers, Fish & Warner, New York City, on brief), for appellee, Lockheed Shipbuilding and Const. Co.

Arnold S. Goodstein, Charleston, S. C. (David G. Jennings, Charleston, S. C., on brief), for appellee, Janie R. Lee.

Before HAYNSWORTH, Chief Judge, and BOREMAN and BRYAN, Senior Circuit Judges.

HAYNSWORTH, Chief Judge:

There was a rupture of a steam valve in the engine room of the USS Trenton, while she was cruising on the high seas off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A chief petty officer, on watch at the time in the engine room, was killed by escaping steam. He was a citizen of South Carolina, and he left his widow and executrix, who is a citizen and resident of that State. As executrix, she filed this action for wrongful death in the District Court for the District of South Carolina against Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Co., the builder of the Trenton, and against Walworth Valve Co., the manufacturer of the valve. Walworth filed a motion to quash the service upon it upon the ground that its contacts with South Carolina are insufficient to make it amenable to suit in that State. 1

The District Court denied the motion; we think properly so.

The Trenton was built for the Navy by Lockheed in its yards at Seattle, Washington. The valve involved was manufactured by Walworth at its plant in Pennsylvania and shipped by it from Pennsylvania to Lockheed at Seattle, where Lockheed installed the valve in the Trenton's engine room. The Trenton, upon completion and delivery to the Navy, left Seattle, but until the fatal injury of Stanley Lee it had not touched port in South Carolina and was not based there.

Lockheed is qualified to do business in South Carolina. It makes no objection to the maintenance of the action against it in that State. It has joined plaintiff in her efforts to hold Walworth answerable there, and it has sought affirmative relief in a third party complaint against the United States.

Walworth and its two wholly owned subsidiaries are manufacturers of industrial valves. They maintain no place of business in South Carolina. They own no property in that State and have no bank accounts there. There is no resident salesman or other agent in South Carolina, but, with some degree of regularity, salesmen headquartered elsewhere call upon South Carolina customers. These include a miscellany of industries, utilities, mill supply houses, and the Charleston Navy Yard. Together, several salesmen spent eighty days soliciting

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business in South Carolina in 1969, eighty-seven days in 1970, and seventy-five days in 1971. Additionally, some orders were obtained elsewhere for the shipment of pumps to consignees in South Carolina. Aggregate sales of Walworth and its two wholly owned subsidiaries to South Carolina customers in 1969 were $245,713.56; in 1970, they were $399,485.15, and in 1971, they were $179,607.30. During the first five months of 1972, their South Carolina sales aggregated $155,623.59.

In addition to the sales solicitation activity conducted by Walworth and its subsidiaries in South Carolina, it occasionally sent engineers into the state to deal with engineering problems. One of the engineers...

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