583 F.2d 184 (5th Cir. 1978), 76-4199, Charia v. Cigarette Racing Team, Inc.

Docket Nº:76-4199.
Citation:583 F.2d 184
Party Name:Steven J. CHARIA, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CIGARETTE RACING TEAM, INC., Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:November 03, 1978
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 184

583 F.2d 184 (5th Cir. 1978)

Steven J. CHARIA, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

CIGARETTE RACING TEAM, INC., Defendant-Appellee.

No. 76-4199.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

November 3, 1978

Page 185

Santo A. Dileo, New Orleans, La., for plaintiff-appellant.

William E. Wright, Jr., New Orleans, La., for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Before RONEY, TJOFLAT and HILL, Circuit Judges.

RONEY, Circuit Judge:

In this Louisiana diversity case, involving the purchase of a boat by a Louisiana resident from a Florida boatbuilder, the issue on appeal is whether the district court erred in dismissing the complaint on the ground there were insufficient "minimum contacts" to justify personal jurisdiction over the Florida boatbuilder under the Louisiana long-arm statute. The facts and contacts in the present case are almost identical to those in Benjamin v. Western Boat Building Corp., 472 F.2d 723 (5th Cir.), Cert. denied, 414 U.S. 830, 94 S.Ct. 60, 38 L.Ed.2d 64 (1973), where we denied Louisiana jurisdiction over a Washington boatbuilder. In Benjamin the "contacts" with Louisiana were the sale of the boat to a Louisiana resident, telephone and mail negotiations between the defendant in Washington and the plaintiff in Louisiana, national advertising, receipt of plaintiff's checks drawn on a Louisiana bank, and the fact that even though plaintiff received the boat in Washington, defendant knew the ship would be home-ported in Louisiana. In the present case there are three alleged "contacts" in addition to those paralleling Benjamin : defendant arranged to ship the boat to defendant in Louisiana via a common carrier, FOB Florida; defendant sold three other boats to Louisiana residents; and plaintiff alleges a personal injury in addition to his contract claim. Holding these additional contacts insufficient to bring about a result different from Benjamin, we affirm the district court's holding that it lacked In personam jurisdiction over defendant Cigarette Racing Team.

Although jurisdiction is asserted under the state long arm statute, here La.Rev.Stat.Ann. § 13:3201 (West 1968 & Supp.1978), 1 as in Benjamin, we go immediately to a consideration of this case in light of the permissible limits of due process in the exercise of In personam jurisdiction. 2

Page 186

In the constitutional analysis, the Supreme Court in a trilogy of cases, International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 66 S.Ct. 154, 90 L.Ed. 95 (1945), Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 78 S.Ct. 1228, 2 L.Ed.2d 1283 (1958), and McGee v. International Life Insurance Co., 355 U.S. 220, 78 S.Ct. 199, 2 L.Ed.2d 223 (1957), has established that due process requires only that defendant have sufficient "minimum contacts" with the forum state to permit the suit to be maintained without offending traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. While the law has evolved to allow a state to exercise jurisdiction over defendants who have increasingly tenuous contacts with the forum state, in this Circuit Some interconnection between the defendant and the forum state is still required. Since cases of this kind must be judged on their facts, and the court is bound by the precedent of prior opinions, a comparison of the facts of the present case with the facts and holding in Benjamin is appropriate.

Charia Facts

Plaintiff Steven Charia, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, saw advertisements which defendant, Cigarette Racing Team, Inc., a Florida boatbuilding corporation, had placed in several national boating magazines. After speaking to other Louisiana residents who had purchased Cigarette boats, plaintiff wrote from Louisiana to Cigarette in Florida, seeking further information. Cigarette replied that the boat could be delivered six weeks after an order was placed, and that a deposit of $3,000 was required, with "the balance due upon completion of the boat F.O.B. factory here in Miami." Along with the reply, Cigarette sent Charia literature about its boats. Subsequently, several telephone conversations took place, some of which were initiated by Cigarette, others by Charia.

While on a business trip to Miami, Florida, Charia visited the Cigarette plant, discussed the boat further with defendant, and verbally agreed to purchase a 28-foot Cigarette boat. He gave Cigarette a check, drawn on a Louisiana bank, for $3,000, the downpayment. No written contract was ever signed by the parties.

Charia returned to Louisiana and had additional telephone conversations with Cigarette about such details as the options to be placed in the boat. He was informed by telephone that the boat was ready and traveled to Florida to check on the boat, only to find out that they were still having some mechanical problems with it. Charia returned to New Orleans. He was notified by telephone a second time that the boat was ready, but when he again traveled to Florida to inspect it, some additional problems were discovered, and he...

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