810 So.2d 641 (Ala. 2001), 1991706, Sieber v. Campbell

Docket Nº:1991706
Citation:810 So.2d 641
Opinion Judge:BROWN, Justice.
Party Name:Helmut J. Sieber et al. v. Jack L. Campbell
Attorney:Stuart E. Smith of Bell, Richardson, Smith & Callahan, P.A., Huntsville, for appellants. John R. Campbell of Higgs & Emerson, Huntsville, for appellee.
Case Date:July 13, 2001
Court:Supreme Court of Alabama
 
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Page 641

810 So.2d 641 (Ala. 2001)

Helmut J. Sieber et al.

v.

Jack L. Campbell

1991706

Supreme Court of Alabama

July 13, 2001

Page 642

Appeal from Madison Circuit Court (CV-97-1885)

BROWN, Justice.

Helmut J. Sieber, a Canadian resident, and Canadian Agra International Corporation ("Canadian Agra"), a Canadian corporation, appeal from a judgment entered in favor of Jack L. Campbell as to claims arising out of the negotiation and performance of an employment contract. Sieber and Canadian Agra argue on appeal that the Madison Circuit Court erred by holding that they were subject to that court's personal jurisdiction under Rule 4.2, Ala. R. Civ. P., also known as this State's "long-arm statute." We disagree, and we affirm the trial court's judgment.

Facts and Procedural History

Campbell was once employed by a company referred to in the record before us as the "Stressle-Straube Group" (hereinafter referred to as "Stressle-Straube"), a computer-software company principally owned by Christian H.W. Straube and based in Stuttgart, Germany. While at Stressle-Straube, Campbell became familiar with a software package described as a "geographic information system," or "GIS." Although Campbell left Stressle-Straube in 1993 to open a consulting business, his knowledge of Stressle-Straube's GIS package led to a continuing relationship with that company.

Stressle-Straube transferred ownership of its GIS package to Telemap Satellite Communications Corporation ("Telemap"), a company in which Stressle-Straube held an equitable interest as a beneficiary in a trust as to which Sieber served as the trustee. Sieber also served as a corporate officer for Telemap. Telemap was charged with developing a market for the GIS package in North America, but it needed someone to lead the effort. Mr. Stressle decided that Campbell was a good candidate for the job because of his knowledge of the North American GIS market, so in February 1994 he helped to arrange a meeting between Sieber and Campbell in Liechtenstein to discuss the matter. In March 1994, Campbell traveled to Toronto, Canada, to further discuss with Sieber his possible employment with Telemap. Human-resource consultants from a prominent public accounting firm evaluated Campbell's background and capabilities. After the evaluation, Campbell joined Sieber for dinner to discuss terms of employment. The discussions continued the next day, concluding in a meeting at the headquarters of H.J. Sieber Group and Canadian Agra, both of which were entities that Sieber at least partially owned. Campbell and Sieber agreed to a contract providing Campbell with employment for at least one year at a salary of...

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