Mello v. K-Mart Corp., Civ. A. No. 83-3434-C.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtCAFFREY
Citation604 F. Supp. 769
PartiesDavid MELLO and Phyllis Mello, Plaintiffs, v. K-MART CORPORATION, Shinn Fu of America, Inc.: and Shinn Fu Auto Supply Co., Ltd., Defendants.
Decision Date18 March 1985
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 83-3434-C.

604 F. Supp. 769

David MELLO and Phyllis Mello, Plaintiffs,
v.
K-MART CORPORATION, Shinn Fu of America, Inc.: and Shinn Fu Auto Supply Co., Ltd., Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 83-3434-C.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts.

March 18, 1985.


604 F. Supp. 770

Roger E. Hughes, Jr., Latti Associates, Boston, Mass., for plaintiffs.

James P. Whitters, III, Esq. Gaston Snow & Ely Bartlett, Boston, Mass., for Shinn Fu of America, Inc., and Shinn Fu Auto Supply Co. & K-Mart.

MEMORANDUM

CAFFREY, Chief Judge.

This is a diversity action brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 by David and Phyllis Mello, residents of Massachusetts, against K-Mart Corporation ("K-Mart"), Shinn Fu Auto Supply Co., Ltd. ("Shinn Fu Auto"), and Shinn Fu of America, Inc. ("Shinn Fu America"). All three defendant corporations are organized under the laws of states other than Massachusetts and have their principal places of business in cities outside of Massachusetts.

Plaintiff David Mello alleges that he sustained severe injuries as a result of using a six ton hydraulic jack designed, manufactured, and marketed by defendants. Plaintiff's wife, Phyllis Mello, claims that her husband's injuries caused her to suffer loss of consortium. According to the complaint, David Mello was hurt on or about November 7, 1982, while plaintiffs were vacationing in Tennessee. At the time of the accident, Mello was using a hydraulic jack to repair an automobile. He had purchased this jack the previous day at a K-Mart store in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

604 F. Supp. 771

The case comes before the Court on three motions filed by the respective defendants. Shinn Fu Auto seeks to have the case against it dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2);1 Shinn Fu of America moves for summary judgment; and K-Mart requests partial summary judgment.

Shinn Fu Auto's Motion to Dismiss

In a diversity action, the jurisdiction of this Court over a foreign corporate defendant is determined by the provisions of the Massachusetts long-arm statute, M.G.L. c. 223A, § 3. E.g., Pulson v. American Rolling Mill Co., 170 F.2d 193, 194 (1st Cir.1948); Marketing & Distribution Resources, Inc. v. Paccar, Inc., 460 F.Supp. 990, 991 (D.Mass.1978). Although the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has construed the state long-arm statute as "an assertion of jurisdiction over the person to the limits allowed by the Constitution of the United States," "Automatic" Sprinkler Corp. of America v. Seneca Foods Corp., 361 Mass. 441, 443, 280 N.E.2d 423 (1972), the court has nevertheless cautioned that "G.L. c. 223A, § 3 asserts jurisdiction over the person to the constitutional limit only when some basis for jurisdiction enumerated in the statute has been established." Good Hope Industries, Inc. v. Ryder Scott Co., 378 Mass. 1, 6, 389 N.E.2d 76 (1979). This Court must therefore engage in a two step analysis: "(1) is the assertion of jurisdiction authorized by statute, and (2) if authorized, is the exercise of jurisdiction under State law consistent with basic due process requirements mandated by the United States Constitution?" Id. at 5-6, 389 N.E.2d 76.

Plaintiffs bear the burden of proving that this Court's exercise of jurisdiction over Shinn Fu Auto is permissible under both Massachusetts law and the federal Constitution, Droukas v. Divers Training Academy, Inc., 375 Mass. 149, 151, 376 N.E.2d 548 (1978); Walsh v. National Seating Co., 411 F.Supp. 564, 568 (D.Mass. 1976). Accordingly, plaintiffs argue that § 3(d) of the long-arm statute provides the requisite state authorization. § 3(d) declares:

A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person, who acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of action in law or equity arising from the person's
...
(d) causing tortious injury in this commonwealth by an act or omission outside this commonwealth if he regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered, in this commonwealth; ...

M.G.L. c. 223A, § 3(d).

Plaintiffs maintain that they have suffered tortious injury in Massachusetts because David Mello has incurred medical expenses and endured pain and suffering in the state, and Phyllis Mello has experienced loss of consortium in the Commonwealth.

These contentions are meritless on the jurisdictional problem. David Mello purchased the hydraulic jack in Tennessee, and he was injured in Tennessee. The fact that he returned to Massachusetts for treatment and recovery cannot alter where the injury occurred. Judge Tauro's insightful analysis in Walsh v. National Seating Co., Inc., 411 F.Supp. 564 (D.Mass.1976) addresses this very issue. Walsh, a resident of Massachusetts, was injured by a defective bus seat while he was operating a motor coach in Maine. He and his wife brought suit in Massachusetts against the seat's manufacturer, an out-of-state corporation. Explaining why § 3(d) of the long-arm statute did not authorize the court to exercise jurisdiction over the corporate defendant, Judge Tauro stated:

Plaintiff asks too much from
...

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17 practice notes
  • Easterling v. American Optical Corp., No. 26566.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • March 24, 2000
    ...F.Supp. 929, 942 n. 18 (D.Conn.1990); Ulman v. Boulevard Enters., Inc., 638 F.Supp. 813, 814 n. 3 (D.Md.1986); Mello v. K-Mart Corp., 604 F.Supp. 769, 771 n. 1 (D.C.Mass.1985). The rationale for not converting a motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds to a motion for summary judgment ha......
  • O'Grady v. Safety-Kleen Sys., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-11814-ADB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • March 30, 2020
    ...Inc. v. Am. Bar Ass'n, 959 F. Supp. 36, 39-40 (D. Mass. 1997), aff'd, 142 F.3d 26 (1st Cir. 1998). See, e.g., Mello v. K-Mart Corp., 604 F. Supp. 769, 771-72 (D. Mass. 1985) (finding that the court lacked jurisdiction where injury occurred in Tennessee, despite the fact that the plaintiff r......
  • Lifchits v. Integon Nat'l Ins. Co., Civil Action No. 18-cv-12637-ADB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • August 17, 2020
    ...v. Korean War Veteran's Ass'n, Inc., No. 01-cv-11005, 2002 WL 745813, at *3 (D. Mass. Feb. 5, 2002) (same); Mello v. K-Mart Corp., 604 F. Supp. 769, 771 (D. Mass. 1985) (same). "Because there is no provision of the long-arm statute on which to predicate jurisdiction, the Court need not reac......
  • Lifchits v. Integon Nat'l Ins. Co., Civil Action No. 18-cv-12637-ADB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • August 17, 2020
    ...v. Korean War Veteran's Ass'n, Inc., No. 01-cv-11005, 2002 WL 745813, at *3 (D. Mass. Feb. 5, 2002) (same); Mello v. K-Mart Corp., 604 F. Supp. 769, 771 (D. Mass. 1985) (same). "Because there is no provision of the long-arm statute on which to predicate jurisdiction, the Court need not reac......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Easterling v. American Optical Corp., No. 26566.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • March 24, 2000
    ...F.Supp. 929, 942 n. 18 (D.Conn.1990); Ulman v. Boulevard Enters., Inc., 638 F.Supp. 813, 814 n. 3 (D.Md.1986); Mello v. K-Mart Corp., 604 F.Supp. 769, 771 n. 1 (D.C.Mass.1985). The rationale for not converting a motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds to a motion for summary judgment ha......
  • O'Grady v. Safety-Kleen Sys., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-11814-ADB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • March 30, 2020
    ...Inc. v. Am. Bar Ass'n, 959 F. Supp. 36, 39-40 (D. Mass. 1997), aff'd, 142 F.3d 26 (1st Cir. 1998). See, e.g., Mello v. K-Mart Corp., 604 F. Supp. 769, 771-72 (D. Mass. 1985) (finding that the court lacked jurisdiction where injury occurred in Tennessee, despite the fact that the plaintiff r......
  • Lifchits v. Integon Nat'l Ins. Co., Civil Action No. 18-cv-12637-ADB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • August 17, 2020
    ...v. Korean War Veteran's Ass'n, Inc., No. 01-cv-11005, 2002 WL 745813, at *3 (D. Mass. Feb. 5, 2002) (same); Mello v. K-Mart Corp., 604 F. Supp. 769, 771 (D. Mass. 1985) (same). "Because there is no provision of the long-arm statute on which to predicate jurisdiction, the Court need not reac......
  • Lifchits v. Integon Nat'l Ins. Co., Civil Action No. 18-cv-12637-ADB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • August 17, 2020
    ...v. Korean War Veteran's Ass'n, Inc., No. 01-cv-11005, 2002 WL 745813, at *3 (D. Mass. Feb. 5, 2002) (same); Mello v. K-Mart Corp., 604 F. Supp. 769, 771 (D. Mass. 1985) (same). "Because there is no provision of the long-arm statute on which to predicate jurisdiction, the Court need not reac......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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