Roy v. Transairco, Inc., 6119

CourtSupreme Court of New Hampshire
Writing for the CourtKENISON
Citation112 N.H. 171,291 A.2d 605
PartiesLena ROY, Administratrix v. TRANSAIRCO, INC., et al.
Docket NumberNo. 6119,6119
Decision Date31 May 1972

Page 605

291 A.2d 605
112 N.H. 171
Lena ROY, Administratrix
No. 6119.
Supreme Court of New Hampshire.
May 31, 1972.

[112 N.H. 172]

Page 606

Craig & Wenners, Manchester, (Vincent A. Wenners, Jr., Manchester, orally), for plaintiff.

Devine, Millimet, McDonough, Stahl & Branch and Robert A. Backus, Manchester, for defendant Transairco, Inc.

McLane, Carleton, Graf, Greene & Brown, Manchester (Arthur G. Greene, Manchester, orally), for defendant New England Telephone and Telegraph Co.

KENISON, Chief Justice.

This is an action for wrongful death brought by Lena Roy, administratrix of the estate of Reginald Y. Roy, against three corporate defendants, Transairco, Inc., New England Telephone, and White Mountain Power Co. The decedent was a resident of New Hampshire and the injury resulting in his death occurred in this State. On March 29, 1969, the Trial Court (Grant, J.) granted the motion of defendant Transairco to dismiss as to it for lack of jurisdiction [112 N.H. 173] and the plaintiff's exceptions thereto were reserved and transferred.

The proceedings against Transairco were instituted by substituted service on the secretary of state pursuant to RSA 300:11, 12. In pertinent part, RSA 300:11(c), enacted by Laws 1949, ch 206, provides that the secretary of state is authorized to accept service of process on any foreign corporation 'transacting business in this state.' It has long been established that this statute has a 'long arm and a long reach,' and that its objective is to provide for the exercise of jurisdiction to the full extent of the constitutional limit. Roy v. North American Newspaper Alliance, Inc., 106 N.H. 92, 95, 205 A.2d 844, 846 (1964); Sanders Associates, Inc. v. Galion Iron Works & Mfg. Co., 304 F.2d 915 (1st Cir. 1962); W. H. Elliott & Sons Co. v. Nuodex Products Co., 243 F.2d 116 (1st Cir. 1957); see Property Owners Ass'n v. Sholley, 111 N.H. --, 284 A.2d 915 (1971). Thus, the principal question for consideration is whether, consistent with the limitations of the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment, defendant Transairco, a Delaware corporation with its manufacturing plant in Ohio, can be put to the defense of this suit for the wrongful death of Reginald Y. Roy based upon its contacts with this State. International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 66 S.Ct. 154, 90 L.Ed. 95 (1945).

Counsel for defendant urges that we reconsider the doctrine of the Roy case, supra, that the objective of RSA 300:11(c) was to exert jurisdiction over foreign corporations to the constitutional limit, in light of the enactment by Laws 1965, ch. 198, of RSA 300:14, the so-called 'single-act' statute. It provided for constructive appointment of the secretary of state as agent for any foreign corporation that either 'makes a contract with a resident of New Hampshire to be performed in whole or in part by either party in New Hampshire,' or 'commits a tort in whole or in part in New Hampshire against a resident.' The 1971 amendments, not applicable here, have deleted the requirement that the contract be made with, or the tort committed against, a resident of New Hampshire. Laws 1971, ch. 13, eff. May 10, 1971; RSA 300:14 (supp.). Defendant's contention is that the statute was intended to expand the power to exercise jurisdiction over foreign corporations beyond that reposed in RSA 300:11, [112 N.H. 174] and that in order to avoid casting upon the legislature the stigma that it has either passed a 'meaningless act' or attempted to expand the power to assert jurisdiction 'beyond constitutional limits,' this court should adopt the 'inescapable conclusion' that it overstated the intended breadth of RSA 300:11(c) in the Roy decision. By these contentions defendant hopes to establish, in accordance with a finding of the trial court that service was had under RSA 300:11(c), 12, that only the 'longer' reach of RSA 300:14 would give the court jurisdiction to adjudicate under the facts of this case.

We view the passage of section 14 as a legislative affirmation of the principles

Page 607

established by Roy, supra. The language of amendments to a statute may be some evidence of legislative intent with respect to the original statute and may serve to make clear the original legislative intent. Collins v. Derry, 109 N.H. 470, 472, 256 A.2d 654, 655 (1969); 1 Sutherland, Statutory Construction s. 1930, at 416; s. 1931, at 418 (1943). That the sections might require different procedural steps be taken prior to resolution of any challenge to jurisdiction to adjudicate in a particular case is of no moment here. See Gill v. Fairchild Hiller Corp., 312 F.Supp. 916 (D.N.H.1970). Neither is the fact that minor technical differences existed in the manner and method of service of process pursuant to the sections at the time suit was instituted. That service under these sections was made uniform by Laws 1971, ch. 216, RSA 300:15 (supp.), suggests that the variations arose more by oversight than by design. N.H.S.Jour. May 18, 1971. And there is no basis here, we should add, to argue that notice to the defendant was inadequate. See Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 70 S.Ct. 652, 94 L.Ed. 865 (1950).

The amendment of RSA 300:15 in accordance with the report of the Senate Judiciary Committee is evidence that the original intention of the legislature was that service of process as provided by RSA 300:12 be...

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13 cases
  • Piper v. Supreme Court of New Hampshire, C82-135-L.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of New Hampshire
    • 17 Mayo 1982
    ...poses a significant 539 F. Supp. 1073 obstacle to disciplining an out-of-state attorney for her in-state actions. See, Roy v. Transairco, 112 N.H. 171, 173, 291 A.2d 605 (1972), (New Hampshire Long Arm Statute extends to limits of Due Process Clause.) In brief, the fact of plaintiff's non-r......
  • Grappone, Inc. v. Subaru of America, Inc., Civ. A. No. 74-119.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of New Hampshire
    • 12 Noviembre 1975
    ...of fair play and substantial justice. Leeper v. Leeper, 114 N.H. 294, 296, 319 A.2d 626, 628 (1974). In Roy v. Transairco, Inc., 112 N.H. 171, 176, 291 A.2d 605, 608 (1972), the Court stated that, in viewing jurisdictional contacts, courts should be "committed to the realistic treatment of ......
  • Forbes v. Boynton, 6521
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • 30 Noviembre 1973
    ...did, business in this State. This is a sufficient basis to justify the exercise Page 133 of jurisdiction over it. Roy v. Transairco Inc., 112 N.H. 171, 291 A.2d 605 Permitting attachment of the defendant's rights in his insurance policy by trustee process on the insurer is not a direct acti......
  • Phelps v. Kingston, 87-036
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • 7 Diciembre 1987
    ...U.S. 770, 774, 104 S.Ct. 1473, 1478, 79 L.Ed.2d 790 (1984); Tavoularis, supra 123 N.H. at 426, 462 A.2d at 112; Roy v. Transairco, Inc., 112 N.H. 171, 176, 291 A.2d 605, 608 (1972); Seymour v. Parke, Davis & Company, 294 F.Supp. 1257, 1259 (D.N.H.1969), aff'd, 423 F.2d 584 (1970); Roy v. No......
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