Salas v. Homestake Enterprises, Inc., 16987

Decision Date16 September 1987
Docket NumberNo. 16987,16987
Citation742 P.2d 1049,1987 NMSC 94,106 N.M. 344
PartiesJimmy SALAS, d/b/a Zuni Woodyard and Landscape Company, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. HOMESTAKE ENTERPRISES, INC., a Colorado corporation, Defendant-Appellee.
CourtNew Mexico Supreme Court
OPINION

SCARBOROUGH, Chief Justice.

Jimmy Salas (plaintiff) filed an action in district court alleging that Homestake Enterprises Inc. (defendant) breached a contract. Defendant moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The district court granted defendant's motion. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

Kevin Moore (an agent of defendant) telephoned plaintiff from Colorado to inform him that defendant had some railroad ties for sale. Moore requested that plaintiff come to Colorado to look at the ties and enter into negotiations. Plaintiff went to Colorado, inspected the ties, and alleges that he entered into a contract with defendant. Plaintiff then went back to New Mexico and started to fulfill what he considered to be his contractual obligations. Defendant soon afterwards sent two documents to plaintiff. Defendant subsequently telephoned plaintiff to inform him that no contract existed, and that no railroad ties were available for sale. This lawsuit ensued.

The only issue before us is whether defendant's acts warrant the assertion of personal jurisdiction over defendant by New Mexico.

To vest New Mexico courts with personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state, non-resident defendant, the act complained of must meet a three-prong test: (1) the act must be enumerated in the long-arm statute, NMSA 1978, Section 38-1-16(A) (Repl.Pamp.1987); (2) plaintiff's cause of action must arise from the act, NMSA 1978, Section 38-1-16(C) (Repl.Pamp.1987); and (3) the act(s) of defendant must establish the minimum contacts necessary to satisfy due process. Visarraga v. Gates Rubber Co., 104 N.M. 143, 717 P.2d 596 (Ct.App.), cert. quashed, 104 N.M. 137, 717 P.2d 590 (1986).

Plaintiff claims that defendant "transacted business" in New Mexico and thus performed an act enumerated in the long-arm statute. See NMSA 1978, Section 38-1-16(A)(1). Defendant's telephone call, however, was merely an invitation to come to Colorado and negotiate, it was not a business transaction. Neither did sending two documents to plaintiff constitute a business transaction. Since defendant did not transact business in New Mexico, the requirement of the long-arm statute is not satisfied. Therefore, New Mexico courts lack personal jurisdiction over defendant.

Plaintiff argues that defendant's acts created sufficient minimum contacts with New Mexico to warrant the assertion of personal jurisdiction over defendant. In making this argument, plaintiff relies on the fact that the "transacted business" requirement of the long-arm statute has been construed to reach as far as due process allows. See Customwood Mfg., Inc., v. Downey Constr. Co., 102 N.M. 56, 691 P.2d 57 (1984). Due process considerations, however, likewise preclude New Mexico from asserting jurisdiction over defendant. The fundamental inquiry in minimum...

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    ...act. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co. v. Conyers, 109 N.M. 243, 244, 784 P.2d 986, 987 (1989) (citing Salas v. Homestake Enterprises, Inc., 106 N.M. 344, 345, 742 P.2d 1049, 1050 (1987)). The first and third step of this test have been "repeatedly equated" with the due process standard of "minimum ......
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    ...must be established by the defendant's act. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co. v. Conyers, 109 N.M. 243, 244 (1989)(citing Salas v. Homestake Enterprises, Inc., 106 N.M. 344, 345 (1987)). The first and third step of this test have been "repeatedly equated" with the due process standard of "minimum co......
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