Sullivan v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp., No. 4892.

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtKONDUROS
Citation723 S.E.2d 835,397 S.C. 143
Docket NumberNo. 4892.
Decision Date29 March 2012
PartiesMatthew C. SULLIVAN, Appellant, v. HAWKER BEECHCRAFT CORP. (fka Raytheon Aircraft Co.), Raytheon Aircraft Co., Teledyne Continental Motors, Inc., J.P. Instruments, Inc., Pacific Scientific Company, Aircraft Belts, Inc., Dukes, Inc., FloScan Instrument Co., Inc., UMA, Inc. dba UMA Instruments, Inc., Orlando Avionics Corp. dba Orlando Aircraft Service, Mena Aircraft Interiors, Inc., Hickok, Inc., The Estate of John William C. Coulman, Deceased, The Estate of Eric Johnson, Deceased, Rodrick K. Reck, Phillip Yoder, and John Does 1–14 (whose true names are unknown), Individuals and/or corporations involved in the design, manufacture, inspection, installation, maintenance, servicing, and/or repair of Beechcraft V35 Bonanza Aircraft Registration No. N9JQ, its engine, fuel system, restraint systems, or component parts, Defendants,of whom, Pacific Scientific Company, Aircraft Belts, Inc., and Mena Aircraft Interiors, Inc. are Respondents.

397 S.C. 143
723 S.E.2d 835

Matthew C. SULLIVAN, Appellant,
v.
HAWKER BEECHCRAFT CORP. (fka Raytheon Aircraft Co.), Raytheon Aircraft Co., Teledyne Continental Motors, Inc., J.P. Instruments, Inc., Pacific Scientific Company, Aircraft Belts, Inc., Dukes, Inc., FloScan Instrument Co., Inc., UMA, Inc. dba UMA Instruments, Inc., Orlando Avionics Corp. dba Orlando Aircraft Service, Mena Aircraft Interiors, Inc., Hickok, Inc., The Estate of John William C. Coulman, Deceased, The Estate of Eric Johnson, Deceased, Rodrick K. Reck, Phillip Yoder, and John Does 1–14 (whose true names are unknown), Individuals and/or corporations involved in the design, manufacture, inspection, installation, maintenance, servicing, and/or repair of Beechcraft V35 Bonanza Aircraft Registration No.
N9JQ, its engine, fuel system, restraint systems, or component parts, Defendants,of whom, Pacific Scientific Company, Aircraft Belts, Inc., and Mena Aircraft Interiors, Inc. are Respondents.

No. 4892.

Court of Appeals of South Carolina.

Submitted May 4, 2011.Decided Sept. 21, 2011.Withdrawn, Substituted, and Refiled Feb. 8, 2012.Rehearing Denied March 29, 2012.


[723 S.E.2d 837]

Blake Alexander Hewitt and John Nichols, both of Columbia; Jamie R. Lebovits, Ellen M. McCarthy, and Brenda M. Johnson, all of Cleveland, Ohio; Robert V. Phillips, of Rock Hill, for Appellant.

Jim Hunt of Los Angeles, California; Michael Wilkes, Melissa Nichols, and Derek M. Newberry, all of Spartanburg; Russell T. Burke, of Columbia; Susan Hofer and Payton Hoover, both of Charlotte, North Carolina, for Respondents.

KONDUROS, J.

[397 S.C. 147] Matthew Sullivan appeals the dismissal of Aircraft Belt, Inc. (ABI), Mena Aircraft Interiors, and Pacific Scientific (collectively Respondents) from his civil case for damages arising from an airplane crash. Sullivan argues the trial court erred in dismissing Respondents for lack of personal jurisdiction. Sullivan also contends the trial court erred in failing to allow him to conduct jurisdictional discovery and amend his complaint for a second time prior to dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice. We affirm.

FACTS

Sullivan, a resident of Ohio, was injured in July 2005, when the airplane he was traveling in crashed in York County, South Carolina. The airplane was in route from the Ohio State University Airport to Rock Hill, South Carolina. An Ohio resident owned the airplane, a Beechcraft V35 Bonanza, and Sullivan alleged in the complaint it was maintained and serviced in Ohio, Florida, and Arkansas. The original purchaser of the airplane was also an Ohio resident.

Sullivan commenced two lawsuits as a result of the crash. Initially, he filed suit in Ohio state court in April 2006. In that litigation, Sullivan named several defendants including “John Doe” defendants, but never named Respondents. Almost three years after the crash, Sullivan inspected the airplane. Ohio's two-year statute of limitations had expired by the time of inspection, which led him to pursue his action in South Carolina.

On July 23, 2008, Sullivan filed his initial complaint in South Carolina against multiple defendants, including ABI and Mena. On August 25, 2009, Sullivan filed an amended complaint[397 S.C. 148] , naming Pacific for the first time. 1

[723 S.E.2d 838]

In regards to personal jurisdiction, Sullivan asserted in the amended complaint the trial court had personal jurisdiction under S.C. Ann. § 36–2–803(A)(4) over all defendants named “because each has caused tortious injury within this State as set forth herein, and each regularly does or solicits business, or engages in a persistent course of conduct or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in this State as contemplated under the statute.”

In response to the amended complaint, Respondents filed motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2), SCRCP. The trial court heard the motions of ABI and Mena on January 5, 2009. The trial court heard Pacific's motion for lack of personal jurisdiction on January 23, 2009. Respondents argued Sullivan's amended complaint was insufficient to meet Sullivan's burden of making a prima facie showing of jurisdiction and the trial court lacked both general and specific personal jurisdiction. ABI, Mena, and Pacific submitted an affidavit in support of their respective motions.

Respondents' affidavits asserted that their principal places of business were outside of South Carolina and at no time had any of Respondents solicited or conducted business in the state. Additionally, they maintained (1) none of them exceeded one percent of their revenue from sales to customers located in South Carolina in the years leading up to the airplane crash, (2) no goods were produced or services rendered by Respondents in this state, and (3) Respondents never obtained a business license in South Carolina.

Sullivan did not conduct jurisdictional discovery on Respondents prior to the trial court hearing the motions to dismiss in January 2009. Additionally, Sullivan did not offer any affidavits or other evidence to the trial court to support his assertion of jurisdiction over Respondents. Sullivan did not allege that any of the products in the airplane were sold to anyone connected with South Carolina or that any services were [397 S.C. 149] performed to or on the airplane in this state. Sullivan relied solely on the long-arm statute for his argument that personal jurisdiction was established.

The trial court entered an order granting Mena's and ABI's motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction on January 30, 2009. Sullivan then filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, in which he sought to add allegations regarding several defendants including Pacific. On April 13, 2009, the trial court entered an order granting Pacific's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.2 This appeal followed.

LAW/ANALYSIS
I. Prima Facie Burden

Sullivan contends the trial court erred in determining his complaint and allegations could not support a finding of personal jurisdiction. Sullivan asserts his amended complaint meets the burden of a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction and his allegation is not a legal conclusion. We disagree.

Rule 8(a), SCRCP, mandates that a complaint “shall contain...

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11 practice notes
  • First Cmty. Bank, N.A. v. First Tenn. Bank, N.A., No. E2012-01422-SC-R11-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • December 14, 2015
    ...plaintiff must reach a certain factual threshold before jurisdictional discovery will be permitted. Sullivan v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp., 397 S.C. 143, 723 S.E.2d 835, 839–40 (S.C.Ct.App.2012) (stating that, in order to justify jurisdictional discovery, a plaintiff's claim must not be “atten......
  • Delta Apparel, Inc. v. Farina, No. 5180.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 30, 2013
    ...exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident involves a two-step analysis.’ ” [750 S.E.2d 622]Sullivan v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp., 397 S.C. 143, 150, 723 S.E.2d 835, 839 (Ct.App.2012) (quoting Aviation Assocs. & Consultants, Inc. v. Jet Time, Inc., 303 S.C. 502, 505, 402 S.E.2d 177, 17......
  • First Cmty. Bank, N.A. v. First Tenn. Bank, N.A., No. E2012-01422-SC-R11-CV
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • December 14, 2015
    ...plaintiff must reach a certain factual threshold before jurisdictional discovery will be permitted. Sullivan v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp., 723 S.E.2d 835, 839-40 (S.C. Ct. App. 2012) (stating that, in order to justify jurisdictional discovery, a plaintiff's claim must not be "attenuated and b......
  • Oulla v. Velazques, Appellate Case No. 2017-000052
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 24, 2019
    ...654, 656 (Ct. App. 2004) (holding a Rule 60(b) motion is subject to abuse of discretion review); Sullivan v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp. , 397 S.C. 143, 153, 723 S.E.2d 835, 840 (Ct. App. 2012) (holding a Rule 15 motion is subject to abuse of discretion review). Because both motions are subject......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • First Cmty. Bank, N.A. v. First Tenn. Bank, N.A., No. E2012-01422-SC-R11-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • December 14, 2015
    ...plaintiff must reach a certain factual threshold before jurisdictional discovery will be permitted. Sullivan v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp., 397 S.C. 143, 723 S.E.2d 835, 839–40 (S.C.Ct.App.2012) (stating that, in order to justify jurisdictional discovery, a plaintiff's claim must not be “atten......
  • Delta Apparel, Inc. v. Farina, No. 5180.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 30, 2013
    ...exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident involves a two-step analysis.’ ” [750 S.E.2d 622]Sullivan v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp., 397 S.C. 143, 150, 723 S.E.2d 835, 839 (Ct.App.2012) (quoting Aviation Assocs. & Consultants, Inc. v. Jet Time, Inc., 303 S.C. 502, 505, 402 S.E.2d 177, 17......
  • First Cmty. Bank, N.A. v. First Tenn. Bank, N.A., No. E2012-01422-SC-R11-CV
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • December 14, 2015
    ...plaintiff must reach a certain factual threshold before jurisdictional discovery will be permitted. Sullivan v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp., 723 S.E.2d 835, 839-40 (S.C. Ct. App. 2012) (stating that, in order to justify jurisdictional discovery, a plaintiff's claim must not be "attenuated and b......
  • Oulla v. Velazques, Appellate Case No. 2017-000052
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • July 24, 2019
    ...654, 656 (Ct. App. 2004) (holding a Rule 60(b) motion is subject to abuse of discretion review); Sullivan v. Hawker Beechcraft Corp. , 397 S.C. 143, 153, 723 S.E.2d 835, 840 (Ct. App. 2012) (holding a Rule 15 motion is subject to abuse of discretion review). Because both motions are subject......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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