SW Legal studies in Business

One Phone Call Not Enough to Establish Minimum Contact Needed for Jurisdiction in State
Description Appeals court affirmed that a Wisconsin company could not sue a New Jersey company in state court in Wisconsin due to non-payment for equipment bought through a New Jersey distributor of the Wisconsin company. The only contact the New Jersey buyer had with the Wisconsin supplier was one phone call. That is not enough to satisfy the minimum contact requirement.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Jurisdiction; Minimum Contacts
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Watertronics is a Wisconsin corporation that makes pumps for irrigation. Flanagan's is a New Jersey corporation that was a contractor on a job involving irrigation. Aquarius is a New Jersey company that distributes pumps made by Watertronics. They sold Flanagan's some pumps needed for the job. Flanagan's made a $3,500 down payment, received and installed the equipment, but was not happy with their performance and did not pay the $34,000 bill owed to Watertronics through the order taken by Aquarius. Watertronics sued Flanagan's in state court in Wisconsin. Flanagan's moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The judge dismissed the suit; Watertronics appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Flanagan's did not establish minimum contacts in Wisconsin and so cannot be "hauled into court here." The only direct contact between Flanagan's and Watertronics, in Wisconsin, was a 4.4 minute phone call inquiring about the possibility of a better price on pumps; otherwise all business was done between Flanagan's and Aquarius, which distributed Watertronics pumps. Wisconsin courts have no jurisdiction over this matter because the minimum contacts requirement was not met.

Citation Watertronics, Inc. v. Flanagan's, Inc., N.W.2d (2001 WL 942639, Ct. App., Wisc., 2001)

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