SW Legal studies in Business

Partners in Online Venture Subject to Personal Jurisdiction in State of One Partner
Description Federal court in Virginia held that a company that hired a Virginia company to design and run its website, in exchange for a partnership share of the parent company, was subject to personal jurisdiction of the court in the home state of the website company and that the case would not be moved to another state.
Topic Cyberlaw
Key Words Personal Jurisdiction; Long-Arm Statute; Minimum Contacts; Venue
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Design88, a Virginia company, built a website in 1998 called The Underground Trader for a non-Virginia company that sold its services to stock market day traders. For designing and maintaining the website, Design88 was given a 13% interest in the trading operation. Things fell apart by 2000 and Design88 sued the other parties in state court in Virginia for various reasons. The case was moved to federal court in Virginia. Defendants moved to dismiss the suit for lack of personal jurisdiction because they had insufficient contacts with Virginia.
Decision Motion denied. Due process requires sufficient minimum contacts within a forum state such that maintenance of a suit against a nonresident defendant does not offend notions of fair play and substantial justice. The defendants came to Virginia to discuss business with Design88. That was sufficient minimum contact to permit the federal court in Virginia to have jurisdiction. Furthermore, Design88 did work for defendants in Virginia and defendants knew that most of the work was done in Virginia. Transfer of venue to the home state of some of the defendants is not warranted on the grounds of forum non conveniens.
Citation Design88 Ltd. v. Power Uptik Productions, LLC, - F.Supp.2d - (2001 WL 252972, W.D. Va., 2001)

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