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Legal Communications from Germany to Texas Client Establishes Texas Jurisdiction
Description Federal appeals court held that a German attorney, who visited a Texas client once in Texas, and then did legal work for two years for the client in Texas, corresponding by phone, letters and faxes, was subject to personal jurisdiction in Texas when sued by the client for fraud and other claims arising from the legal work performed.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Personal Jurisdiction; Sufficient Contacts
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Brandt, a German attorney, did legal work for Wien Air, an Alaska corporation based in Texas, when it was bought by Tjontveit. Brandt did the work from 1989 to 1991. Brandt visited Texas in 1989 and then did other work from Germany. Wien Air sued Brandt for fraud and breach of contract and fiduciary duties as a result of some of the work he did for Tjontveit, the sole owner of Wein. The suit was filed in Texas state court but was removed to federal court. Brandt sought dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court dismissed the suit, holding the Brandt did not have sufficient contacts with Texas for the court to have personal jurisdiction. Wein appealed.
Decision Reversed. Brandt provided numerous services for Wien, for its Texas business, and corresponded by fax, phone calls, and letters. Since Brandt was paid for on going work, for a Texas company, he made himself subject to jurisdiction, especially since the claims against him relate to that work. There is "no overwhelming burden to the defendant that outweighs the legitimate interests of the plaintiff and the forum state."
Citation Wien Air Alaska, Inc. v. Brandt, 195 F.3d 208 (5th Cir., 1999)

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