Law School Case Brief
Int'l Shoe Co. v. State - 22 Wash. 2d 146, 154 P.2d 801 (1945)
Rem. Supp. 1941, § 9998-114c provides that at any time after the commissioner of the department of unemployment compensation and placement shall find that any contribution or the interest thereon have become delinquent, the commissioner may issue a notice of assessment specifying the amount due, which notice of assessment shall be served upon the delinquent employer in the manner prescribed for the service of summons in a civil action, except that if the employer cannot be found within the state, said notice will be deemed served when mailed to the delinquent employer at his last known address by registered mail.
Appellee, the state's Department of Unemployment Compensation and Placement ("Department") initiated administrative proceedings to recover contributions claimed to be due from appellant International Shoe Company ("International Shoe") for the period of Jan. 1, 1937, through Dec. 31, 1941. Notice of assessment was personally served upon a salesman ("agent") employed by International Shoe. Thereafter, International Shoe appeared specially before the Department and filed a motion to quash the service in the ground, among others, International Shoe was a Delaware corporation and was not engaged in doing business within the state of Washington. After a hearing, the appeal tribunal denied the motion and held that the Department was authorized to recover 3,159.24 from International Shoe. On petition for review, the Commissioner of the Department confirmed the appeal tribunal's decision. International Shoe then appealed the Commissioner's decision to a superior court, which affirmed the Commissioner's decision. International Shoe appealed, challenging the trial court's findings that it was doing business in Washington so as to be subject to process, that its agent had sufficient capacity to represent it so that service of process could be made upon him, and that the commissioner had jurisdiction to levy an assessment for contributions to the unemployment compensation fund.
Did the superior court err when it found International Shoe liable for contributions?
The state supreme court affirmed the trial court's judgment. The court held that the regular and systematic solicitation of orders in Washington by International Shoe's agents, resulting in a continuous flow of International Shoe's product into the state by means of interstate carrier, was sufficient to constitute doing business in the state so as to make International Shoe amenable to process of the courts of the state. The court found that there were additional activities shown which brought the case within the "solicitation plus rule" for personal jurisdiction. The court found that the agent, upon whom service was made, was able to represent International Shoe for service of process purposes. The court found that the Washington unemployment act did not impose a burden upon interstate commerce, in so far as International Shoe's business was concerned.
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