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Law School Case Brief

Longines-Wittnauer Watch Co. v. Barnes & Reinecke, Inc. - 15 N.Y.2d 443, 261 N.Y.S.2d 8, 209 N.E.2d 68 (1965)


In enacting N.Y. C.P.L.R. 302, the legislature chose not to fix precise guidelines, as other states have done, so as to draw within the jurisdictional reach of the New York courts only contracts made within New York, or contracts made in New York or to be performed in New York, or contracts to be performed in whole or in part by either party in New York. The advisory committee which drafted the section took cognizance of such statutes in its report and decided, instead, to follow the broad, inclusive language of the Illinois provision, adopting as the criterion the transaction of any business within the state. The design of the legislation, as expressed by the committee, was to take advantage of the new jurisdictional enclave opened up by International Shoe where the nonresident defendant has engaged in some purposeful activity in the state in connection with the matter in suit. Therefore, even though the last act marking the formal execution of the contract may not have occurred within New York, the statutory test may be satisfied by a showing of other purposeful acts performed by a party in New York in relation to the contract, albeit preliminary or subsequent to its execution. 


In three separate actions, one sounding in contract and two in tort, foreign corporations challenged the decision of two lower courts, which determined that personal jurisdiction existed over them under the long arm statute. 


Can state courts acquire personal jurisdiction over foreign corporations not "doing business" in the state under the "long-arm" statute?




The court affirmed the decisions in two of the three actions, holding that personal jurisdiction existed under the long arm statute over appellant foreign corporations transacting business within the state. The court found that in the first action there was jurisdiction under N.Y. C.P.L.R. 302(a)(1) because the foreign corporation had transacted business in the state where there were substantial preliminary negotiations, actual execution of the supplementary contract took place in the state, and services were rendered in the state. The court found that in the second action appellant was not subject to jurisdiction under N.Y. C.P.L.R. 302(a)(2) because appellant did not commit a tortious act within the state. The court found that in the third action that although there was no jurisdiction on the ground that appellant committed a tortious act within the state, but jurisdiction existed on the ground that appellant transacted business within the state. 


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