Personal jurisdiction is the power of a tribunal to subject and bind a particular entity to its decisions. Before a court can exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant, the court must determine, first, whether the long-arm statute, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-536(Reissue 2008), is satisfied and, if the long-arm statute is satisfied, second, whether minimum contacts exist between the defendant and the forum state for personal jurisdiction over the defendant without offending due process.
Plaintiff's inscribed copy of a book was stolen. The out-of-state defendants bought the stolen copy from a seller in Georgia and sold it to a customer not in Nebraska. Plaintiff alleged defendants had violated her privacy rights by using the inscription in the stolen copy to advertise on defendants' website. The Douglas County District Court, Nebraska, sustained defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff appealed.
Did the trial court err in its decision to grant defendants’ motion to dismiss the suit for lack of personal jurisdiction?
The court concluded that plaintiff's complaint failed to plead facts to demonstrate that defendants had sufficient minimum contacts with Nebraska. Defendants could not have anticipated being haled into a Nebraska court for their online advertisement. Although the website used to post the advertisement was interactive, the contacts created by the website were unrelated to plaintiff's cause of action. Furthermore, the pleadings failed to establish that defendants uniquely or expressly aimed their tortious conduct at Nebraska. Personal jurisdiction over defendants could not be created by a telephone call from plaintiff's representative to the owner. Such contact was insufficient for personal jurisdiction purposes.