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Can a California state court exercise personal jurisdiction over the New York defendants in this case? What factors will the court consider in deciding this question?Can a California state court exercise personal jurisdiction over the New York defendants in this case? What factors will the court consider in deciding this question?

by | Jun 19, 2022 | Questions & Answers

BUSINESS LAW
HOMEWORK NUMBER 1

1-1 Personal Jurisdiction

George Rush a New York resident and columnist for the New York Daily News wrote a critical column about Berry Gordy the founder and former president of Motown Records. Gordy a California resident filed suit in a California state court against Rush and the newspaper (the defendants) alleging defamation (a civil wrong or tort that occurs when the publication of false statements harms a persons good reputation). Most of the newspapers subscribers are in the New York area and the paper covers mostly New York events. Thirteen copies of its daily edition are distributed to California subscribers however and the paper does cover events that are of nationwide interest to the entertainment industry. Because of its focus on entertainment the newspaper also routinely sends reporters to California to gather news from California sources.

Can a California state court exercise personal jurisdiction over the New York defendants in this case? What factors will the court consider in deciding this question?

If you were the judge how would you decide the issue and why? Discuss fully.

1-2 Standing to Sue

Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance companies (the Blues) provide 68 million Americans with health-care financing. The Blues have paid billions of dollars for care attributable to illnesses related to tobacco use. In an attempt to recover some of this amount the Blues filed a suit in a federal district court against tobacco companies and others alleging fraud among other things. The Blues claimed that beginning in 1953 the defendants conspired to addict millions of Americans including members of Blue Cross plans to cigarettes and other tobacco products. The conspiracy involved misrepresentation about the safety of nicotine and its addictive properties marketing efforts targeting children and agreements not to produce or market safer cigarettes. The defendants success caused lung throat and other cancers as well as heart disease stroke emphysema and other illnesses. The defendants asked the court to dismiss the case on the ground that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue.

Do the Blues have standing in this case? Why or why not?

1-3 Jury Selection

Ms. Thompson filed a suit in a federal district court against her employer seeking damages for alleged employment discrimination in violation of federal law. During voir dire the judge asked the prospective jurors whether there is something about this kind of lawsuit for monetary damages that would start any of you leaning for or against a particular party? Ms. Leiter one of the prospective jurors raised her hand and explained that she had been an owner of a couple of businesses and am currently an owner of a business and I feel that as an employer and owner of a business that will definitely sway my judgment in this case. She explained I am constantly faced with people that want various benefits or different positions in the company or better contacts or you know a myriad of issues that employers face on a regular basis and I have to decide whether or not that person should get them. Asked by Thompsons lawyer whether you believe that people file lawsuits just because they dont get something they want Leiter answered I believe there are some people that do. In answer to another question she said I think I bring a lot of background to this case and I cant say that its not going to cloud my judgment. I can try to be as fair as I can as I do every day.

Thompson filed a motion to strike Leiter for cause. Should the judge grant the motion?

1-4 Golfer Gets a Heart Attack

Alex a senior professional golfer living in Florida entered into a sponsorship agreement with Golf Pro Associates a Michigan partnership (GPA). The agreement provided that (1) GPA would sponsor Sutton on the PGA Tour (2) GPA would pay all of Alexs expenses (3) GPA and Alex would equally divide his prize money after GPA is reimbursed for expenses and (4) GPA would provide Alex health insurance. Preliminary negotiations were on the telephone. GPA prepared a written agreement at its office in Michigan and sent it to Alex in Florida who signed and returned it to GPA. GPA then signed the agreement and sent a copy to Alex. He participated in several senior PGA events including two in Florida. While playing in Palm Springs Alex suffered a heart attack and incurred medical costs of $100000. GPA had not obtained health insurance coverage as agreed so Alex sued GPA in a Florida state court for breach of contract. GPA moved to dismiss the action for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Can the Florida court under its long arm statute exercise personal jurisdiction over the Michigan defendant in this case? Discuss.

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