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Roche v. Floral Rental Corp.

Decided: June 29, 1967.

RITA ROCHE, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF JOSEPH J. ROCHE, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
FLORAL RENTAL CORP., A CORPORATION, U.S.W. MEAT PACKING CORP., A CORPORATION, VINCENT BURZO, INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER CO., A CORPORATION, AND GARTRELL MOTORS, INC., A CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS AND THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS, V. U.S. REFRIGERATION CORP., A CORPORATION, THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT, AND J.C. TRUCK EQUIPMENT, INC., A CORPORATION, THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



Gaulkin, Lewis and Labrecque. The opinion of the court was delivered by Gaulkin, S.j.a.d.

Gaulkin

[95 NJSuper Page 556] Plaintiff's decedent was killed when his car collided on the New Jersey end of the George Washington Bridge with a truck driven by defendant Burzo. The truck was leased by U.S.W. Meat Packing Corporation, Burzo's employer, from Floral Rental Corporation. Floral had purchased the vehicle, an International Harvester truck

with refrigerated body, from Gartrell Motors, Inc. Gartrell had purchased the truck chassis from International Harvester Co. and had hired J.C. Truck Equipment, Inc. (hereafter J.C.) to install thereon a refrigerator body supplied by defendant U.S. Refrigeration Corp.

By her amended complaint plaintiff sues all of the defendants above named. All of the corporate defendants are foreign corporations. Defendant J.C. was served by plaintiff and the third-party plaintiffs pursuant to R.R. 4:4-4(d). It moved to set aside the service for lack of in personam jurisdiction. The motion was granted, and plaintiff and defendants-third-party plaintiffs appeal.

The seventh count of plaintiff's amended complaint alleges:

"2. Some time prior to May 6, 1963 the defendants U.S. Refrigeration Corp., a corporation, and J.C. Truck Equipment, Inc., a corporation, undertook to and in fact did install a certain refrigerator body, together with a compressor and refrigeration drive shaft, on the said truck chassis, and thereafter and up to May 6, 1963, these defendants maintained and repaired the said refrigeration body compressor unit and the component parts thereof.

3. The defendants U.S. Refrigeration Corp. and J.C. Truck Equipment, Inc., their agents and servants were negligent and careless in the manner in which they installed, maintained and repaired said refrigeration body compressor unit and the component parts thereof, as a result of which the drive shaft of said refrigeration unit became loose and disconnected and one end fell to the pavement and was a proximate cause of the loss of control of the vehicle by the driver thereof, Vincent Burzo, as a result of which the said truck crossed over into the westbound lanes and collided with the motor vehicle being operated in a westerly direction by the said Joseph J. Roche."

The eighth count repeats the allegations of paragraph 2 of the seventh count and then says:

"2. The defendants U.S. Refrigeration Corp. and J.C. Truck Equipment, Inc., in installing, maintaining and repairing the said refrigeration body, compressor unit and the component parts thereof, expressly and impliedly warranted that the work performed by them would be merchantable and fit for the use intended when in fact it was not merchantable and fit for the use intended as a result of

which the drive shaft of the refrigeration unit became loose and disconnected and fell to the roadway, and was a proximate cause of the happening of the said accident."

The defendants-third party-plaintiffs-appellants make the same allegations against J.C.

J.C.'s only place of business is in Garden City, Long Island, New York. The depositions taken in support of the motion show that J.C. is not authorized to do business in New Jersey, has no office, salesmen or other representatives here, and has had no "contacts" with New Jersey other than those hereafter set forth.

J.C. is engaged in the sale and service of truck bodies and equipment, including van, dump and refrigerated bodies. It employs 32 persons and attaches about 1,000 bodies to chassis each year. It has been in business for a number of years.

It has had customers from states other than New York and some may have been from New Jersey, but all J.C.'s work is done in Garden City. The chassis in question was delivered by Gartrell to J.C. at Garden City, and ...


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