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Avdel Corp. v. Mecure

Decided: May 10, 1971.

AVDEL CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ELMER MECURE, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



For reversal and remandment: Chief Justice Weintraub and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall and Schettino. For affirmance: None. The opinion of the Court was delivered by Proctor, J.

Proctor

This case involves the question whether our courts may constitutionally obtain in personam jurisdiction over a New York resident.

Plaintiff, a New Jersey corporation, sued to recover from the defendant Mecure, individually and trading as Mecure Corporation, $1,713.50 allegedly due on a book account for materials sold and delivered. Defendant's residence and his company are both located in the State of New York. Service of process was made by mail and supported by an affidavit of diligent inquiry pursuant to R.R. 4:4-4(j), now R. 4:4-4(e), our long-arm rule. Defendant filed an answer denying the allegations of the complaint and asserting as a separate defense, inter alia, a lack of jurisdiction over his person. The trial court granted defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of in personam jurisdiction,*fn1 and the

Appellate Division, in an unreported opinion, affirmed the dismissal for lack of jurisdiction but modified the order "so as only to strike the service of process." We granted plaintiff's petition for certification. 57 N.J. 127 (1970).

Plaintiff's allegations are set forth in its complaint and affidavits. Plaintiff manufactures and sells rivets from its Teterboro, New Jersey, plant. The defendant, Mecure, whose place of business is in South Hartford, New York, became interested in buying some of plaintiff's rivets for use in construction of lockers. Accordingly, he requested one of the plaintiff's salesmen to come to a job site in New York for a demonstration. On or about August 16, 1966, the defendant ordered a number of rivets from the plaintiff's salesman. Two days later the defendant telephoned plaintiff's New Jersey plant and substantially increased his initial order. The invoices totaled an order of $10,210.84. In either August or September, defendant visited plaintiff's plant to discuss matters relating to the contract, although the precise subject of these discussions is not clear.

Plaintiff manufactured approximately 75% of the rivets ordered in its Teterboro plant. They were made specifically for defendant and took about a week to manufacture. The remaining 25% of the rivets were ordered by plaintiff from England to fit defendant's specifications.

In furtherance of the contract and at defendant's request, plaintiff's representatives made two trips from its plant to defendant's job site in New York to deliver the rivets. The deliveries were necessary to keep defendant's production running. Plaintiff's representatives made at least six more visits to defendant's job site to instruct the defendant in the application of plaintiff's product to the job requirements.

Subsequently, on three occasions in the fall of 1966 and winter of 1967, defendant, his wife, and son, journeyed separately to the plaintiff's Teterboro plant to return some of the rivets which had been purchased.

According to defendant's affidavit, his only contacts with New Jersey were a trip to Teterboro and attendance at a

funeral. He does not deny that the former trip was in connection with his contract with plaintiff.

The question before us is whether under the above facts the defendant is amenable ...


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