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Ketcham v. Charles R. Lister International Inc.

Decided: March 12, 1979.

F. GORDON KETCHAM, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CHARLES R. LISTER INTERNATIONAL, INC., A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT-CROSS-APPELLANT



On appeal from Superior Court, Law Division, Ocean County.

Michels and Larner. The opinion of the court was delivered by Larner, J.A.D.

Larner

This appeal relates to the oft-litigated question of long-arm jurisdiction over a foreign corporation. The trial judge dismissed the complaint on a finding that defendant. Charles R. Lister International, Inc. (Lister) did not have the minimal contacts in New Jersey requisite for the exercise of jurisdiction by the courts of this State.

The resolution of this question harks back to the controlling test established by the United States Supreme Court in International Shoe Co. v. Washington , 326 U.S. 310, 66

S. Ct. 154, 90 L. Ed. 95 (1945), namely, whether the maintenance of the suit in this jurisdiction would offend "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice."

In New Jersey we have adopted a judicial policy which permits service on nonresident defendants to the outer limits of due process requirements. See R. 4:4-4(c)(1); Avdel Corp. v. Mecure , 58 N.J. 264 (1971); Roland v. Modell's Shoppers World of Bergen County , 92 N.J. Super. 1 (App. Div. 1966). And as a consequence, jurisdiction has been exercised wherever possible with a liberal and indulgent view if the facts reasonably support the presence of the flexible concepts of "fair play and substantial justice."

Lister is a Delaware corporation engaged in the conduct of an executive employment agency with its principal office in the City of New York. It has no office, place of business or personnel in the State of New Jersey and is not authorized to do business in this State. It specializes in soliciting and recruiting management-level employees for various national oil companies.

In conducting its business, it seeks to interest employee prospects located in New Jersey by direct solicitation and regular newspaper advertisements in several New Jersey papers, including the Newark Star Ledger and the Bergen Evening Record. These advertisements invite readers to communicate with the Lister New York office by telephone or correspondence, culminating in personal interviews in New York. In addition, the recruiters employed by defendant, of which plaintiff was one, regularly engage in telephone communication and correspondence with New Jersey executives who are looking for a change in employment in an effort to place them with one of the company's employer-clients.

Plaintiff was employed in the New York office as a recruiter and personally engaged in the foregoing activities including telephone calls and correspondence with persons in New Jersey, seeking to interest them in positions with employer-clients. His cause of action arises out of a claim

for commissions allegedly due pursuant to his employment agreement with defendant.

From the foregoing, it is manifest that this is not a case in which the cause of action arises out of the contacts of defendant in this State. As we observed in Corporate Dev. Spec., Inc. v. ...


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