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Marquis Realty Management, L.L.C. v. Stabler Land Co.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 24, 2013

MARQUIS REALTY MANAGEMENT, L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
STABLER LAND COMPANY, Defendant-Respondent.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued Telephonically December 10, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. L-6745-12.

Stuart Gold argued the cause for appellant (Mandelbaum, Salsburg, Lazris, & Discenza, P.C., attorneys; Charles S. Lorber of counsel and on the brief; Mr. Gold, on the brief).

Dean F. Piermattei argued the cause for respondent (Rhoads & Sinon, L.L.P., attorneys; Mr. Piermattei, on the brief).

Before Judges Reisner and Carroll.

PER CURIAM

Plaintiff Marquis Realty Management, LLC (Marquis), appeals from a trial court order dated March 15, 2013, dismissing its complaint against defendant Stabler Land Company (Stabler) for lack of personal jurisdiction. We affirm.

I

Plaintiff is a New Jersey company engaged in the business of developing real estate in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for commercial and residential purposes. Defendant is a Pennsylvania corporation in the business of developing land in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. In 2007 plaintiff, through its New Jersey real estate broker, contacted defendant to inquire about purchasing part of a tract of land that defendant owned in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Defendant had not advertised the property in New Jersey or otherwise marketed the property there. The parties' representatives held a series of meetings in Pennsylvania, to view the property and negotiate the terms of sale.

On June 28, 2007 the parties entered into a contract for the sale of 2.5 acres.[1] Pursuant to the contract, plaintiff paid defendant a $25, 000 deposit. The contract provided that Pennsylvania law would govern any disputes arising under the agreement but did not contain a forum selection clause.

The property was located in an Environmentally Sensitive Zone, and non-residential use required approval from the Upper Saucon Township Board of Supervisors (township). Pursuant to the contract, plaintiff was responsible for obtaining any necessary land use approvals. The original closing date was scheduled for eighteen months after the contract was executed, to allow plaintiff to obtain approval from the township to develop the land as a bank and daycare facility. The closing date was extended ten times through amendments to the agreement; the final extension required plaintiff to close by September 30, 2012. However, plaintiff was unable to obtain the necessary land use approvals by the September 30, 2012 deadline. We briefly review the history of its efforts.

In 2008, plaintiff, through Saucon Creek Road, LP, a Pennsylvania corporation plaintiff created for the purpose of developing the property, filed a land use application with the township. Plaintiff used the services of New Jersey architectural and engineering companies to help in the application and development process. Through e-mails and telephone calls to defendant, these architects and engineers kept defendant apprised of the status of the zoning application. The record also indicates that numerous e-mails were exchanged between defendant's president, Robert Bower, and Brian Trematore, plaintiff's managing member. Through the e-mails, Trematore kept Bower informed of the status of the land use application and proposed several amendments to the contract, and Bower made suggestions to assist plaintiff in dealing with the local Pennsylvania land use officials.

On August 2, 2010, the township denied Saucon Creek Road's variance application. Plaintiff[2] appealed the decision to the Court of Common Pleas, which affirmed the township's decision on May 23, 2011. Plaintiff further appealed to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, which denied the appeal on April 27, 2012. Thereafter, defendant ...


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