APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION November 14, 2019
Submitted October 21, 2019
appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division,
Union County, Docket No. L-2341-18.
Mackevich, Burke & Stanicki, attorneys for appellant
(James E. Mackevich, on the brief).
Flaster/Greenberg PC, attorneys for respondent (Jeremy S.
Cole, on the brief).
Judges Sabatino, Sumners and Geiger.
transactions conducted over the Internet are becoming
increasingly prevalent. According to recent statistics from
the United States Department of Commerce, buyers and sellers
transacted approximately $146.2 billion in retail sales
through the Internet during the first quarter of
2019. That represents over eleven percent of all
retail sales in the United States, a percentage share that
has more than doubled since 2012.
present appeal calls for us to revisit the application of
traditional constitutional principles of personal
jurisdiction and due process in the context of a retail sale
contract made over the Internet. The setting involves a
California seller of a vintage car to a New Jersey buyer.
viewing an Internet posting that advertised the car for sale,
the New Jersey customer sent an e-mail to the California
owner offering to buy it. The seller responded with a
counteroffer, and the parties swiftly agreed on a price. The
buyer arranged to have the purchased car shipped from
California to New Jersey. When the vehicle arrived here, the
buyer discovered it was in poor condition. He sued the seller
in the Law Division. The seller moved to dismiss the
complaint for lack of in personam jurisdiction. The court
granted the motion, and the buyer now appeals.
affirm the trial court's dismissal of the complaint for
lack of personal jurisdiction over the California seller. We
agree the seller in this one-time-sale scenario did not
"purposely avail" himself of this State's
retail market to a degree that rises to the level of
"minimum contacts" needed to support personal
jurisdiction under the Due Process Clause.
parties' follow-up communications that occurred after
they agreed on the car's price were insufficient to
create a jurisdictional nexus to New Jersey. In addition,
their simple contractual documents lacked a forum selection
clause, which could have specified New Jersey as an
reaching our conclusion on these facts, we do not foreclose a
finding of specific jurisdiction in future Internet retail
sale contexts in which more extensive transactional
activities connected to this State occur.
events bearing upon the jurisdictional issues are
2, 2018, defendant Michael Edward Overley placed a
"listing" on the website of
Hemmings.com advertising for sale his 1960 Buick
Invicta, a vintage automobile, "to whomever was willing
to purchase it, wherever they may be." Overley is a
lifelong resident of California. Overley did not focus the
on-line listing to target purchasers from any specific
states. The listing disclosed to would-be buyers that Overley
and the Invicta were located in La Quinta, California.
to his motion certification, Overley had not previously sold
a car through the Hemmings website. He asserted he "[is]
not in the business of selling cars or even conducting
business through the Internet."
advertisement for the Invicta, a convertible, sought to
attract car collectors. The seller's description read as
Seller's Description: This is probably the best
example of a 1960 Buick Invicta convertible around. It
features the famous 401 nailhead engine with 325-hp and
Buick's Twin Turbine automatic transmission. The car has
power steering and power brakes. Floor it and you will be
surprised at the torque this motor produces. The exhaust
sound will take you back to your youth. Buick started the
fins at the hood and ran them all the way along the car to
diagonally mounted tailfins over round taillights. The fender
skirts are a beautiful feature as well. The Tampico Red paint
is stunning and new. This car really turns heads as it floats
down the road. New convertible top fits well and new
upholstery has no stains or tears. The white wall tires are
new on original wheels and chrome hub caps. This car has many
unusual features including an electric clock, adjustable tilt
speedometer, speed alarm, and spotlight rear view mirrors.
A collector really can't go wrong with this
advertisement came to the attention of plaintiff Joseph
Jardim. Jardim is in the used car business, with offices in
Roselle, New Jersey. His state of residence is not disclosed
in the record.
e-mail contacts between the parties only spanned two days. On
May 26, 2018, Mark Mannuzza, a business associate of Jardim,
responded to Overley's advertisement. Through the use of
his iPhone, Mannuzza first made an inquiry by e-mail into the
Mannuzza: is the buick still available
initial e-mail disclosed that Mannuzza was from Linden, New
Jersey, and that he had a "908" telephone area
next day, May 27, Overley responded:
thereafter on that same day, Mannuzza replied, and ...