No. 2019-0012

Sarah E. Lavoie, Partner at Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin Dover, NH

September 9, 2020

Affirmed.

 

  • Whether the trial court erred in granting defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction?

 

The plaintiff filed complaints of breach of expressed and implied warranties and Consumer Protection Act violations against Strategis Floor, a foreign corporation with a principal business address in Quebec, Canada.  Strategis Floor marketed and sold the flooring to another defendant registered to do business in New Hampshire with a registered business address in Maine.  Strategis filed a Motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction alleging that it was not registered to do business in New Hampshire, did not have any employees, officers, directors or shareholders in NH, did not have any offices or places of business in the state, did not own any assets in the state, did not market or advertise its business in the state and did not solicit other business in the state.  The Court granted the motion to dismiss on the basis that Strategis’ flooring and its warranty were not purposefully directed at customers in New Hampshire even though they were placed in the stream of commerce in New Hampshire.  Strategis alleged that it imported flooring into Canada from Asia, which it then sold to distributors that sell the flooring to retailers that then sell it to consumers.  The court focused its analysis on the second prong of the examination for whether specific personal jurisdiction comports with due process, that is “whether the defendant has purposefully availed itself of the protection of New Hampshire’s laws”.  Awareness that a product would reach New Hampshire customers was not enough to find purposeful availment under this prong of the analysis.

 

Bossie, Wilson & Strasburger, of Manchester, (Jon N. Strasburger on the brief and orally), for the plaintiff. Bernstein Shur, Sawyer, & Nelson, of Manchester (Brett W. Allard on the brief and orally and Roy W. Tilsley, Jr. on the brief) for the defendant.