We’re pragmatic geeks. That means we love personal-jurisdiction issues. This year alone we’ve reported on personal-jurisdiction cases here, here, and here. And then yesterday we did it again. Although the decision we discussed yesterday, English v. Avon Products, Inc., — N.Y.S.3d —-, 2022 WL 1787160 (N.Y. App. 2022), was unfortunate in its ultimate resolution of the jurisdictional question, we did note one positive aspect of the court’s analysis—its recognition that jurisdiction under New York’s long-arm statute “may not be based upon” a company’s “business dealings to acquire raw [material] from … a New York [supplier].” Id. at *3.
Today’s case, Greenwood v. Arthrex, Inc.., 2022 WL 2117763 (W.D.N.Y. June 13, 2022), which has a happier ending than English, looks at the issue from the other direction. The question in Greenwood was whether the court had personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state component supplier whose product was incorporated in an allegedly defective medical device sold and used in New York.
The court found that there was no jurisdiction over the component supplier.
According to the court, the plaintiff had neither alleged nor “shown” through affidavits or otherwise “that [the component supplier] availed itself of New York law such that it could anticipate being haled before New York courts.” 2022 WL 2117763, at *8. In particular, said the court, the plaintiff did not allege or show that the supplier “knew or should have known that its parts were destined for New York or that [the supplier] attempted to reach the New York market.” Id.
The court placed particular emphasis on the fact that the plaintiff did not allege or show “a working relationship” between the supplier and the device manufacturer.” 2022 WL 2117763, at *8. That, said the court, distinguished the facts in front of it from those in McDonough v. Cycling Sports Grp., Inc., 392 F. Supp. 3d 320, 329 (W.D.N.Y. 2019), where the component supplier was alleged to have “worked closely” with the end-product manufacturer “to design and manufacture” the component. Id.
While the facts alleged and partially shown in McDonough were sufficient to get the plaintiff there limited jurisdictional discovery so that she could try to present evidence in opposition to the component supplier’s motion for summary judgment, the Greenwood court denied the plaintiff jurisdictional discovery, finding that her “barebone allegations are not legally sufficient to allege personal jurisdiction” and that she did supplement her conclusory allegations with “evidence to support” them. 2022 WL 2117763, at *9.
Component suppliers take note.