By Lewis Tesser, Partner, Janessa Bernstein, Associate, and Timothy Nolen, Associate, of Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
A decision from the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York illustrates a common legal issue which can be a problem for many litigants: jurisdiction. The litigation concerned issues of tort law, civil practice, jurisdiction and constitutional law.
The case, Torres v. Monteli Travel, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75075 (E.D.N.Y. July 7, 2011), involved a plaintiff who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a performer when she went on a cruise off the coast of Florida. The performer and a closely-held corporation he owned, both based in Puerto Rico, moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. In an opinion by Judge Ross, the Court held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. Specifically, the Court noted that the defendants did not have an office in New York and had no property in New York. Although the performer had held concerts in New York and many of his albums were sold in New York, these ties were insufficient to find that the defendant was “doing business” in the state.
At Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, our attorneys have litigated cases against a variety of different types of defendants who have offices in different states and even foreign countries. Our experience allows us to anticipate issues of jurisdiction so that we can advise our clients whether to pursue litigation in New York or another forum.