Nowak v. Tak How Investments, Ltd., 94 F 3d 708 Parties:
Plaintiff: Estate of Sally Ann Nowak Defendant: Tak How Investments
Defendant foreign corporation appealed a judgment from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, which denied corporation’s motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P 12(b)(2), and for forum non-conveniens, contending a Massachusetts court could not exercise personal jurisdiction consistently with due process.
A Massachusetts resident who accompanied her husband on a business trip to Hong Kong drowned in their hotel’s swimming pool. Plaintiffs brought a wrongful death action against the Defendant Corporation, the hotel owner, and a corporation that had no place of business outside of Hong Kong. Corporation moved for dismissal, debating a Massachusetts court could not exercise personal jurisdiction consistently with due process. The district court denied the motion and entered a default judgment against corporation for $ 3,128,168.
The court found that corporation’s solicitation of business set in motion a series of reasonably foreseeable events resulting in the plaintiff’s death. While the connection between the solicitation and the death was not an immediate cause, it demonstrated association.
Did the hotel have personal jurisdiction? Was the hotel guilty of negligence?
The judgment was affirmed. Although the connection between defendant foreign corporation’s contacts with Massachusetts and decedent’s Hong Kong death was not an immediate cause relationship, it seemed relatable. The contacts, which the hotel had with Massachusetts established personal jurisdiction under the long-arm statute and it, was not unreasonable to subject the corporation to Massachusetts’s jurisdiction.
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