The opinion of the court was delivered by: Will, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Geneva Industries, Inc. ("Geneva"), brings this suit
to collect for cabinets manufactured by it, sold and delivered in
the State of Pennsylvania to defendant, Copeland Construction
Company ("Copeland"). Geneva is an Illinois corporation and
maintains its principal place of business at Geneva, Illinois. It
is in the business of manufacturing and distributing throughout
the United States for both commercial and residential use,
kitchen cabinets, kitchen case work and related items. Copeland
is a Pennsylvania corporation, having its principal place of
business in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Copeland is a general
contractor operating only in Pennsylvania and builds various
commercial and residential buildings.
Geneva seeks to base jurisdiction on diversity of citizenship,
28 U.S.C. § 1332. Rule 4(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure provides that federal courts follow state rules
regarding the assertion of in personam jurisdiction over
nonresidents to the extent such rules are consistent with due
process. Defendant Copeland has moved to dismiss on the ground
that it has never "transacted business" within the State of
Illinois within the meaning of the Illinois long-arm
statute,*fn1 and that a determination that this Court has
personal jurisdiction over it would offend due process of law in
that the defendant has not had the requisite "minimum contacts"
with this forum.*fn2 The parties to this case have both
submitted affidavits and exhibits which are relevant solely to
the question of the Court's jurisdiction. While the affidavits
are not completely consistent, the following general statement of
the business transaction here involved is established: Copeland
advertised in Pennsylvania for bids and quotations regarding
custom metal casework for use in connection with certain
modifications to be made to a hospital in Lehighton,
Pennsylvania. The low bid for the production and installation of
the cabinets was made to Copeland by Institutional Associates,
Inc., whose place of business is Kreamer, Pennsylvania.
Institutional Associates, Inc. is the Pennsylvania agent of
Geneva, and its bid was based upon manufactured casework to be
purchased by Institutional Associates from Geneva and resold to
Copeland. Copeland was dissatisfied with the quotation, and there
were further communications between Copeland and Institutional
Associates, as well as Geneva, which culminated in the execution
of a contract between Copeland and Geneva on November 6, 1967.
The parties dispute the nature and course of these
communications. Geneva maintains, particularly on the basis of an
affidavit of its Vice-president, that Copeland was informed that
any lower bid would have to be negotiated directly between
Copeland and Geneva, that Copeland thereafter by mail directly
solicited a quotation from Geneva, and that subsequent to the
mailing by Copeland to Geneva of the proposed plans for the
casework on June 29, 1967, Institutional Associates did not in
any way participate in the negotiations resulting in the ultimate
Copeland maintains, on the basis of the affidavit of its
President, that Copeland was never informed that any bid would
have to be negotiated directly with Geneva, and that all of the
negotiations leading up to the execution of the contract on
November 6, 1967, were conducted,
in so far as Copeland was concerned, with Institutional
Associates, Inc. The Copeland affidavit relates that after the
original bid submitted to Copeland by Institutional Associates,
Inc. was rejected, the latter asked Copeland to send the plans
and specifications directly to Geneva so that Geneva could study
them thoroughly and perhaps make it possible for Institutional
Associates to submit a lower bid.
While the exhibits that have been submitted to the Court tend
to confirm Copeland's version of the negotiations prior and
subsequent to the contract with Geneva, the resolution of the
factual questions that have been raised by the conflicting
affidavits is not necessary to a determination of whether this
Court has jurisdiction over the defendant. Even accepting
Geneva's version of the facts, it is clear that the minimum
contacts essential to personal jurisdiction are not present in
this case. Quite simply, Copeland, even under Geneva's version of
the facts, was no more than a customer for a single sale by
Geneva which was negotiated through the mails and by telephone.
There is thus no in personam jurisdiction regardless of the rule
that physical presence may be unnecessary to jurisdiction
pursuant to Section 17 of the Illinois long-arm statute*fn3 or
the rule that physical presence is not an essential condition of
A citizen of a foreign jurisdiction does not submit to in
personam jurisdiction of the forum state when a seller based in
the forum state, through its agent in the foreign jurisdiction,
initiates a contractual relationship between his principal in the
forum state and the customer in the foreign state. The fact that
the seller accepts the contract in the forum state does not alter
this result. Nor is it determinative in the instant case that
communications relating to that contract passed between Illinois
and the foreign jurisdiction.
Plaintiff refers this Court to its opinion in Gordon v.
International Telephone and Telegraph Corp., 273 F. Supp. 164
(N.D.Ill. 1967) and quotes the proposition, stated at page 167,
Since defendants actively sought and obtained
responses from within Illinois which might require
the exercise of the power of the State of Illinois
for their benefit, it is fair that defendants be
subjected to the jurisdiction of Illinois courts.
But the point in Gordon was that "defendants actively sought and
obtained responses from within Illinois." The defendant in Gordon
regularly sent its salesmen into Illinois to solicit orders.
Defendant in Gordon also engaged in a heavy mail order
solicitation in Illinois and entered into numerous contacts and
contracts with Illinois citizens. Especially to be noted is that
in Gordon, the defendant over whom jurisdiction was sought was a
seller who sold regularly in the forum state; whereas in the
instant case, the defendant over whom jurisdiction is sought is a
buyer who made a single isolated purchase from the plaintiff.
For the foregoing reasons, defendant's motion to dismiss is
granted. An ...