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Willemsen v. Invacare Corporation

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 07-19-2012
Case #: S059201
Kistler, J. for the Court; En Banc.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/S059201.pdf

Civil Procedure: In light of the U.S. Supreme Court Opinion, J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro, personal jurisdiction is established when a company has a "regular course of sales," or a "regular...flow" of sales within the forum state.

CTE Tech Corp. (Defendant) is a Taiwanese manufacturer that made battery chargers built to Invacare's (Defendant) specifications for their wheelchairs. Invacare is an Ohio corporation that sold a wheelchair in Oregon to plaintiff's mother. Plaintiff's mother died when her wheelchair caught fire. Plaintiff brought this action, alleging that CTE's battery charger was the cause of the fire. CTE claimed that Oregon lacked personal jurisdiction over it because it had not purposefully availed itself in Oregon, and subsequently moved to dismiss the case. After the trial court denied CTE's motion to dismiss and the Oregon Supreme Court denied CTE's writ of mandamus petition, CTE petitioned for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro, the court heard CTE's petition, vacated Oregon's decision, and remanded the case for a decision in light of Nicastro. The parties then came before the Oregon Supreme Court to argue as to whether Oregon Courts had personal jurisdiction over CTE. The Court found that while in Nicastro where one sale in the forum state from a nationwide effort did not amount to jurisdiction, in CTE's case, Invacare had sold over 1,100 wheelchairs in Oregon, all with CTE battery chargers. This, they concluded met Justice Breyer's "regular course of sales" or "regular...flow" standard from Nicastro. Consequently, after finding that the "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice" were not offended, the trial court had personal jurisdiction over CTE, and could make CTE appear to respond to plaintiff's claims. Alternative writ of mandamus was dismissed.