Posts tagged "1008114"

American International Insurance Company v. Robert Seuffer GmbH & Co. KG (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-081-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030;     SJC‑11418   AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY[1]  vs.  ROBERT SEUFFER GMBH & CO. KG. Middlesex.     January 7, 2014.  ‑  May 14, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Jurisdiction, Personal.  Practice, Civil, Affirmative defense, Waiver, Retroactivity of judicial holding.  Waiver.  Retroactivity of Judicial Holding.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on December 16, 2009.   A motion for summary judgment was heard by Douglas H. Wilkins, J.   A proceeding for interlocutory review was heard in the Appeals Court by Judd J. Carhart, J., and the case was reported by him to the Appeals Court.  The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Patricia E. Antezana, of Pennsylvania (Meghan M. Sullivan with her) for the defendant. John E. O’Brien, Jr., for the plaintiff.       LENK, J.  The question before us is whether a party may be deemed to have forfeited by its conduct the defense of lack of personal jurisdiction despite having timely asserted that defense in a responsive pleading pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 12 (h) (1), as appearing in 450 Mass. 1403 (2008).  American International Insurance Company (AIIC) filed a complaint in the Superior Court against Robert Seuffer GmbH & Co. KG (Seuffer), alleging various theories of products liability.  In its answer, Seuffer raised the defense of a lack of personal jurisdiction, but did not move to dismiss the case on that basis.  See Mass. R. Civ. P. 12 (b) (2), 365 Mass. 754 (1974).  Instead, it pursued litigation on the merits for over eighteen months before filing a motion for summary judgment that was predicated largely on the jurisdictional defense.  A Superior Court judge denied the motion, ruling both that while Seuffer did not have the minimum contacts with Massachusetts necessary for personal jurisdiction, its conduct amounted to a waiver of the defense, and that genuine issues of material fact existed as to the merits which precluded the entry of summary judgment.  Seuffer appeals from that order. We conclude that, where a party raises the defense of lack of personal jurisdiction in a responsive pleading, the party’s subsequent conduct may in some circumstances result in a forfeiture of that defense.  The determination whether a party’s conduct will cause it to forfeit the right to contest the court’s jurisdiction is fact specific and must be made […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 14, 2014 at 11:44 pm

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