Jurisdiction – Personal jurisdiction, long arm statute, and eBay contacts: Robey v. Hinners (COA 5/29/2009)

Robey v. Hinners
2009 WL 1491387

Opinion by Senior Judge Buckingham; Judge Acree concurred; Chief Judge Combs dissented by separate opinion.

The Court reversed and remanded an default judgment of the circuit court in favor of a non-resident seller of a vehicle on eBay to a Kentucky resident.

The Court first held that the issue of personal jurisdiction could be raised by appellant even though a default judgment was entered. Although the case involved a default judgment, appellant contested the issue of personal jurisdiction by moving the court to dismiss the complaint on that ground. In a case of first impression, the Court then held that the transaction was a random, fortuitous and attenuated contact with Kentucky and therefore appellant did not have sufficient minimum contacts with Kentucky to allow a Kentucky court to assert personal jurisdiction over him. Merely placing the vehicle for auction on eBay did not alone create personal jurisdiction, the seller accepting the Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title/Registration did not create personal jurisdiction, the buyer taking the vehicle to Kentucky and discovering the defect did not create personal jurisdiction, the language in the eBay listing referring to a 1 month/1,000 mile Service Agreement did not create jurisdiction, and there was no evidence that the seller used eBay on any occasion other than this particular sale.