Jurisdiction: POWERS V. PARK, M.D. (COA; 4/14/2006)

CIVIL PROCEDURE – Jurisdiction (long arm statute)
DATE 4/14/2006
Powers was hurt at work in Kentucky, and his WC sent him to a doctor in Missouri for evaluation.  Powers was operated on in Kentucky by his treating doctor, and the MO doc eventually saw him again to recommend his recommence work at light duty.  When Powers’ back still hurt, the WC sent the MO doc CT studies for interpretation, and Powers claimed the doc at some point said further surgery was unnecessary.  Powers eventually did undergo another surgery, lost his job, and sued the doctor and his company for malpractice.  The doc moved for SJ claiming personal JD was lacking in KY, and the trial court granted his motion.  This appeal followed.
The KY long arm statute is found at KRS 454.210.  KY has a 3-pronged test to determined whether the exercise of personal JD over a defendant violates due process: (1) whether a defendant purposefully availed himself of the privilege of acting within the forum state or causing a consequence in the forum state; (2) whether the cause of action arises from the alleged in-state activities; and (3) whether connections to the state make JD reasonable.  This is a fact-specific determination, and each case involving the issue of a personal JD over a non-resident defendant must be decided on its own facts.  The CA found the doc did not conduct business in KY; did not advertise in KY; did not solicit business in KY.  "The regular solicitation of business in Kentucky is not exclusively a requirement for the exercise of general JD; it is also necessary when the act that caused the alleged tortious injury did not occur in Kentucky."  CAs pointed out that the doc simply did not act in KY.  He may have committed an act that had a consequence in KY, but he did not commit that act in KY.  Nor were there sufficient minimum contacts as described in KRS 454.210(2)(a)(4) to justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction.

Digested by Cherry Henault

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