Ronald A. Swoboda v.
HERO DECKS, A Division of Parody Productions, LLC.
Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit.
March 31, 2010.
Parody Productions, LLC is a company that sale his playing cards over the internet. The product portrays well-known players from a sports team's history. The plaintiff in this suit, Ronald Swoboda, is included in the New York Mets Hero Deck. Swoboda claims that he has never given Parody permission to use his image. He further contends that through his attorney he sent Parody a cease and desist letter. Parody refused to stop selling cards with Swoboda's name and images. In response, Swoboda filed the instant lawsuit to enjoin Parody from the continued use of his name and likeness and for damages for violating his right to publicity, and, alternatively, damages for unjust enrichment. The trial court sustained the exception of lack of personal jurisdiction and this appeal followed.
2. ISSUE: The issue is “Did Court of Appeal of Louisiana approve lack of personal jurisdiction of an internet merchandiser?”
3. DECISION: Affirmed
Since 1945, technology has advanced to such a degree that it is possible for sellers to reach consumers in their homes worldwide. The onset of the Internet has created a lapse between the method of doing business in 1945 and the legal system's ability to keep up with technology. The "purposeful availment" requirement for the exercise of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant ensures that it will not be haled into a jurisdiction solely as a result of a random, fortuitous, or attenuated contact, or by the unilateral activity of another party or a third person. In Quality Design, the court ruled that Tuff Coat's website was a passive one, whereby information about its product was provided, but actual sales were arranged via telephone or mail. The court found personal jurisdiction was lacking.
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