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How Websites Can Render a Manufacturer Subject to New York Jurisdiction

In the defective products context, many products are manufactured out of state, often overseas. There are cases when you can still get NY jurisdiction over them, however.

A foreign corporation is amenable to suit in New York courts under CPLR 302 (a) (1) if it “transacts any business within the state or contracts anywhere to supply goods or services in the state.” Typical business transactions include sales, soliciting customers,contracting, providing services, and shipping products into the state (see e.g. George Reiner & Co. v. Schwartz, 41 NY2d 648, 653; Symenow v. State St. Bank & Trust Co., 244 AD2d 880, 880-881).

Interestingly - and importantly - this category has been substantially expanded to include web-based activity, as New York's courts have held as follows:

"[T]he assertion of personal jurisdiction may be reasonable where a party maintains a website that “provides information, permits access to [email] communication, describes the goods or services offered, downloads a printed order form, or allows online sales with the use of a credit card, and sales are, in fact, made . . . in this manner in the forum state.” (Grimaldi v. Guinn, 72 AD3d 37, 50).

The takeway from the foregoing should be relatively obvious: if you intend to benefit your business by conducting business in New York - even if it is only web-based without any physical "office presence" in New York - chances are you may be subject to being sued in New York.


Jonathan Cooper
Employment Litigation and School Negligence Lawyer