Auto Draft

Procedural Posture

Petitioner guarantor moved for a writ of mandate to compel respondent, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), to grant petitioner’s motion to quash a service of summons. Petitioner asserted that respondent lacked personal jurisdiction over petitioner in an action for breach of guaranty.

California Business Lawyer & Corporate Lawyer, Inc. is a Corporate Lawyer

Overview

A California corporation filed a breach of contract suit against petitioner guarantor, a resident of Florida, who executed a guaranty in Florida for a Georgia corporation, which was the general partner of the California corporation’s limited partnership. Petitioner made a special appearance in California requesting respondent trial court quash service, which respondent denied. On appeal, the court held that respondent could not constitutionally assert personal jurisdiction over petitioner because the “minimum contacts” test on which to sustain personal jurisdiction was not satisfied. The court found that although petitioner’s guaranty affected a transaction in California, petitioner did not seek to benefit from the transaction or to avail himself of the benefits and protections of California law. The court also found that it would be unfair to impose personal jurisdiction upon petitioner where he did not own personal or real property in California, traveled to California only on a special appearance to respondent, and had no business interests in California. The court issued a peremptory writ of mandate ordering respondent to vacate its decision and quash service.

Outcome

The order asserting personal jurisdiction over petitioner guarantor was discharged on the grounds that the “minimum contacts” test for personal jurisdiction was not satisfied as petitioner guarantor, a resident of Florida, had no ties to California other than the effects of his guaranty. Notions of fairness precluded the assertion that respondent trial court had jurisdiction over petitioner.