Perten Succeeds in Challenging Jurisdiction

(December 13 , 2017, Boston, MA) – Sheehan Phinney Shareholder John H. Perten successfully defended the firm’s client in a jurisdiction dispute case.

Our client is a distributor of small power supply units. The units are manufactured abroad and shipped to our client in Massachusetts from where it is distributed. The foreign manufacturer allegedly had a US affiliate headquartered in the Mid-West. Our client sold power supply units to a customer. Due to alleged manufacturing defects, the customer experienced numerous failures.

The customer filed an action against our client and others in the home state of the manufacturer’s alleged affiliate. It claimed several million dollars in damages. After convincing our client’s insurer that this was, in fact, a covered claim, we filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction and other substantive defenses. In allowing the motion to dismiss, the Court ruled that when relying on specific jurisdiction, each party’s conduct must be examined individually. Because there was no allegation that our client conducted any business with that state, the Court noted that each defendant stood on its own for jurisdictional purposes and the conduct of one party could not be imputed to another to create jurisdiction.

This was a significant victory for our client especially given that an adverse decision, without insurance, could very possibly been a death sentence for the company.

Perten has a general business practice and a broad litigation background. He frequently acts as outside general counsel for companies and organizations who seek practical advice on a wide variety of issues experienced during day-to-day business activities. Perten is an adjunct faculty member at Babson College, where he teaches business law to MBA candidates. In 2011 he received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston. Perten is admitted to practice in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He received his J.D. cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School and his B.A. from Cornell University.

About the Firm

Sheehan Phinney is a full service business law firm representing local, national and international clients with innovative approaches and practical solutions. Founded in 1937, Sheehan Phinney has grown to more than 60 attorneys with four offices throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is known for professional excellence, practical counsel and commitment to both its clients and the communities it serves.