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MBM Fisheries Inc. v. Bollinger Machine Shop and Shipyard Inc.

as corrected.: January 28, 1991.

MBM FISHERIES, INC., RESPONDENT,
v.
BOLLINGER MACHINE SHOP AND SHIPYARD, INC., PETITIONER



Winsor, J.*fn* Pekelis, J., and Deierlein, J. Pro Tem., concur.

Author: Winsor

Bollinger Machine Shop and Shipyard, Inc., (Bollinger) seeks review of the denial of its motion for summary judgment of dismissal. Bollinger, a Louisiana corporation, unsuccessfully argued that the trial court lacked both general and personal jurisdiction over contract and tort claims brought against Bollinger by MBM Fisheries, Inc. (MBM). We reverse the trial court and dismiss the action against Bollinger.

I

Background

Bollinger, a shipyard that builds and repairs boats, is incorporated in Louisiana and has its principal place of business in Lockport, Louisiana. MBM is a commercial fishing operation based in Seattle and incorporated in Washington.

The dispute out of which this case arises began when Jaromir Mach, a principal of MBM, took one of MBM's

boats to Bollinger in Lockport, Louisiana, to obtain an estimate of the cost of converting the vessel into a crab boat. Mach and Bollinger negotiated a contract in Louisiana for the repair work. Bollinger later put the agreement in writing and sent it to Mach, who was then in Alaska, via a Seattle Telecopier machine. Mach made some changes to the written agreement and sent it back via Seattle to Bollinger in Louisiana. Mach returned to Louisiana in August 1988 to pick up the boat. At that time, a dispute arose as to the amount owed under the contract. Mach paid the amount Bollinger demanded but reserved MBM's right to sue.

MBM filed suit against Bollinger in King County Superior Court, alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence and conversion. Bollinger moved for a summary judgment of dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied Bollinger's motion. This court granted discretionary review.

The parties do not dispute the extent of Bollinger's other contacts with the State of Washington. Bollinger has no office or employees in Washington, is not listed in any Washington telephone directory, and has no appointed agent for service of process in Washington. Bollinger had run advertisements in four trade publications: one regional publication entitled "Alaska Fishermen's Journal" published in Seattle and three national publications that may or may not have been sold in Washington. None of the advertisements generated any response from Washington residents. Bollinger had also done business with four Washington residents other than MBM. Three of the business transactions involved repair work on vessels in Louisiana. In the fourth transaction, Bollinger used a Washington boat broker to locate a barge for a client of Bollinger's. The Washington broker suggested the name of a Louisiana resident from whom Bollinger's client ultimately purchased a barge, and the broker paid Bollinger a commission. Finally, a vice-president of Bollinger and another Bollinger employee represented the company at a trade show in

Seattle in November 1988, 3 months after MBM picked up its boat in Louisiana. MBM served process on Bollinger at that time.

II

Standard of Review

[1] If the underlying facts are undisputed, the trial court's assertion of personal jurisdiction is a question of law reviewable de novo. Shute v. Carnival Cruise Lines, 897 F.2d 377, 380 (9th Cir. 1988), cert. granted, 111 S. Ct. 39 (1990). MBM, as plaintiff, bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction exists. Shute, 897 F.2d at 379. When, as in this case, the trial court's ruling is based solely on a consideration of affidavits and discovery, only a prima facie showing of jurisdiction is required. Pedersen Fisheries, Inc. v. Patti Indus., Inc., 563 ...


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