In Waggaman v. Art Arauzo, 2014 NY Slip Op 03259 (2d Dep’t 5/7/14), the Second Department had the occasion to resurrect that nightmare, discussing the “minimum contacts” analysis (easy there) of International Shoe with regard to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115 (2/25/14). In Walden, Justice Thomas, writing for the entire Court, cautioned that the plaintiff can’t be the only link between the defendant and the forum state; jurisdiction requires that defendant’s own conduct be the basis for the forum state’s jurisdiction. The defendant, not anyone else, must be the basis for the forum state’s hold.
Here, defendant doctor treated a New York plaintiff’s mother in Texas and Florida, allegedly prescribing drugs improperly without ever examining her. Those actions caused dependency and confusion, destroying her social and family life, which ultimately resulted in her death. Plaintiff sued for damages
to himself and in his role as his mother’s sole survivor.
After satisfying CPLR 302(a)(3)(ii), a court must still make an “assessment . . . as to whether a finding of personal jurisdiction satisfies due process.” That’s the rub here, as defendant did not satisfy the “minimum contacts” rule of International Shoe, especially in light of the Court’s limitations in Walden.