Purchase of Floats in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction

In Peldman v. Kalahari Resorts, LLC, No. 161385/2019, 2021 WL 3619757 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. August 16, 2021), the court held, inter alia, that the court did not have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state (PA) defendant. Among other things, the plaintiff argued that defendant’s connections to New York – including purchase of a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade – was sufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over defendant.

The court disagreed, holding that the court had neither “general” jurisdiction (under CPLR 301) or “specific” jurisdiction (under CPLR 302).

It explained:

The United States Supreme Court has held that a court may only assert general jurisdiction over foreign corporations when affiliations with the forum state are so continuous and systematic that the foreign corporation is essentially rendered “at home” in the forum state (Daimler AG v Bauman, 571 US 117 [2014]). Here, the Kalahari Defendants are alleged to have advertised in New York, had portions of their website reference New York City specifically, and to have purchased floats in New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (NYSCEF Doc. No. 22).

The Court does not find that these activities are sufficient to render the Kalahari Defendants “at home” comparable to a domestic enterprise in New York state. The Kalahari Defendants’ website references “New York City and Points East” indicating that the website is not only targeting New York City residents and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a nationally televised event, witnessed by the entire nation, not only by residents of New York City (Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, https://www.macys.com/social/parade/only-on-nbc/ [last accessed Jul. 29, 2021]). Therefore, no general jurisdiction exists over the Kalahari Defendants, and consequently, Peldman can only obtain jurisdiction under CPLR § 302(a).

The First Department has held that where a plaintiff’s cause of action for negligence arises out of conditions at a physical location outside of New York, which are alleged to be defective, an interactive website hosted by the out-of-state defendant where business may be contracted and transacted by New York plaintiffs does not support the exercise of long-arm or specific jurisdiction under CPLR § 302(a)(1) (Stern v Four Points by Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel, 133 AD3d [1st Dept 2015]). Stern also held that where the alleged injury occurs outside of New York, long-arm jurisdiction under CPLR § 302(a)(3) (which applies when a tortious act is committed outside New York state but causes injury within New York) cannot be asserted (Id.). Hence, the Court has no specific jurisdiction over the Kalahari Defendants under CPLR § 302.

Based on this, the court held that it did not have jurisdiction over defendants, and granted plaintiff’s motion to dismiss.

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