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Pearson Education, Inc., et al. v. Shi, et al., USDC S.D. New York

In an action where plaintiffs were publishers of a variety of works, including education textbooks and instructors’ solutions manuals, the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that the Internet sale of nineteen textbooks to New York residents satisfied New York’s long arm statute.

The court stated that although simply maintaining a web site in a distant state that residents of New York visit would not, by itself, subject a defendant to jurisdiction in New York, here defendants actually sold copyright-infringing merchandise to residents of New York through their web sites.

The court found that plaintiffs’ allegations that defendants consummated multiple sales of their copyrighted books with New York customers through the Internet constituted an adequate showing of defendants’ purposeful contacts with New York. Although the defendants denied that any of the infringing works were sent to New York, the court, citing the 2nd Circuit case A.I. Trade Fin., Inc. v. Petra Bank, 989 F.2d 76 (2nd Cir. 1993), held that “In reviewing a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction all allegations are construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and doubts are resolved in the plaintiff’s favor, notwithstanding a controverting presentation by the moving party.” In addition, the court found that there was a substantial relationship between the transactions occurring within the state and the cause of action sued upon because the alleged copyrighted books were sold over defendants’ web sites to purchasers in New York.

The court was also persuaded that the federal due process standards were met by defendants’ activities because they purposefully availed themselves of the privilege of conducting business in New York through the alleged sale of the nineteen copyrighted books into New York. The court reasoned that due to these activities, defendants should have reasonably anticipated being haled into court in New York.