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Avis Rent A Car System, LLC v. Holly

Court of Common Pleas of Delaware, New Castle

September 27, 2013

AVIS RENT A CAR SYSTEM, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
COLLEEN HOLLY, Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
FRANKLY LEGAL, LLC Third-Party Defendant

Submitted: August 20, 2013

David C. Malatesta, Esq. Sidney S. Liebesman, Esq. Kent McBride, Attorney for Third-Party Plaintiff

Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP, Attorney for Third-Party Defendant

Daniel C. Kerrick, Esq. and Jeffrey P. Wasserman, Esq. Ciconte, Wasserman, Scerba & Kerrick, LLC Attorney for Plaintiff’s

ORDER ON THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION

Alex Smalls, Chief Judge.

This is a consumer debt action arising from a vehicular accident. On June 27, 2013, Third-Party Defendant FranklyLegal, LLC filed the instant Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (the "Motion") pursuant to Court of Common Pleas Civil Rule 12(b)(2).On July 3, 2013, Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff Colleen Holly filed a response in opposition to the Motion.

A hearing on the Motion was held on July 12, 2013, and the Court heard oral argument from all parties. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court reserved decision. For reasons discussed herein, Third-Party Defendant Frankly Legal, LLC's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.

Facts and Procedural History

On April 9, 2013, Plaintiff, AVIS Rent A Car Systems, LLC ("Avis"), brought this action seeking judgment against Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff, Colleen Holly ("Holly"), claiming that Holly was in default for failing to make payments on a consumer account. In the Complaint, Avis includes, inter alia, a letter from Great American Insurance Group, outlining the basic facts of the case. In the letter, Avis seeks $21, 975.06 in damages as a result of an automobile accident involving Holly. Holly, an employee of FranklyLegal, LLC, was operating an Avis rental car during a business trip to Minnesota when she allegedly lost control of the vehicle, drove over a patch of ice, and totaled the rental car.

On May 17, 2013, Holly filed an Answer denying Avis' allegations. On May 30, 2013, Holly filed a Third-Party Complaint against Third-Party Defendant, FranklyLegal, LLC ("FranklyLegal"), alleging that FranklyLegal is liable for any property damage resulting from the accident because, at the time of the accident, Holly was acting within the scope of her employment with FranklyLegal. Holly also avers that the vehicle she operated was rented pursuant to an agreement between FranklyLegal and Avis. In the Third-Party Complaint, Holly identifies FranklyLegal as "a foreign limited liability company."

On June 27, 2013, Frankly Legal filed the instant Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction pursuant to Court of Common Pleas Civil Rule 12(b)(2). On July 3, 2013, Holly filed a response in opposition to the Motion.

On July 12, 2013, a hearing on the Motion was held, and the Court heard oral argument from all parties. At the hearing, FranklyLegal stated that it is a series limited liability company under the master company, Frankly Companies, LLC. Frankly Companies, LLC, and all entities within the series are organized under Delaware law.

Parties' Contentions

It is FranklyLegal's position that this Court does not have personal jurisdiction over it because FranklyLegal does not have any connections with Delaware beyond the fact that Delaware is its state of incorporation. Frankly Legal asserts that, although incorporated in Delaware, it has no other connection with this State: its principal place of business is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; it does not conduct any business in Delaware; the contract between Avis and FranklyLegal was not signed in Delaware, and; the accident did ...


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