Lornamead, Inc. v. Fleemin

Fourth DCA

Lornamead, Inc. v. Fleemin
4th DCA

Topics: Motion to Dismiss; Personal Jurisdiction

Lornamead is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in New York. The Plaintiffs, the Fleemins, filed a products liability action against several defendants alleging that Joanne Fleemin contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos via her use of talcum powder between 1978 and 2015.

The Fleemins argued that based on Mrs. Fleemin’s testimony that she bought Yardley Talcum powder in Florida, Lornamead directly or indirectly allowed its products to be sold by intermediaries in Florida. Because the affidavit admitted to distributing to Walgreens during the operative period, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss.

On appeal, the DCA stated that Lornamead sufficiently rebutted the claim that it conducted business ventures in Florida by submitting an affidavit that only six bottles of Yardley powder were sold to Walgreens stores in the United States, not specifically Florida, and no Yardley powder was sold to the other stores where Joanne shopped. Although the trial court found that Lornamead “conceded” to having sold the product in Florida, the only mention of Florida within the Lornamead V.P.’s affidavit is that Lornamead does not maintain an office in Florida, has no operations in Florida, is not registered to do business in Florida, and does not own or lease any real property in Florida.

Joanne[ Fleemin]’s vague deposition testimony that she might have purchased some of the powder at Walgreens is insufficient to meet her burden to establish personal jurisdiction. Moreover, because of the limited number of sales, if any in Florida, minimum contacts are not established. Evidence that a defendant may have predicted its goods would reach the forum state does not suffice to demonstrate personal jurisdiction, nor is the fact that a defendant merely sold products that ended up in a state sufficient.

There was no evidence Lornamead targeted Florida for sales or purposefully directed any commerce toward the state. Placing a product into the stream of commerce, without more, is insufficient. Reversed with directions to dismiss Lornamead from the case.

https://supremecourt.flcourts.gov/content/download/869443/opinion/223385_DC13_05242023_ 101841_i.pdf

Terry P. Roberts
Director of Appellate Practice Fischer Redavid PLLC
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