The Tennessee Court of Appeals returned a complete victory on January 28 for a Bulso PLC client in Baskin v. Pierce & Allred Construction Inc. Mr. Baskin, represented by Bulso PLC attorneys, had sued the defendant in Davidson County, Tennessee, over claims arising from the construction of a lake house in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The trial court had dismissed the suit on the basis that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant, an Alabama corporation, and that the defendant lacked a local registered agent that would support venue in Davidson County even if jurisdiction were present.
The Court of Appeals disagreed. Adopting the plaintiff’s arguments, the Court of Appeals concluded that Crouch Railway Consulting Inc. v. LS Energy Fabrication Inc., 610 S.W.3d 460 (Tenn. 2020), and Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District, 141 S. Ct. 1017 (2021), (which was published after the trial court dismissed Mr. Baskin’s suit) demonstrated that jurisdiction was permissible in Tennessee: the defendant had actively solicited business in Tennessee and formed contacts with customers and vendors here, and while Mr. Baskin’s claims may not have arisen causally from those contacts, they were “sufficiently related” to support jurisdiction under the reasoning of Ford Motor Co. The court accordingly reversed the dismissal on jurisdictional grounds.
It also reversed the venue dismissal. The trial court had held the defendant’s registered agent—whose location can determines venue in actions against artificial entities—had lost his appointment when the defendant’s authorization do business in Tennessee expired. But the relevant statute says precisely the opposite, as the Court of Appeals held. The court remanded the case for further proceedings.
Mr. Baskin was represented on appeal by Bulso PLC attorneys Paul Krog and Nicholas Bulso.