Cases and Deals

Blank Rome Secures Precedential Opinion on Personal Jurisdiction in Dutch Run-Mays Draft V. Wolf Block

A Blank Rome appellate litigation team successfully represented WolfBlock LLP in securing a precedential opinion on personal jurisdiction in the New Jersey Appellate Division in Dutch Run-Mays Draft V. Wolf Block, in July 2017.

In 2004, Dutch Run retained a partner with the Pennsylvania law firm WolfBlock LLP, in connection with Dutch Run’s acquisition of 5,000 acres of property in West Virginia. In March 2009, WolfBlock’s partners voted to dissolve the partnership, and its activities as a law firm ceased. In 2014, Dutch Run filed suit alleging legal malpractice against WolfBlock in the New Jersey Superior Court, claiming that title defects rendered the West Virginia property unfit for development.

WolfBlock moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of specific jurisdiction, arguing that the alleged malpractice and the resulting harm did not arise out of, and was not connected with, any activities within the State of New Jersey. WolfBlock also argued that the firm did not maintain continuous and systematic contacts sufficient to render it “at home” in New Jersey, the standard for general jurisdiction articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Daimler AG v. Bauman. In its appeal, Dutch Run emphasized that WolfBlock had “consented” to jurisdiction in New Jersey at the time it brought suit because WolfBlock maintained a registered agent for service of process, and was registered to do business in New Jersey.

The NJ Appellate Division rejected Dutch Run’s argument on the basis of the decision in Daimler, making it the first published case in a NJ court to apply the U.S. Supreme Court's latest rulings on personal jurisdiction.

For more information, please read NJ Court Won't Hear Malpractice Suit Against Defunct Wolf Block, published in the New Jersey Law Journal on July 5.

Click here to read more insight from the Blank Rome appellate litigation team, on the Firm's New Jersey Legal Pulse blog.