Accessing out-of-state server provides basis for personal jurisdiction

Case presents atypical internet jurisdiction fact pattern.

Fact patterns dealing with personal jurisdiction arising from conduct on the Internet typically have the information service provider as the defendant, with the plaintiff as one who accessed that information. In a recent case from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, however, that typical fact pattern is reversed.

Plaintiff Flowserve filed a lawsuit in a federal court against defendant Drago, a Missouri resident with no physical presence in Texas. Drago was accused of unlawfully accessing data and email servers located in Texas. Through this access, Flowserve alleged, Draco misappropriated confidential information with which he set up a competing enterprise.

In denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the court held that despite the lack of physical presence in Texas, Draco’s activities in accessing the server located in Texas contributed to the sufficient minimum contacts with the state to satisfy the International Shoe requirements. The court further determined that the exercise of personal jurisdiction comported with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

Flowserve Corp. v. Midwest Pipe Repair, LLC, (Slip Op.) 2006 WL 265521 (N.D. Tex., February 3, 2006).