In New York, Can An Email Confer Jurisdiction Upon An Out-of-State Business?

New York Caselaw: New York courts have discussed whether email can confer jurisdiction upon a business. More specifically, an out-of-state company that merely sends an email to purchase goods may not be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of New York. Nonetheless, New York courts will examine the email’s content to see how far it goes to specifically solicit business from New Yorkers. Courts will also look to the content of an email to find out whether there is a nexus between the email that was sent and the reason that the business is being sued. Further, courts will examine whether the potential subjects of any lawsuit purposely availed themselves of the privilege of transacting business within New York.

Unfortunately, there are no bright-line rules. Since each case is different, prior to soliciting business via the Internet, a business should consult an attorney to be sure that it fully understands the legal implications of such solicitations.

As technology begins to take a more active role in the administration and solicitation of business, it is important to keep in mind that the use of that technology may have unintended legal consequences which could become irreversible if not handled in a timely manner.

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