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Deangelo v. JLG Industries, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 26, 2018

MATTHEW MICHAEL DEANGELO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JLG INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David M. Porter, Judge.

         A defendant appeals the denial of their motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

          J. Michael Weston and Brenda K. Wallrichs of Lederer Weston Craig, PLC, Cedar Rapids and Kyle M. Rowley and Giorgio Caflisch of Sheehy, Ware & Pappas, PC, Houston, Texas, for appellant.

          Dale A. Knoshaug of Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, PC, Des Moines, for appellee.

          Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         JLG Industries, Inc. (JLG) appeals the district court's denial of a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. On December 12, 2017, the Iowa Supreme Court granted JLG's application for interlocutory appeal on the question of jurisdiction. We reverse the district court's order.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         JLG, a corporation organized and with its principal place of business in Pennsylvania, is a manufacturer of lift equipment.

         Matthew DeAngelo was injured in the course of his employment with Wolin Electric (Wolin), when the JLG lift he was operating allegedly malfunctioned and caused serious injury to DeAngelo. Wolin leases the lift from Duke Aerial Equipment (Duke). The lift in question was not sold in Iowa or to an Iowa company and was not shipped to Iowa when originally purchased.

         DeAngelo filed suit against JLG and Duke on March 24, 2017. The initial pleading alleged a claim against JLG for product liability. JLG was a Pennsylvania corporation doing business in and selling its products in the state of Iowa. JLG filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction on August 1. The court heard arguments on August 29. On October 10, the court ruled DeAngelo made a prima facie showing of general jurisdiction and JLG only submitted evidence to rebut specific jurisdiction. The court denied JLG's motion to dismiss. JLG appeals.

         II. Standard of Review

         We review a ruling on a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction for correction of errors at law. Sioux Pharm, Inc. v. Summit Nutritionals Int'l, Inc., 859 N.W.2d 182, 188 (Iowa 2015). We are not bound by the court's conclusions of law or application of legal principles. Ross v. First Sav. Bank of Arlington, 675 N.W.2d 812, 815 (Iowa 2004).

         "Unlike other grounds for dismissal, however, a court considering a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction must make factual findings to determine whether it has personal jurisdiction over the defendant." Shams v. Hassan, 829 N.W.2d 848, 853 (Iowa 2013). Those factual findings are binding on appeal if supported by substantial ...


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