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Pres-Kap, Inc. v. System One Direct Access

636 So.2d 1351 (Fla. App. 1994)

System One Direct Access, Inc. operated a computerized airline reservation system. Its computer data base, as well as its main and billing offices, were located in Florida. System One also maintained a branch office in New York. Pres-Kap operated a travel agency in New York. Representatives of System One's New York branch office solicited Pres-Kap's business in New York, where the parties negotiated and entered into a contract. The contract called for Pres-Kap to lease certain machines from System One, which machines were used to access System One's computerized reservation data base in Florida. The machines were delivered to Pres-Kap in New York. Thereafter, Pres-Kap utilized System One's machines to access the data base located in Florida. Pres-Kap also sent its monthly lease and use payments to System One in Florida. The balance of the parties' relationship occurred in New York. When a dispute arose between the parties, System One sued Pres-Kap in Florida. The Florida District Court of Appeals held that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Pres-Kap notwithstanding the fact that Pres-Kap had accessed the computer data base located in Florida. In so holding, the court stated: [A] contrary decision would, we think, have far-reaching implications for business and professional people who use 'on-line' computer services for which payments are made to out-of-state companies where the database is located. Across the nation, in every state, customers of 'on-line' computer information networks have contractual arrangements with out-of-state supplier companies, putting such customers in a situation similar, if not identical, to the defendant in the instant case. Lawyers, journalists, teachers, physicians, courts, universities, and business people throughout the country daily conduct various types of computer-assisted research over telephone lines linked to supplier databases located in other states. Based on the trial court's decision below, users of such 'on-line' services could be haled into curt in the state in which supplier's billing office and database happen to be located, even if such users, as here, are solicited, engaged, and serviced entirely instate by the supplier's local representatives. Such a result, in our view, is wildly beyond the reasonable expectations of such computer information users and accordingly the result offends traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

The full text of this decision can be found on a website maintained by the David J. Loundy.

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