World Wide Volkswagen, Burger King, and J. McIntyre Manufacturing hypos

1. 2L Daniel Ristau is looking for a break from the exhausting first two weeks in law school. He Googles "Florida beach waverunner," and gets a link to a website:


"Water Sports, Boat Rentals and Jet Ski Rentals in Destin, Florida
"DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation is the place to go for fun in the sun. We have two convenient locations in Destin, Florida open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset. Explore the beautiful Florida Panhandle waterways. Feel the tarballs from the BP drilling platform disaster.

"Our rental services include parasailing, boat rental, jet ski rental (waverunners), paddleboard rental, canoes and kayak rentals.

"DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation has a large selection of boat rentals ranging from 18' to 32'. Whether you're out to fish, dive, snorkel, or just cruise around, we have the water craft you're looking for.

The website has a clickable link to reserve watercraft. Ristau clicks on it and is presented with a form that allows him to select dates, models, and to pay in advance through a credit card or PayPal.

He reserves a Yamaha Superjet Waverunner and pays for a two week rental. (His classmates from the Civil Procedure class encourage him to extend his vacation, assuring him he would not miss much, and secretly hoping to deprive him of his place at the top of the class.)

He goes to Destin and checks out the Waverunner. The very first afternoon, he takes it out and encounters several twenty-somethings having a beach party. He joins the party, and after a while, decides to show off his Waverunner skills by getting a running start in the water and trying to run the Waverunner up on the beach for a considerable distance. Unfortunately, as soon as the bow of the vessel hits the sand, Ristau is catapulted off the front and involuntarily takes about a dozen summersaults up the beach. Everyone at the party is impressed, but Ristau is considerably skinned up and suffers a broken arm.

He limps back to Chicago, takes to his bed, and hires a lawyer to sue DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINATION for negligence in renting such a high performance watercraft to him, and Yamaha for negligent design. Damages sought include pain and suffering and medical bills.

The lawyer files suit in the Circuit Court for Cook County, IL. Both defendants file a special appearance and challenge the existence of personal jurisdiction.

a. What arguments would you make on behalf of each defendant? On behalf of Ristau?

Be sure to consider both statutory and constitutional issues.

b. What discovery would you take?

c. Would it matter whether he paid by credit card or by PayPal?

2. DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation distributes momentos to all of its customers taking the form of small sand-encrusted tarballs.

Ristau picks one up, puts it in his backpack, and forgets about it after he is hurt.

It's still in his backpack when he gets back to Chicago.

His pet basset hound, "Holmes," rummages around in the backpack looking for food, finds the tarball and eats it.

$2,000 in vet bills result

Ristau wants to add a claim to his lawsuit in IL state court for this outrage. What arguments would you make in favor of personal jurisdiction if you represent Ristau?

What arguments would you make against personal jurisdiction if you represent DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation?

Be sure to consider both statutory and constitutional issues.

Assume that Ristau has plausible claims on the merits for negligent infliction of emotional distress, and that injury to a domestic pet constitute personal injury under IL (but not FL) law.

3. When he initially plans the FL vacation, Ristau wants to take his basset hound with him. He emails DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation and asks if they permit pets. His email gives his cellphone number. Within an hour, he gets a call from the general manager, who tells him it's fine to bring Holmes.

While Ristau is filling out the paperwork for the waverunner, Holmes wanders down to the water. An alligator that DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation keeps as a mascot leaps out of the water and eats Holmes.

a. Same questions as in parts 2 and 3.

b. Does it matter what Ristau's cellphone number is? Why?

4. DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation decides to expand its lines of business into Waverunner rentals. It contracts with an Internet startup named MarthasList, which offers to transport rental vehicles of all kinds to customers and to transport them back to the owner after the rental term ends. The weather has improved in Chicago, so Ristau decides to take a break without leaving town. He searches MarthasList under "marine--Panama City FL," and finds DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation's listing for Waverunner rentals, offering to ship them anywhere in the U.S. He rents one, enters his name, address, and credit card information in a MarthasList form, and receives it two days later. The Chicago weather has turned and now there are eight-foot waves on Lake Michigan and wind gusts to 30 knots. Undeterred, Ristau takes the Waverunner out onto the lake. This particular Waverunner has received lots of rental use and the steering linkage is loose, causing Ristau to hit the dock and break his other arm.

a. He gets a lawyer and sues DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Arguments for both sides on personal jurisdiction?

b. Suppose the listing appeared in "marine--Chicagoland?"

c. Suppose the name, address, and credit card form appeared on a DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation webform rather than a MarthasList form?

5. DESTINED for a DESTIN DESTINation is an LLC (limited liability company), in which the sole member is Jaleesa Reed. Ms Reed is a resident and citizen of IL. Ms Reed has been meticulous in observing the company formalities; keeping separate books of account, carefully documenting transactions between her and the LLC, and the like. The LLC is generously capitalized.

a. Does this change things?

b. Would it make a difference if she has been sloppy about the corporate formalities and if the LLC is undercapitalized?