JEFFERSON CITY – The Supreme Court of Missouri has granted a request from PPG Industries to have a negligent representation case against it dismissed.
On Nov. 20, Judge Mary Russell ruled that the Circuit Court of St. Louis County held no jurisdiction in the matter involving PPG Industries Inc. and Hilboldt Curtainwall Inc.
"Because there was no tortious act within the state, the Circuit Court lacks personal jurisdiction over PPG. The Circuit Court should have sustained PPG’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The preliminary writ of prohibition is made permanent, and the Circuit Court is directed to dismiss the underlying claim against PPG," Russell wrote.
Hilboldt, a Missouri-based company, argued that it relied on PPG's website to hire a company to perform aluminum seal coating after it was hired by PPG. However, the company Hilboldt hired based on PPG's website allegedly failed to properly do its job.
PPG hired Hilboldt to "provide building materials for a Missouri-based construction project," according to the ruling. The company was "to supply curtainwalls, which included coated aluminum extrusions," the ruling states.
According to Hilboldt, Finishing Dynamics was an approved contractor on PPG's website. However, Finishing "failed to properly coat the aluminum extrusions, rendering them defective and unusable in the construction project," the ruling states.
Attorneys for PPG, however, argued that since it is a Pennsylvania-based company, Missouri courts have no jurisdiction in the case. PPG filed to dismiss Hilboldt's claim citing a lack of personal jurisdiction.
"PPG asserts that the Circuit Court of St. Louis County cannot exercise personal jurisdiction over it because the underlying claim arises solely out of PPG’s wide-reaching, passive website and does not arise from its contacts with Missouri," the ruling states.
Hilboldt claimed that that the Circuit Court did have personal jurisdiction based on Missouri's long-arm statute, arguing that because "PPG committed a tortious act – negligent misrepresentation – in Missouri," the ruling states. The ruling states PPG contended that the recommended vendors on its website are simple passive and "not aimed specifically at Missouri consumers."
"PPG did not contact any Hilboldt representative through its website, nor did Hilboldt interact with any PPG representative using the website," Russell wrote. "The website was not used to complete any transaction, facilitate any communication, or beget any interaction between Hilboldt and PPG. And although the website was accessible by Missouri residents, it was not targeted at Missouri residents. PPG sent nothing into Missouri, nor did it attempt to solicit web traffic from Missouri specifically."