FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
“Boschetto” is a Californian who lives in San Francisco. Defendant-Appellee Jeffrey D. Hansing is a Milton, Wisconsin resident. Defendants-Appellees, Defendants-Appellees, Defendants-Appellees, The Boucher Defendants are private firms with major places of business in Wisconsin: Frank-Boucher Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Gordie Boucher Ford, and Boucher Automotive Group (“Boucher Defendants”). Although it is not alleged that the Boucher Defendants’ website was related in any manner with the transaction at issue in this case, the Boucher Defendants do maintain a website that advertises their auto dealerships. Hansing works at Frank Boucher Chrysler Dodge Jeep, one of the Boucher Defendants.
On August 1, 2005, all Defendants “owned and advertised a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL 427/425 hp R Code in awesome condition, not restored, rust free chrome in excellent condition, recently rebuilt and ready to drive, with clear title, and a vehicle warranty number of 4E68R149127,” according to the complaint. The car was listed for sale on the eBay Internet auction site, and Boschetto’s\ complaint included a copy of a portion of the eBay listing. Id. The item was listed as being located in Janesville, Wisconsin on eBay. On August 8, 2005, Boschetto placed a $34,106 bid for the Galaxie and was notified that he was the winning bidder through eBay the same day. Id. Boschetto and Hansing corresponded through email to coordinate the vehicle’s delivery from Wisconsin to California. On September 15, 2005, Boschetto hired a transport firm to pick up the car in Wisconsin, and it arrived in California. Id.
Boschetto noticed that the automobile was not a “R Code” as claimed upon arrival, and observed a number of additional issues, including a non-starting motor, rust, and major dents on the vehicle’s body. Id. Boschetto attempted to cancel the transaction by contacting eBay and Hansing, but his attempts were unsuccessful. Id. On February 23, 2006, he filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Boschetto asserted four state law claims (violation of the California Consumer Protection Act, breach of contract, misrepresentation, and fraud) and pled federal diverse jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1332. (a).
All of the defendants asked for the case to be dismissed due to a lack of personal jurisdiction. The motion was granted by the district court on July 13, 2006. The district court concluded that the lone jurisdictionally relevant contact with California, an eBay sale completed with a California buyer, was inadequate to establish jurisdiction over any of the Defendants. Despite the fact that Hansing advertised the car on eBay, the district court noted that “eBay acted not as a ‘distribution center,’ but rather as a virtual forum for the exchange of goods,” and that in a standard eBay transaction — such as the one at issue in this appeal — the item goes to the highest bidder, and thus “the eBay seller does not purposefully avail himself of the privilege of doing business in a forum state absent some additional conduct directed at the forum state Id.
Boschetto’s request for additional discovery relevant to jurisdiction was similarly denied by the district court. The court held that Boschetto’s request for extra discovery was based on “speculation] without any support” that the additional discovery would provide jurisdictionally relevant facts, notwithstanding its “wide discretion” to allow or refuse such discovery. Id. On July 17, 2006, a judgment was entered, and this timely appeal was filed.
‘’ Did the sale of an item via eBay provide sufficient minimum contacts to support personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant in the buyer’s forum state? ’’(Boschetto v. Hansing case brief summary, 2021)