Via my friend Ken Trombly, this 2016 case in the civil procedure area, involving dueling magicians:
Calvert v. Wolf, 2016 WL 396520 (not officially published), Court of Appeal, First District, Division 3, California, filed Jan. 29, 2016. In this case, professional magicians John and Tammy Calvert entered into an agreement with Randall Wolf, an Ohio surgeon, to sell Dr. Wolf the Calverts' show, "Magicarama." As part of the agreement, the Calverts also agreed to teach Dr. Wolf the illusions associated with the show, and contemplated that California might be where the training might take place.
In May, 2013, the Calverts filed a complaint against Wolf, alleging breach of contract among other things. They said they had not only delivered the show (in 2008), but had taught him (and his family) the tricks necessary at the Magic Castle on three separate occasions. Wolf "quash the service of summons on the grounds the court lacks personal jurisdiction over Wolf and, alternatively, California is an inconvenient forum. In a supporting declaration, Wolf stated he has never done business in California and he owns no real or personal property in California."
The argument in this case is over whether Randall Wolf has minimum contacts with the state of California sufficient that he should expect that a California court would agree to hear a dispute that involves him, like this breach of contract case. The trial court agreed with him that he should not, ruling that "[The Calverts] . . . only showed a one-time purchase of a magic show and three trips to California for training purposes. This is a one-time transaction, and not on-going business dealings.'"
But the appellate court found differently. "Based on the principles described above, California may exercise jurisdiction over Wolf only if the evidence shows (1) he purposefully availed himself of the benefits of the state, (2) the controversy is related to or arises out of Wolf's contacts with California, and (3) assertion of personal jurisdiction would not offend notions of fair play and substantial justice. (See Pavlovich, supra, 29 Cal.4th at p. 269.) We conclude specific jurisdiction exists in this case."
First, the court found that Wolf had purposefully availed himself of "the privilege of conducting activities within California by voluntarily traveling to the Magic Castle...". Further, the Calvert v. Wolf lawsuit was based "on a contract which had substantial connection with the state...".
Next, the court noted that California has "adopted a 'substantial connection' test" which allows a court to determine that it can find minimum contacts if there is a substantial connection between the defendant's activities in the forum and the plaintiff's claim (Wolf's visits and his training in the illusions necessary to operate the magic show).
Finally, the court examined whether the plaintiffs' request that the court assert jurisdiction was fair to the parties. "The evidence shows Wolf voluntarily came to California on at least three occasions to learn Magicarama. Further, he sought membership with the Magic Castle, which is located in California. These facts do not suggest it would be unfair or unreasonable for a California court to exercise jurisdiction over Wolf in a lawsuit related to the purchase of Magicarama. Therefore, we conclude Wolf is subject to specific jurisdiction in California."
NB: Mr. Calvert passed away in September 2013 at the age of 102.
Interestingly, John Rutherford Browne, III, attorney for the Calverts, is Past International President and present Legal Advisor of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. As "Fumblefingers the Astonishing," he is known (according to his bio) as one of California's least annoying magicians.