FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2007
Robert A. Santa Lucia, Partner/Tampa
Thomas W. Caufman, Associate/Tampa
QPWB WINS DISMISSAL WITH MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF PROCESS
IN CASE BROUGHT AGAINST HARLEY-DAVIDSON DEALERSHIP
CLEARWATER, FL – Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, PA (QPWB) litigators won a victory in a negligence and improper design claim brought by James Aaron Faraone against Harley-Davidson, Inc., Thunder Creek Harley-Davidson, Inc., and BPM Racing Engines, Inc. Led by QPWB Tampa attorneys Robert A. Santa Lucia and Thomas W. Caufman, the trial team secured the Motion to Dismiss and Quash Service of Process, resulting in the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case.
The plaintiff’s claim centered on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a “Screaming Eagle” muffler kit purchased in Tennessee at Thunder Creek Harley-Davidson in Chattanooga. On February 28, 2002, after seeing an ad in a motorcycle magazine and finding the seller’s web site, Faraone drove from Clearwater, Florida to Tennessee, purchased a Harley motorcycle and muffler kit; placed the motorcycle in a van and drove back to Florida. The following day, Faraone had the muffler installed at BPM. On March 31, 2002, Faraone crashed the Harley into a tree, causing him serious bodily injury and a lengthy hospitalization.
Faraone claimed the accident was caused when the muffler dislodged from the motorcycle. He alleged that Thunder Creek negligently assembled the Harley and sold the muffler kit without the proper parts and instructions (and Harley Davidson Inc., negligently designed the muffler and kit and BPM negligently installed it).
The defense asked the Court to quash service of process on the grounds that the Court lacked the power to exercise personal jurisdiction over the Tennessee dealership. Additionally, the defense asked for a dismissal due to plaintiff’s failure to serve Thunder Creek within the required timeframe. Further, the plaintiff continued claims against other defendants without notice to Thunder Creek. The plaintiffs countered that the magazine ads, accessing the website, and phone calls to Thunder Creek established jurisdiction, and argued that the Sheriff mistakenly served Harley-Davidson, Inc. twice with the summons.
Judge Douglas Baird put an end to the case before the hearing began by ruling that there was insufficient contact with Florida for the Court to assert personal jurisdiction over the defendant, and that the plaintiff should have obtained an alias summons sooner or asked for an extension.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is a civil defense firm with a wide variety of litigation services for healthcare companies, healthcare facilities, physicians and other healthcare licensed professionals and their insurers. The firm’s Litigation Department also provides general liability defense for all businesses, insureds and insurance companies. Our practice groups and industry-based teams ensure clients have access to attorneys with the best expertise, regardless of location. QPWB maintains a tightly integrated network of seven fully staffed offices, six in Florida and one in Mississippi with attorneys licensed in several states.