The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant’s (Sprinkle’s) motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction should have been granted, noting that Sprinkle’s only connection with the corporation alleged to have breached the contract was his salary. The corporation’s contacts with New York could not, therefore, be imputed to Sprinkle:
The complaint fails to state a cause of action as against Sprinkle for tortious interference with contract, because there is no allegation that Sprinkle personally benefitted from the corporations’ alleged breach of contract; the only benefit he is alleged to have received is his salary from the corporations … .
Plaintiff failed to make a sufficient start on a showing of jurisdiction over Sprinkle to entitle it to jurisdictional discovery … . Because the conduct complained of involved the diversion of funds from outside New York to recipients outside New York, the “critical events,” and thus the situs of injury, were not in New York … . Moreover, plaintiff does not allege that Sprinkle received substantial revenue from interstate or international commerce (see CPLR 302[a][ii]). Because Sprinkle did not personally benefit from the breach of contract, the corporations’ contacts with New York cannot be imputed to him … .
Nor can Sprinkle be said to have “reasonably expected” his actions to have consequences in New York … as he neither did anything to avail himself of New York nor took any steps to project himself into New York. Given that Sprinkle had no contact with New York and did not purposefully avail himself of New York, the constitutional guarantee of due process bars New York courts from exercising personal jurisdiction over him. Greenbacker Residential Solar LLC v OneRoof Energy, Inc., 2019 NY Slip Op 05487, First Dept 7-9-19