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Abdouch v. Lopez

Supreme Court of Nebraska
829 N.W.2d 662 (2013)


Facts

Helen Abdouch (plaintiff) was the executive secretary of the Nebraska presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy in 1960. Richard Yates gave Abdouch a copy of his book, Revolutionary Road, in 1963 with the inscription: “For Helen Abdouch–with admiration and best wishes. Dick Yates. 8/19/63.” The book was eventually stolen. Ken Lopez (defendant), through his company, Ken Lopez Bookseller (KLB) (defendant), purchased the book in 2009 from a seller in Georgia. Lopez and KLB then sold the book the same year to a buyer outside Nebraska. KLB buys and sells rare books and manuscripts. KLB sells these items through catalogs and on a website. The website contains advertisements and an inventory. Individuals can browse the inventory and purchase books through the website. KLB advertised the Yates book, designated as “SOLD,” with a photo of the inscription on the website for more than three years after the book was sold. KLB attends various antiquarian book fairs, but KLB has not attended any book fairs in Nebraska. Only two of approximately 1,000 individuals on KLB’s active mailing list lived in Nebraska. KLB was not registered to do business in Nebraska and did not own or lease any real estate in Nebraska. KLB did not advertise in any Nebraska publications and had sold less than $615 in books to Nebraska residents from 2009–2011. During that time, KLB’s total sales were $3.9 million. Abdouch discovered that Lopez and KLB posted the photo of the inscription on the website and sued Lopez and KLB in Nebraska for invasion of privacy. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit based on a lack of personal jurisdiction over Lopez and KLB. Abdouch appealed to the Supreme Court of Nebraska.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McCormack, J.)

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