The ESAB Group, Inc. (ESAB) (plaintiff), sued Centricut Inc. (Centricut) (defendant), a New Hampshire-based mail-order business and ESAB's competitor, in a South Carolina federal district court. ESAB claimed that Centricut purposefully intended to and did harm ESAB's South Carolina-based business, in violation of South Carolina law and the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Centricut claimed the court lacked personal jurisdiction to hear the case and moved to dismiss. Centricut showed that it never specifically targeted South Carolina customers, did not conduct substantial business activity in South Carolina, and had few customers in South Carolina. The court ruled that South Carolina's long-arm statute gave it personal jurisdiction to hear the case and denied Centricut's motion to dismiss. Centricut appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.