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Nowak v. Tak How Investments, Ltd.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
94 F.3d 708 (1996)


Facts

Ralph and Sally Ann Nowak lived in Massachusetts, where Ralph worked for a Massachusetts company, Kiddie Products, Inc. (Kiddie). Kiddie regularly sent employees to Hong Kong. In 1992, Kiddie’s vice president negotiated a discount with the Holiday Inn in Hong Kong (Holiday Inn), at which Kiddie employees exclusively stayed thereafter. In June 1993, the Holiday Inn faxed Kiddie promotional materials, including new rates. After seeking and receiving additional information from the Holiday Inn, Kiddie booked upcoming stays there for several employees, including Ralph. Sally Ann typically accompanied Ralph on one of his two yearly Hong Kong trips. The Nowaks arrived at the Holiday Inn on September 16. Two days later, Sally Ann drowned in the hotel pool. Ralph and others (plaintiffs) filed a wrongful death suit against Tak How Investments, Ltd. (Tak How) (defendant), the owner of the Holiday Inn, in Massachusetts state court. Tak How was a Hong Kong corporation with its only place of business in Hong Kong; its sole asset was the Holiday Inn. During 1992 and 1993, Tak How advertised in American publications, including some that circulated in Massachusetts. Tak How also sent direct solicitations to former hotel guests, including Massachusetts residents. Tak How removed the suit to federal court, then moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The court denied its motion. Tak How appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cummings, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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