Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cunningham v. Sunice, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

August 29, 2019

ARNOLD CUNNINGHAM
v.
SUNICE, INC.

          Session: January 9, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 16C2588 Kelvin D. Jones, Judge

         A Canadian company hired an independent contractor domiciled in Tennessee to market its sportswear to golfers on the PGA Tour. After the Canadian company terminated the contract, the independent contractor filed a breach of contract action in Tennessee. The Canadian company moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Finding insufficient minimum contacts with Tennessee, the trial court dismissed the complaint. On appeal, we conclude that the plaintiff failed to establish sufficient minimum contacts for the exercise of general or specific jurisdiction over the nonresident defendant. So we affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          Stephen W. Grace and Delain L. Deatherage, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Arnold Cunningham.

          J. Cole Dowsley, Jr., Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sunice, Inc.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Frank G. Clement Jr., P.J., M.S., and Andy D. Bennett, J., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL MCBRAYER, JUDGE

         I.

         In 2015, Sunice, Inc., a Canadian company, hired Arnold Cunningham, a Tennessee resident, to promote its golf apparel to professional golf players on the PGA Tour.[1] The work required Mr. Cunningham to travel to a minimum of 30 PGA Tour events, with the express goal of making Sunice the "number 1 outerwear on the PGA Tour." Mr. Cunningham marketed and sold Sunice's products at various PGA Tour events throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. After 18 months, Sunice unilaterally terminated the contract.

         Following the termination, Mr. Cunningham sued Sunice for breach of contract in the Circuit Court of Davidson County, Tennessee. Sunice responded with a motion to dismiss based upon, among other things, lack of personal jurisdiction. Sunice supported its motion with the sworn declaration of Katherine Cleland, a corporate representative. According to Ms. Cleland, Sunice had no offices, employees, bank accounts, real property, or phone listing in Tennessee. It was not registered or authorized to do business in Tennessee. Sunice was incorporated under Canadian law and maintained its principal place of business in Quebec, Canada. Sunice hired Mr. Cunningham as an independent contractor to serve as Sunice's brand representative on the PGA Tour. The services contemplated in the contract were not specific to Tennessee, but were to be performed throughout the world.

         Mr. Cunningham responded with his own declaration detailing Sunice's connections to Tennessee. He claimed that Sunice solicited him to market its sportswear products on the PGA Tour and "particularly at the PGA golf event held annually in Memphis, Tennessee known as the St. Jude Classic." He signed the contract in Tennessee, and Sunice sent both sportswear products and monthly checks to his Tennessee residence. And he represented Sunice at the St. Jude Classic in Tennessee.

         The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. The court determined that Mr. Cunningham failed to establish sufficient minimum contacts between Sunice and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.