In this case we hold that a California resident who intervenes in Ohio litigation and goes there for negotiations resolving the litigation has
The law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease (Vorys) represented Jeffrey Ryan, Equinox Arabians, Geraldine Coelho, Maurice Ryan, and Lee Ryan (Ryans) in a dispute over an Arabian horse, Witroska. Vorys is located in Ohio; Ryans are California residents and a California partnership. Ryans signed a written agreement for the purchase of Witroska from Halsted Arabians, an Ohio business. Ryans delivered its check for $42,500 to Halsted in Ohio and were to receive Witroska later, in Kentucky. Neil Chur, a third party, filed suit against Halsted in Ohio, claiming he had purchased Witroska from Halsted before the agreement between Halsted and Ryans. Halsted had refused to deliver title or possession of Witroska to Chur.
Ryans' California attorney arranged for Vorys to intervene in the Ohio lawsuit, to protect Ryans' claim to Witroska. Ryans became dissatisfied with Vorys over the fee it charged Ryans for making an unsuccessful motion. Maurice and Jeffrey Ryan went to Ohio and negotiated a settlement of the lawsuit, but felt the settlement papers prepared by Vorys were defective. Ryans refused to pay Vorys' fees.
Vorys filed an action in Ohio for payment of its fees. Ryans failed to appear and the Ohio court rendered a default judgment for Vorys. Vorys subsequently obtained a "sister state judgment" in Contra Costa County Superior Court. Ryans moved to vacate this judgment contending the Ohio court lacked personal jurisdiction to render the original judgment. Ryans appeals from the trial court's denial of the motion to vacate. We affirm the judgment.
Ohio's long-arm statute allows service of process on a nonresident "who, acting directly or by an agent, has caused an event to occur out of which the claim which is the subject of the complaint arose, from the person's: (1) Transacting any business in this state...." (Ohio Civil Rule 4.3(A) (amended eff. July 1, 1980).) California's long-arm statute contemplates a similar exercise of jurisdiction. (See the Judicial Council Comments to Code of Civil Procedure section 410.10.) Courts have interpreted subsection (1)
A three-part test has been used to determine when a defendant has "minimum contacts" with a forum state. "First, the defendant must purposefully avail himself of the privilege of acting in the forum state or causing a consequence in the forum state. Second, the cause of action must arise from the defendant's activities there. Finally, the acts of the defendant or consequences caused by the defendant must have a substantial enough connection with the forum state to make the exercise of jurisdiction over the defendant reasonable." (Pickens v. Hess (6th Cir.1978) 573 F.2d 380, 385; see also Buckeye Boiler Co. v. Superior Court (1969) 71 Cal.2d 893, 898-899 [80 Cal.Rptr. 113, 458 P.2d 57].)
No California case has considered whether retaining an attorney in another state gives that state personal jurisdiction in subsequent disputes over attorneys' fees. Most reported cases from other states uphold the exercise
Ryans also contend that Ohio's exercise of jurisdiction over this case is constitutionally unreasonable because Ohio does not provide for mandatory arbitration of attorneys' fees disputes as does California. (See Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6200 et seq.) Although California considers arbitration a superior method of resolving attorneys' fees disputes, its unavailability in Ohio does not "offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." (International Shoe Co., supra, 326 U.S. at p. 316 [90 L.Ed. at p. 102].) Even if this action had been brought originally in California, arbitration of fee disputes is not applicable to attorneys from other states who maintain no office here and rendered no material services in California. (See Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6200, subd. (a)(1).)
We affirm the trial court's denial of the motion to vacate the entry of the sister state judgment.
Low, P.J., and Haning, J., concurred.