Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 134th Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. DC-16-01749.
Justices Francis, Lang-Miers, and Whitehill
an interlocutory appeal from an order denying appellant
Barbara O'Daire's special appearance. The pivotal
question is whether her emails and telephone calls with a
Texas company constitute "purposeful availment"
that would support a Texas court's exercising personal
jurisdiction over her. Because the facts and binding
precedents compel the conclusion that she did not
purposefully avail herself of the privilege of conducting
activities in Texas, we issue this memorandum opinion and
facts are well-known to the parties. Therefore, we recite the
facts to the limited extent necessary to decide this case. We
draw the facts from the parties' pleadings and
relevant points in time, O'Daire has been a Virginia
citizen and resident and Bay Capital Management Group,
LLC's president. BCMG was an entity formed under Virginia
law with its principal place of business in Virginia.
Rowand Recovery, LLC is a debt collection company based in
found BCMG's website while searching for consumer debt
portfolios to buy. Rowand's attorney and agent, Hershel
Chapin, contacted BCMG about buying Texas consumer debts.
Rowand ultimately bought a portfolio of accounts from BCMG.
BCMG employee Barbara Helmandollar handled the negotiations
for BCMG, but O'Daire signed the contract for BCMG.
paying the purchase price, Rowand told BCMG that it was
dissatisfied with the chain of title documents BCMG sent.
About a month after the contract was executed, O'Daire
began communicating with Chapin by telephone and email about
the alleged defects in BCMG's performance. On some
occasions, she emailed Chapin files relating to the account
purchase, but Rowand contends these efforts did not cure the
defects. Rowand alleges that on one occasion O'Daire
emailed Rowand a corrected bill of sale from BCMG's
predecessor in interest that was a "complete
fabrication." Rowand further alleges that O'Daire
later sent a revised bill of sale that contained false
representations. Rowand alleges that it ultimately discovered
that it never acquired title to any of the accounts it bought
because BCMG itself never had title to them.
months after O'Daire's last communication, Rowand
sued her in Dallas County, asserting warranty and Texas
Deceptive Trade Practices Act claims.
filed a special appearance challenging Texas's personal
jurisdiction over her, to which Rowand responded with
evidence attached. O'Daire replied with evidence
trial court held a hearing and denied the special appearance.
The order recites that "specific personal jurisdiction
exists over Defendant in this forum for all claims alleged in
Plaintiff's original petition." No findings of
fact were requested or made.
timely appealed. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code