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Hanin v. RHE Hatco

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

June 29, 2017

ADAM HANIN APPELLANT
v.
RHE HATCO D/B/A HATCO, INC. APPELLEE

         FROM THE 17TH DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO. 017-286995-16

          PANEL: LIVINGSTON, C.J.; WALKER and PITTMAN, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          MARK T. PITTMAN JUSTICE

         Appellant Adam Hanin appeals from the trial court's denial of the special appearance he filed in the breach of contract suit brought against him by Appellee RHE Hatco d/b/a Hatco, Inc. (Hatco). Because we hold that the trial court has personal jurisdiction over Hanin, we affirm.

          I. Background

         Hanin was formerly the president and managing member of Skye Associates, LLC, a Maryland company. Hatco's principal place of business is in Texas. In 2012, Skye executed an agreement with Hatco under which Hatco agreed to ship merchandise to Skye on credit. The entire agreement consisted of three parts covering four pages: (1) a two-page application form signed by Hanin as Skye's representative; (2) a one-page guaranty signed by Hanin individually; and (3) a one-page credit agreement signed by Hanin as Skye's representative (collectively, "the Agreement").

         In 2016, Hatco sued Hanin for breach of the guaranty, seeking to recover Skye's unpaid debts. It alleged that Hanin "at all times material to this action has engaged in business in Texas." It further alleged that Hanin had guaranteed Skye's obligations and that on the same day he executed the guaranty, he also signed, on Skye's behalf, the credit agreement, which declared that Texas jurisdiction would govern the agreement. As such, Hatco asserted, Hanin was subject to the jurisdiction of Texas "both through his continuous[, ] substantial contacts with Texas described herein that give rise to this suit, and also through his affirmative agreement that Texas jurisdiction should control."

         In response to the lawsuit, Hanin filed a special appearance maintaining that the trial court had neither general nor specific jurisdiction over him. He asserted that he does not reside in Texas and does not maintain continuous or systematic contacts with Texas. He attached his own affidavit in support of his special appearance and swore:

. he has never been a resident of Texas;
. Skye does not have, and has never had, any place of business in Texas, or any bank accounts or offices in Texas;
. he does not pay any taxes in Texas;
. he does not maintain any bank accounts or addresses in Texas and never has;
. he does not regularly conduct business in Texas and therefore has never engaged in continuous or systematic activities in the state; and
. to the extent that he has any existing duties under the guaranty, his performance was due in Maryland.

         By supplemental affidavit, Hanin also swore that he has never traveled to Texas to conduct any business with Hatco in connection with the negotiation of the guaranty or credit agreement and that he was never personally ...


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