Personal Jurisdiction and the Scope of Electric Tobacconist Contracts
Electric Tobacconists is a small privately owned cigarette distributor in the usa. It is among the many small distributors of electronic cigarettes. Since the Pre-marketsation Tobacco Authorization deadline of Sept 9th, 2021, Electric Tobacconist USA no longer carries any products or brands which are conforming to the FDA PMTA regulations. There was a post written by a person who claimed to be a former employee stating that Electric Tobacconist was one of many companies in the tobacco industry that was most difficult to sell cigarettes to. The entire article can be viewed at the bottom of the article.
Now, we have an opportunity to take a look at the events which occurred before the Electric Tobacconist closing down. On or about Apr 3, 2021, a class action suit was filed against several companies involved in the electronic cigarette market. The class action suit was brought by way of a group of individuals who were not satisfied with what sort of electronic cigarette market had been regulated. At that point with time there have been no federal laws that put on the industry. There was no way to obtain personal jurisdiction over the companies mixed up in cigarette manufacturing and distribution.
For the reason that same month there were reports of Electronic Cigarette Vending Machine Dwindling. It had been reported by the Associated Press that the sale of non-nicotine flavored e-juice products, was now forbidden by the e-juice manufacturers since they believed that it could hurt their profits. This is where we see the first contract between an e-juice manufacturer and an e Tobaccconist. The manufacturer wished to distribute Nicotine-containing liquids to smokers within 15 business days, as the e tobacconist was willing to supply them with e-juice in a shorter time period.
The Electric Tobacconist decided to the terms, the e-juice company Novo 2 provided them with their samples of e-juices and within 15 business days, the maker supplied them with the Nicotine-rich liquids that they needed. This contract and the subsequent dispute arose from the difference in timing. The Electric Tobacconist waited an extra fifteen days to place their second order. The e-juice manufacturer’s timing for placing their second order was also unique of that of the e Tobaccconists.
You can find two primary services included in a Tobacco Product Warranty. They are: Quality Service and Customer Reliability. The term quality service encompasses the complete package that is included with the electric tobacconist. This would include but not limited to, the packaging, the Nicotine-filled liquids which were to be sold, customer support, the product warranty, the return policy, shipping, billing and payment arrangements.
The dispute between the Electric Tobacconist and the e-juice company stemmed from the e-juice company requiring that their customers purchase a Nicotine-infused item, such as, gum, a pipe or perhaps a lollipop, using a credit card. This requirement was to be fulfilled by the customer utilizing an “authorized user” id. The manufacturer required the age verification and requested that this proof be presented at time of checkout. On the night of the initial day of using the products, the customer noticed that the e-juice had not been made available to him and that he was not able to purchase them. He subsequently informed the manager of the e-juice company that he had received two calls from the electric tobacconist and that he was now calling back all of them individually. On the next day, he was calling both first and second manager and that, on the 3rd day, he was calling the third manager and that at that point, he was told he could purchase his Nicotine-infused items at the store.
AMERICA Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) can be an “applicable law” body. This body, having regard to the “relevance” of the goods and services included in commerce, specifically to the subject-matter of the goods and services contained in the transaction, has issued consistent rules and rulings with respect to the scope of the “exclusivity” rule in the Uniform Commercial Code. The Electric Tobacconist did not file suit against the e-juice company in those days because he did not think that the e-juice company had breached the exclusive rights provided to him beneath the Uniform Commercial Code; he didn’t contend that the e-juice company had violated any other applicable law, like the rules of federal jurisdiction, like the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). The reason why the Electric Tobacconist preferred to file this suit against the e-juice company was because, in his view, the e-juice company had violated the Anti-Trust laws, including the St. Louis Circuit Court of Appeals (” Circuit”), which had previously ordered the company to cover the Electric Tobacconist and/or his franchisees a large-scale judgment tax for circumventing the legitimate authority of the franchisor, namely, the franchisor’s direct seller, which included the e-juice manufacturer.
In relevant circumstances, the dismissal of the complaint must have been using the grounds that, the plaintiff had not been a celebration to the contract, and was not a consumer of the merchandise sold by the franchisor. For purposes of assessing the likelihood of an abuse of personal jurisdiction, we think it will be more appropriate to consider if the conduct complained of occurred within the context of the relationship between the franchisor and its franchisees. In light of that analysis, it would appear that the dismissal of the complaint must have been upheld if the plaintiff have been a party to the contract. It is unlikely that this argument would have been considered by the lower court. We concur.