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 electric cigarettes. Because the Pre-marketsation Tobacco Authorization deadline of Sept 9th, 2021, Electric Tobacconist USA no longer carries any products or brands that are conforming to the FDA PMTA regulations. There is a post written by an individual who claimed to become a former employee stating that Electric Tobacconist was among the companies in the tobacco industry that was most difficult to sell cigarettes to. The complete article can be viewed in the bottom of this article.
Now, we have an opportunity to have a look at the events which occurred before the Electric Tobacconist closing down. On or around Apr 3, 2021, a class action suit was filed against several companies mixed up in 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 in time there were no federal laws that put on the industry. There was no chance to obtain personal jurisdiction over the companies involved in the 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 would hurt their profits. This is where we start to 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, while the e tobacconist was willing to supply them with e-juice in a shorter time frame.
The Electric Tobacconist decided to the terms, the e-juice company provided them making use of 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 a difference in timing. The Electric Tobacconist waited an extra fifteen days to put their second order. The e-juice manufacturer’s timing for placing their second order was also different than that of the e Tobaccconists.
There are two primary services contained in a Tobacco Product Warranty. They are: Quality Service and Customer Reliability. The word quality service encompasses the entire package that comes with the electric tobacconist. This might include but not limited to, the packaging, the Nicotine-filled liquids that have been to be sold, customer care, the merchandise 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 buy 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 maker required the age verification and requested that the age proof be presented at time of checkout. On the night time of the initial day of using these products, the customer noticed that the e-juice had not been made available to him and that he was not in a position to purchase them. He subsequently informed the manager of the e-juice Smok Novo company that he had received two phone calls from the electric tobacconist and that he was now calling back each of them individually. On the next day, he was calling both the first and second manager and that, on the third day, he was calling the 3rd manager and that at that point, he was told that he could purchase his Nicotine-infused items at the store.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is an “applicable law” body. This body, having regard to the “relevance” of the products and services contained in commerce, specifically to the subject-matter of the products and services included 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 at that time because he did not think that the e-juice company had breached the exclusive rights provided to him under the Uniform Commercial Code; he didn’t contend that the e-juice company had violated any applicable law, like the rules of federal jurisdiction, including the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). The key 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 business 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 based on the grounds that, the plaintiff had not been a party to the contract, and was not a consumer of the product sold by the franchisor. For purposes of assessing the likelihood of an abuse of personal jurisdiction, we think it could be more appropriate to consider whether the conduct complained of occurred within the context of the relationship between the franchisor and its franchisees. In light of that analysis, it appears that the dismissal of the complaint should have been upheld if the plaintiff had been a celebration to the contract. It is unlikely that this argument could have been considered by the lower court. We concur.