Scherr v. Abrahams_COL

Scherr v. Abrahams, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8531, N.D. Ill., May 29, 1998

FACTS: A plaintiff publisher and editor of the Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR) brought suit against Abrahams, editor of a journal, for FTC Violations and fraud and deceptive business practices, among other causes of action. The defendants were the Massachusetts-based publishers of a science-satire magazine. JIR also appeared on an Internet Web site as an electronic newsletter and was distributed electronically to people who submitted their email addresses.

ISSUE: WON the IL court has jurisdiction over the defendant.

HELD: The district court dismissed this complaint due to lack of personal jurisdiction. The court held that the defendant could not be subjected to suit in Illinois by the plaintiff, publisher of a competing magazine. The defendant’s publication of a version of his magazine on the Internet, with a mailto link and free e-mail subscription option (compare Drudge), was insufficient “contact” with Illinois to create jurisdiction. The court was labeling the web site “interactive” because it allowed the user to type in an email address and receive a copy of the publication in return, but declining to assert jurisdiction because the level of interactivity was low and the site was not targeted specifically at forum state residents.

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