There is no limitation on the Business Court’s jurisdiction when it comes to cases involving the Internet and e-commerce. "The legislature specifically included cases relating to those subjects without any limitation on the nature of the legal issues involved. . . .It did so in order to provide a court with expertise in these areas and to see that the law was developed consistently. The Internet and e-commerce generally involve new, novel, and complex technologies. Those technologies impact business in innumerable ways."
The Court found that it lacked personal jurisdiction over out-of-state doctors and dentists who had allegedly sent internet advertising to plaintiff, a North Carolina resident. The Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that there was jurisdiction under N.C.G.S. §1-75.4(4)(a), which allows for the assertion of jurisdiction when “solicitation or services activities were carried on within this State or by or on behalf of the defendant.”
The Court stated that “it makes absolutely no sense that Moving Defendants, all of whom operate law or dental practices in states far removed from North Carolina, would have any interest in soliciting [plaintiff], or any other North Carolina resident.” The defendants, via affidavits, in fact denied such interest.
The Court relied on the North Carolina Court of Appeals decision in Havey v. Valentine, 172 N.C. App. 812, 616 S.E.2d 642 (2005), in which the appellate court held that “a person who simply places information on the Internet does not subject himself to jurisdiction in each State into which the electronic signal is transmitted and received.”
Plaintiff sued a large number of defendants, arguing that they had caused advertising messages (in the form of pop-up ads) to be sent to him over his computer. The Court held, construing the allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, that he had stated a claim for trespass to chattels under North Carolina common law.