(CN) – A Dutch company cannot be sued in Florida for its alleged role in the deaths of 70 children in Haiti who took tainted medicine because the company lacked sufficient business contacts in the state, a Florida appeals court ruled.
The problem with the fever medicine was a tainted batch of glycerin, made in China and purchased through a German company. Vos B.V., a Dutch company, shipped the medicine to Haiti.
Families of the victims accused Vos of knowing the glycerin was bad but shipping it to Haiti anyway with a false label.
The trial court ruled that Vos can be sued in Florida because it had contact with two Florida businesses. But Judge Rothenberg of the Miami-based appeals court overturned the decision.
“During the relevant time period Vos had no offices or employees in Florida; Vos did not own any assets or real estate in Florida; Vos did not distribute any chemicals into or through Florida; Vos did not advertise in Florida; and Vos never sent representatives to Florida,” Rothenburg wrote.
“A foreign defendant’s de minimis contacts with Florida cannot form the basis of an assertion of personal jurisdiction in Florida, where the plaintiff’s claim arises out of an unrelated foreign incident.”