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A Change of Forum



A Change of Forum

Ronan Removes to Federal Court



TO: Marcia Losordo Associate

FROM: Arthur Ackerman

RE: Schulansky v. Ronan Plymouth Superior Court No. 2011-2982

DATE: December 19, 2011


As you know, this office frequently handles litigation for Federal Security Insurance Company, a large insurer specializing in construction accounts. Federal Security has just asked us to represent one of their insureds, a New Hampshire contractor named Richard Ronan. On December 10, Ronan was served with process in a suit commenced against him and Ronan Construction Company in the Plymouth Superior Court. Copies of the complaint and summons are attached.

Ronan was in this morning for an initial interview on the case (I would have asked you to sit in, but you were in court). Although I didn’t have much time, I did get the relevant background information on the case. The suit arises out of some work Ronan did for the plaintiff, Deborah Schulansky, on her second home in Alton, New Hampshire. Schulansky claims that Ronan agreed to build an addition to the house but failed to reinforce the foundation adequately, causing the main part of the house to settle. Ronan denies that the house has settled or, if it has, that it resulted from his work.

My initial reaction was that it seems doubtful that Ronan is subject to personal jurisdiction in Massachusetts for this claim, since the work was done out of state and Ronan is from New Hampshire. However, he did negotiate the contract with the plaintiff in Massachusetts, so he does at least have some relevant contacts here.

If Ronan is subject to jurisdiction in Massachusetts, I would prefer to litigate in federal district court here in Boston rather than down in Plymouth. Ronan lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, and Ronan Construction Company is incorporated in New Hampshire with its principal place of business in Nashua, so the case is removable on diversity grounds.

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