Corporate Agents Can Be Reached By NC Courts For Their Corporate Acts
In Brown, the individual defendants were Refuel' s president and its CEO, both of whom were also directors, and neither of whom was a resident of NC. The individual defendants, among other things, came to NC on business, communicated with the plaintiff while in NC, and accepted money from plaintiff while in NC. Nevertheless, the individual defendants argued that that conduct "did not count" for personal jurisdiction purposes because the individual defendants were acting as corporate agents.
The COA disagreed and indicated that the individual defendants were not shielded as individuals by their status as Refuel officers. Instead, personal jurisdiction is individually assessed, and the individual defendants' contacts to NC here were enough to subject them to NC jurisdiction.
The COA also mentioned, at the end of its opinion, that the plaintiff had moved for dismissal and sanctions based on frivolity. The COA noted that it found the appeal to be "without merit" but nevertheless "in our discretion, we decline to impose sanctions." Scary that a losing appeal -- and that means most appeals -- without mention of more, could be subject to a frivolity sanction but for the discretionary mercy of the court.