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HAZELTINE CORP. v. YELLOW TAXI CORP.

April 30, 1934

HAZELTINE CORPORATION
v.
YELLOW TAXI CORPORATION



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BYERS

BYERS, District Judge.

Motion to quash service of subpoena in a suit in equity for the alleged infringement of plaintiff's patent.

Service of the subpoena was made in this district upon the superintendent in charge of one of the two garages operated in Brooklyn by the defendant company in connection with its business.

 The statute involved is section 48 of the Judicial Code (title 28 U.S.C. § 109 [28 USCA § 109]) which is as follows:

 " Patent Cases. In suits brought for the infringement of letters patent the district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction, in law or in equity, in the district of which the defendant is an inhabitant, or in any district in which the defendant, whether a person, partnership, or corporation, shall have committed acts of infringement and have a regular and established place of business. If such suit is brought in a district of which the defendant is not an inhabitant, but in which such defendant has a regular and established place of business, service of process, summons, or subpoena upon the defendant may be made by service upon the agent or agents engaged in conducting such business in the district in which suit is brought.(Mar. 3, 1897, c. 395, 29 Stat. 695; Mar. 3, 1911, c. 231, § 48, 36 Stat. 1100.)"

 The defendant is a New York corporation, and the affidavit of the president filed on behalf of the motion shows that the principal office and place of business is in the borough of Manhattan in the Southern District.

 In considering whether the defendant has a regular and established place of business in this district, it is necessary to understand the nature of its business. It is a taxicab company, and its business is that of the transportation of passengers for hire in peripatetic cabs that are operated in the streets of the city of New York; its patrons are secured at regular stands or while the cabs are "cruising" through the streets.

 The entire fleet, so-called, of the defendant company consists of 875 taxicabs, and they are housed, when not in operation, in garages, two of which, with a capacity of 125 cabs each, are located in the Eastern District.

 The Brooklyn garages are leased by the corporation, and it may therefore be assumed that they are permanent, so far as occupation and operation are concerned.

 The staff at each garage consists of a garage superintendent and an assistant, a cashier, dispatcher, two mechanics, and two car washers, and, as necessity requires, emergenecy labor is employed.

 From the foregoing, it is obvious that one-seventh of the defendant's entire equipment is housed, repaired and kept in condition at each of the Brooklyn garages. The services performed at those garages are necessary for the maintenance of the cabs in suitable condition for the defendant's activities.

 Nothing is said in the affidavits about the supplies of gasoline and motor oil, but it is a necessary inference from the affidavits that, when each cab starts out on its daily rounds, fuel and lubrication are supplied at the garage as needed.

 The foregoing makes it plain that the business of furnishing taxicab transportation could not be maintained except through the operation of such garages from which the activities of the cabs are directed and controlled.

 The cases cited by defendant have been examined, but will not be referred to at length, because none involves facts comparable to those here presented. It will be sufficient to observe that the defendant's dealings with the public in this district involve nothing which requires confirmation or consideration at the business office in the Southern District. A local passenger pays for his transportation ...


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