Jurisdiction Relying on Letter Written by a Nonresident

Rowland & Rowland v. Texas Employers Indemnity Co., 973 S.W.2d 432 (Tex. App.--Austin 1998, no pet.), centered on a single letter written by the nonresident defendant, a Tennessee law firm, to the plaintiff, a Texas indemnity company. See 973 S.W.2d at 434. The Texas company, relying on representations in the letter that the Tennessee firm would protect its interest in a wrongful death suit pending in Tennessee, did not intervene in the Tennessee litigation. See id. At the conclusion of the suit, the law firm distributed the entire recovery to the wrongful death claimants to the exclusion of the Texas company, which then sued the Tennessee firm in Texas for negligent misrepresentation. See id. Texas jurisdiction was upheld on two bases: the letter itself constituted a purposeful contact directed to Texas with the intent that its representations be relied upon, and the Tennessee law firm unilaterally decided to distribute all of the proceeds to the wrongful death claimants and their lawyers, all of whom were residents of Texas. See Rowland & Rowland, 973 S.W.2d at 435-36.