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THE ADMINISTRATORS OF THE TULANE EDUCATIONAL FUND, A LOUISIANA CORPORATION v. DUANE COOLEY

DECEMBER 12, 1984

THE ADMINISTRATORS OF THE TULANE EDUCATIONAL FUND, A LOUISIANA CORPORATION
v.
DUANE COOLEY



BEFORE, PATTERSON, C.J., DAN M. LEE AND ROBERTSON, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

This interlocutory appeal presents the question whether New Orleans-based Tulane University may, consistent with the Constitution of the United States, be made amenable to valid and enforceable adjudications of its important rights and duties in the courts of the State of Mississippi.

 Plaintiff Duane Cooley seeks recovery for the alleged wrongful death of his wife, Judy Billingsly Cooley. He has brought an attachment action in the Chancery Court of Forrest County under Miss. Code Ann. 11-31-1, et seq. (Supp.1984), a quasi in rem proceeding, if you will. Pursuant thereto, there have been seized and brought within the power of the Court the proceeds of debts owed to Tulane by Mississippi parties having

 an aggregate value of $147,677.50. Cooley seeks no in personam judgment against Tulane nor any other recovery of and from Tulane beyond the debts attached.

 Tulane strenuously argues that the Chancery Court's efforts to subject its property to jurisdiction are inconsistent with Tulane's rights under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, upon which there has been recent authoritative elaboration in Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 97 S. Ct. 2569, 53 L.Ed.2d 683 (1977) and Rush v. Savchuk, 444 U.S. 320, 100 S. Ct. 571, 62 L.Ed.2d 516 (1980).

 For the reasons set forth below, we find Tulane's arguments without merit and affirm.

 II.

 A.

 On June 2, 1981, Duane Cooley as personal representative of Judy Billingsley Cooley, deceased, commenced this wrongful death action by filing his complaint in the Chancery Court of Forrest County, Mississippi. Cooley has since amended his complaint. Defendants below were Hattiesburg Clinic, P.A., a professional association doing business in Forrest County, Mississippi, and The Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund, A Louisiana Corporation (herein" Tulane University "or sometimes" Tulane "). Tulane is the sole Appellant here.

 Subject matter jurisdiction has been predicated upon the Chancery Attachment Statute, Miss. Code Ann. 11-31-1, et seq. (Supp.1984), pursuant to which Cooley demanded that the court attach and bring before it certain effects of, or indebtednesses owed to, Tulane University said to be located in Mississippi.

 Two such indebtednesses of the nonresident defendant Tulane University have in fact been seized and brought within the control of the court. These are:

 (A) The sum of $48,182.00 owed to Tulane University arising out of an intercollegiate athletic contest between the football teams of the University of Southern Mississippi and Tulane University. The record reflects that the game was played in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and that the sums due and payable to Tulane were in the hands of the University of Southern Mississippi when the attachment process issuing out of the Chancery Court was served and thereby effectively bound such sums to await the outcome of this action.

 (B) The sum of $99,495.50 which is owed to Tulane University by virtue of unpaid for medical care, treatment and services rendered to the late Judy Cooley by Tulane Hospital and Medical Center. These sums were seized while in the hands of Gibson's Storeowners Association Employer Benefit Trust, hereinafter" Gibson's Trust ". Judy Cooley during her lifetime was an employee of Gibson's Distributors of Hattiesburg, Inc., hereinafter" Gibson's Hattiesburg ", a Mississippi corporation. As such, she was covered by a health insurance policy procured by Gibson's Trust. The care and treatment and hospitalization services rendered to Judy Cooley were covered by this health insurance plan. Pursuant to that policy, Gibson's Trust owed $99,495.50 to Tulane and, before said sums were paid, process of attachment issuing out of the Chancery Court of Forrest County was served upon Gibson's Trust subjecting said sums to the jurisdiction of the Court during the pendency of this action.

 All attachment defendants, having paid into the registry of the Court the moneys owed Tulane, have been finally dismissed from this action.

 B.

 The facts relevant to the issues tendered on this interlocutory appeal have to do with Tulane's activities in, and contacts with, the State of Mississippi. Many of these facts we glean from the record. Others are within our judicial knowledge.

 This Court, of course, may take judicial notice of adjudicative facts at any stage of the proceedings, whether requested to do so by a party or not. Walls v. Mississippi State Bar, 437 So.2d 30, 33 (Miss.1983); Moore v. Grillis, 205 Miss. 865, 39 So.2d 505 (1949). A judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (a) generally known within this state or (b) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.

 To begin with, indebtednesses to the aggregate tune of some $147,677.50 were found and seized in Forrest County. These valuable properties owned by Tulane certainly represent contacts with Mississippi. There is much more.

 Tulane University is a private, non-sectarian university comprising 11 academic divisions with close to 10,000 students. The university has been duly organized and exists as an educational corporation under the laws of the State of

 Louisiana. As all know, Tulane's principal place of business is in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 As the crow flies, Tulane is less than a hundred miles from parts of southern and southwestern Mississippi. It is within the actual as well as judicial knowledge of the members of this Court that, although the nerve center of Tulane's educational and service programs is in Louisiana, the university has a variety of contacts with Mississippi and engages in a plethora of activities in and related to Mississippi.

 Most basic is the educational function of the university. Tulane recruits Mississippi students. Because of its excellent reputation in all academic areas, Tulane is successful in this endeavor. It offers scholarships to Mississippi citizens incident to their pursuit of the educational opportunities available at Tulane.

 Tulane engages in substantial continuing education programs. The different colleges and schools of the university invite citizens of this state to participate in seminars and continuing education programs *fn1. Fees are charged those taking part in these programs. Tulane students engage in a variety of intercollegiate competitions with students from Mississippi's colleges and universities. Most familiar are the athletic contests, wherein almost annually Tulane competes with the University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi and other Mississippi schools in football, basketball and other sports. These competitions take place in accordance with contracts often made a year or more in advance and involving guarantees of and entitlements to substantial sums of money. Many of these contests take place within the State of Mississippi *fn2.

 Tulane is a member of an intercollegiate athletic conference, the Metro Athletic Conference, which also has as one of its members the University of Southern Mississippi.

 Beyond athletics, there are any number of other forms of intercollegiate competitions between Tulane and Mississippi schools. There are Tulane faculty members who participate in a variety of educational programs, seminars and conferences within the State of Mississippi. Conversely, Mississippians are invited to and participate in comparable programs at Tulane.

 Perhaps most important of all, we take judicial notice that Tulane has substantial numbers of alumni and friends in

 this state, primarily on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in south and southwest Mississippi. Tulane regularly solicits and receives financial contributions and other forms of gifts from these Mississippians, and derives great benefit therefrom.

 One of the educational and service functions performed by Tulane has been the operation of a School of Medicine, in connection with which Tulane operates ...


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