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Personal Injury Jurisdiction

Personal Injury Jurisdiction

Brien Roche

The U.S. Supreme Court established the concept of modern personal jurisdiction in International Shoe.  Over the last several years the court has shifted gears on what are referred to as “general” and “specific jurisdiction”  General jurisdiction means that a court may have jurisdiction over a defendant simply because it is qualified to do business in that jurisdiction or otherwise has a presence there even though the claim does not arise from those contacts.  Specific personal jurisdiction is based upon the minimum contacts being the basis for the lawsuit.

Personal Injury Jurisdiction-Daimler

In Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 139 (2014) the court held that the exercise of general jurisdiction over a corporation is limited to states where it is at home.  “At home” means the corporation’s principal place of business and the state of incorporation.  Daimler essentially brought an end to the concept of general jurisdiction based on a defendant’s business places, products put into the stream of commerce, volume of sales or other such contacts.  

In BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell, 137 S.Ct. 1549 (2017) the court held that the Montana courts could not exercise general jurisdiction over the defendant because it was not at home in that state.  In this instance BNSF had more than 2,000 employees and over 2,000 miles of track in the state.  The court held that the defendant’s contacts were not so continuous and systematic as to make BNSF at home in Montana.  

In Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277 (2014), the court held that for a state to exercise specific jurisdiction, the defendant’s suit-related conduct must create a substantial connection with the forum state.  

Personal Injury Jurisdiction-Further Retreat

In Bristol Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, 137 S.Ct. 1773 (2017), the court dealt with a situation where the defendant engaged in business in California including selling a product there.  However it did not develop, manufacture or seek approval for the drug in that state.  In addition the non-resident plaintiffs did not allege that they obtained the product in that state or were injured there.  The court found there was no specific jurisdiction based on those facts.  

The concept of general jurisdiction comes down to where a defendant’s main headquarters is located or where the defendant is incorporated.  Bristol Myers could not be sued by non-California residents in California because the defendant did not develop the drug in that state, manufacture it there, label it there or seek regulatory approval there.  Rather what must be looked at is whether the defendant has an “affiliation” with that state.  Affiliation means whether the action arose out of conduct within the state.  

Aside from showing that affiliation, there may be other ways to obtain jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant:

  1. Is the defendant registered to do business in that state?
  2. The long-arm statute of that jurisdiction.
  3. The defendant may have an interest in streamlining litigation by agreeing to jurisdiction in that state.

For there to exist specific jurisdiction, the court must find that the suit arises from the defendant’s contacts with the state with the primary concern being the burden on the defendant.

A plaintiff must also be prepared to prove personal jurisdiction at trial.  The mere preliminary showing of personal jurisdiction does not mean that the defendant cannot later on challenge it.  The plaintiff may actually have to prove personal jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence.  

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also for more info on personal injury see the Wikipedia pages.

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Personal Injury Jurisdiction

Personal Injury Jurisdiction

Brien Roche

The U.S. Supreme Court established the concept of modern personal jurisdiction in International Shoe.  Over the last several years the court has shifted gears on what are referred to as “general” and “specific jurisdiction”  General jurisdiction means that a court may have jurisdiction over a defendant simply because it is qualified to do business in that jurisdiction or otherwise has a presence there even though the claim does not arise from those contacts.  Specific personal jurisdiction is based upon the minimum contacts being the basis for the lawsuit.

Personal Injury Jurisdiction-Daimler

In Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 139 (2014) the court held that the exercise of general jurisdiction over a corporation is limited to states where it is at home.  “At home” means the corporation’s principal place of business and the state of incorporation.  Daimler essentially brought an end to the concept of general jurisdiction based on a defendant’s business places, products put into the stream of commerce, volume of sales or other such contacts.  

In BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell, 137 S.Ct. 1549 (2017) the court held that the Montana courts could not exercise general jurisdiction over the defendant because it was not at home in that state.  In this instance BNSF had more than 2,000 employees and over 2,000 miles of track in the state.  The court held that the defendant’s contacts were not so continuous and systematic as to make BNSF at home in Montana.  

In Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277 (2014), the court held that for a state to exercise specific jurisdiction, the defendant’s suit-related conduct must create a substantial connection with the forum state.  

Personal Injury Jurisdiction-Further Retreat

In Bristol Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, 137 S.Ct. 1773 (2017), the court dealt with a situation where the defendant engaged in business in California including selling a product there.  However it did not develop, manufacture or seek approval for the drug in that state.  In addition the non-resident plaintiffs did not allege that they obtained the product in that state or were injured there.  The court found there was no specific jurisdiction based on those facts.  

The concept of general jurisdiction comes down to where a defendant’s main headquarters is located or where the defendant is incorporated.  Bristol Myers could not be sued by non-California residents in California because the defendant did not develop the drug in that state, manufacture it there, label it there or seek regulatory approval there.  Rather what must be looked at is whether the defendant has an “affiliation” with that state.  Affiliation means whether the action arose out of conduct within the state.  

Aside from showing that affiliation, there may be other ways to obtain jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant:

  1. Is the defendant registered to do business in that state?
  2. The long-arm statute of that jurisdiction.
  3. The defendant may have an interest in streamlining litigation by agreeing to jurisdiction in that state.

For there to exist specific jurisdiction, the court must find that the suit arises from the defendant’s contacts with the state with the primary concern being the burden on the defendant.

A plaintiff must also be prepared to prove personal jurisdiction at trial.  The mere preliminary showing of personal jurisdiction does not mean that the defendant cannot later on challenge it.  The plaintiff may actually have to prove personal jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence.  

Call, or contact us for a free consult. Also for more info on personal injury see the Wikipedia pages.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

    Contact Us For A Free Consultation

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