Select Page

Civil Procedure II
Santa Clara University School of Law
Jimenez, Philip

 
CIVIL PROCEDURE OUTLINE, Jimenez, Spring 2013
 
Personal Jurisdiction
I.              General Information
A.                The ability of a court having subject matter jx to exercise power over a particular defendant or item of property.
B.                 Limitations on personal jx arise from statute and US Constitution.
                                        1.   If no state statute grants the court power over the parties, then the court lacks personal jx.
                                        2.   Statute may not allow personal jx that is in violation of the provisions of the Due Process Clause of the US Constitution.
a.         Due Process Clause Limitations:
i.              The Δ must have such contacts with the forum state that the exercise of jx will be fair and reasonable.
ii.                       The Δ must be given appropriate notice of the action and an opportunity to be heard.
C.                 The evaluation of proper personal jx in a federal court would be the same as in state court.
                                        1.   Even though their borders (“forum”) encompasses all states.
                                        2.   Fed Rule of Civ Pro 4: Each federal court must analyze personal jx as if it were in the court of the state in which it is located.
II.           In Personam Jurisdiction
A.                When the forum has jx over the person of a particular Δ.
B.                 Requires MINIMUM CONTACTS and NOTICE (discussed below).
C.                 Four statutory bases for in personam jurisdiction:
                                        1.   Physical Presence at Time of Personal Service
a.         Any Δ who can personally be served with process within the borders of the forum state, no matter how long he is present (i.e., even if merely passing through).
i.             Burnham v Superior Court—the Supreme Court found a transient Δ could be served with process for a cause of action unrelated to his brief presence in the state.
ii.                       A resident of a forum state is amenable to service of process, whether or not is present in the state (Milliken v Meyer)
b.         This power limited in certain situations:
i.             When π coerces a Δ into the state fraudulently in order to serve process à most courts would find this service invalid.
ii.                       Immunity of Parties and Witnesses – when nonresidents are present in the state only for a judicial proceeding, or are passing through a state on their way to a judicial proceeding à most courts find them immune from service of process.
                                        2.   Domiciled in the State            
a.         Most state courts grant in personam jx over persons who are domiciliaries of the state, even when the Δ is not physically present within the state when served with process.
b.         Domicile = the place where a person maintains her permanent home.
i.             The place a person has chosen through presence (even for a moment), coupled with the intention to make that place her home.
ii.                       Note: If a person lacks capacity (e.g., an infant), domicile is chosen by law.
c.         Generally, a US citizen is subject to personal jx in the US even when domiciled abroad.
i.             States have not enacted rules or laws allowing jx based solely on citizenship, making the scope of this basis of jx unclear.
                                        3.   Consenting to Jurisdiction
a.         Virtually every state provides for in personam jx based on Δ’s consent
b.         Two Types of Consent:
i.             Express Consent
                                                                            1.By Contract – advance consent in the event a suit is brought
                                                                            2.By Appointment of an Agent to Accept Service of Process – a contract is formed which determines the extent of the agent’s power and, thus, the extent of the jx conferred.
ii.                       Implied Consent
                                                                            1.By engaging in certain activities (specifically those for which the state has substantial reason to regulate), it may be found that the Δ designated a state official as his agent for service of process.
a.                   Hess v Pawloski – The Supreme Court upheld statutes that use such implied consent to subject a nonresident motorist to jx in the state where he has an accident.
c.         Voluntary Appearance
i.             A Δ may subject himself to in personam jx if making a voluntary appearance without challenging personal jx.
ii.                       SPECIAL APPEARANCE (FRCP §12(b)(2))
                                                                            1.A Δ may avoid this by first making a special appearance to specifically object to the court’s exercise of

ion of its laws.” – Hanson v Denckla
i. EXAMPLES of established minimum contacts:
                                                                                                                                          1.MI residents enter into franchise agreement with FL corp. The contract provided that payments be sent to FL, and that FL law would govern any dispute. Δs’ contact with FL resulted from their purposeful availment of that state (BK v Rudzewicz)
                                                                                                                                          2.When Δ manufactures widgets and markets to residents of a particular state, anyone there injured by products shipped to that state may bring suit b/c Δ purposefully availed themselves of the market in that state (International Shoe v Washington)
ii.         EXAMPLES of not established minimum contacts:
                                                                                                                                          1.Communications between Δ corp and π insurance policy holder continued after her move to FL, but this is not sufficient b/c Δ had no choice – relied solely on π’s unilateral decision to move. (Hanson v Denckla)
                                                                                                                                          2.NY father agreeing to give child custody to mother, who moves to CA. Court found father acted in the interest of family harmony, and could not be said to have purposefully availed himself of the benefits and protections of CA law (Kulko v Superior Court).
                                                                                                                                          3.Δ sold car in NY, and the car was in an accident in OK. The only basis for jx was that Δ knew that any vehicle sold could be driven anywhere. This was not purposeful availment (WW VW Corp. v Woodson).