Select Page

Civil Procedure I
St. Johns University School of Law
Ruescher, Robert A.

Civil Procedure


Spring 2017

Personal Jurisdiction

PJ: Does this state have the power to make this D appear in its court?

State court limited by the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment
Fed court limited by the Due Process clause of the 5th amendment
PJ is not self-executing. That power must be given to states by the legislature (Long Arm Statutes)

Courts may receive this power through FRCP

4(k)(1)(2): Rarely Used PJ in any federal court if the claim is based on foreign law and no one has jurisdiction
4(k)(1)(C): Nationwide PJ. Congress enactment of statute authorizing juris. over D in this type of case antitrust, securities, bankruptcy, interpleader (Due Process 5th amendment only)

if yes, PJ is okay

4(k)(1)(B): Bulge Rule regardless of juris., applicable if D is a TPD under Rule 14- Joint Tortfeasors and served w/in 100 mi of courthouse

if yes, PJ is okay

4(k)(1)(A) ROAD MOST TRAVELED: if subject to jurisdiction of court of general juris. court has same power as state court (copycat)

General Personal Jurisdiction: CANNOT be based upon a stream of commerce.

P can sue D in that court for ANY claim, even if no connection to the forum

Is it const’l under 14th amendment Due Process Clause?

Pennoyer Traditional Bases:

(1) Did D consent (filing answer, agreeing to forum selection clause, appointing agent for service of process)

(2) was D domiciled there

(3) fairness factors

(4) was D served w/ process in the forum “Tag/Transient” jurisdiction
GJ is proper if D has “continuous and systematic” or “substantial connection” with the forum. D must be “at home” in the forum.

Domicile: if you’re living in the state you can be sued for what you did elsewhere
Tag→ served w/ process in the forum: can get sued in the state you were served in regardless if claim is connected to the forum

DAIMLER (rule replaces international shoe): workers of Mercedez Benz Argentina, a subsidiary of the German based Daimler, sued Daimler for violations of human rights act in California. Ginsburg (9-0) The company’s slim contacts in CA, relative to its other national and international contacts ARE NOT SUFFICIENT to render it “at home” in the state for the purpose of general juris. Subjecting the company to this suit would not be in line w/ the fair play and substantial justice standard of the Due Process 14th. Sotomayer concurred but said case should be decided based solely on whether a company had sufficient contacts w/I the state to establish jurisdiction, w/o considering those contacts in relation to a larger company presence

A court has general PJ over a D corporation if corporation was incorporated or HQ’ed in that state
This case involves General Jurisdiction. There was no specific jurisdiction b/c claim didn’t arise in California, it arose in Argentina
If there are no minimum contacts on exam, pretend there are and go deeper into fairness factors

If there is General PJ, no need to consider if there are FF or Specific PJ

If connection than PJ, no FF needed
If not, is there Specific Jurisdiction

Specific Personal Jurisdiction

– minimum contacts = purposeful availment (“continuous and systematic” activity directed at forum) + Relatedness (P’s claim arises out of activity in the forum) + Fairness Factors
The Statutes that give state courts authority to exercise specific jurisdiction over out of state D’s are Long Arm Statute: NY has CPLR 302

(1) transacts any business in the state

(2) commits a tort in the state except for defamation

(3) commits a tort out of state causing injury except defamation
Is the exercise of SJ constitutional under the 14th amendment? Yes because of 4(k)(1)(A)
International Shoe: apply to any case in which a traditional basis not applicable (got rid of the notion of presence)

A state has PJ if D has such minimum contacts w/ the forum that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice

When a corporation’s activities are continuous

purposeful availment b/c the British corp did not specifically target NJ. Opinion focuses on whether they targeted the area, not whether it was foreseeable the product ended up there. Breyer (2) other justices refused to choose between O’Connor and Brennan b/c there was only one machine sold in NJ and therefore reasoned there to be no stream of commerce into that state [if a greater # were sold (unsure how many) they might have sided w/ Brennan] says there should be a distinction between small and large businesses or if it can be proven that the state was targeted by them. Ginsburg (3) Dissenters adopted Brennan’s view concluding that the British corp in selling to Ohio could anticipate its machines would get to NJ and could possibly be sued there. B/c they targeted the entire US, they could be subject to jurisdiction in any state a product was sold and injured someone. Thinks it is unfair to insulate D (large company) from suit here.
Volkswagen: No PJ b/c car was sold in NY to NY residents. Neither party did business in OK. Too remote a connection. Unilateral activity by P. Introduces 5 fairness factors. Brennan Dissent: when determining its PJ over a non-resident D a court may consider the interest of the forum state in proceeding w/ the case, and the actual burden the D must bear in defending the action in the state, in addition to D’s contacts w/ the state. The state of Oklahoma has a legitimate interest in proceeding w/ the case b/c it involves their traffic laws and defending the action here would not unduly harm the P’s. And the P’s are not wholly unconnected w/ the forum either b/c they sell automobiles which in their nature are mobile and could easily cross to OK