I. Introduction to Personal Jurisdiction – whether the court has the authority to render a judgment against the parties or against the contested property interest.
A. General Overview – Considerations on where to bring a case
1. Convenience – location of P or D
2. Substantive law is favorable
3. Likelihood of judge/jury decisions, favorable jury pool, ability to enforce a judgment
4. Ease of producing witnesses & evidence
5. Procedural differences (discovery rules)
6. The forum has an interest in enforcing their laws & protecting their citizens
7. Where the accident occurred
B. Traditional Concepts of Jurisdiction
1. The Power Theory (Hostile Nations) – if you can seize the person (in personam) or property (in rem), you can have jurisdiction, but only to the value of the property seized
a. Pennoyer v. Neff, 1877, USSC (attempted quasi-in-rem case) (constitutional basis, no 14th yet)
i. Facts – LS1: P Mitchell-OR, sues D Neff-CA, served by notification, property not attached, judgment for unpaid legal services; D sold Ps land (acquired subsequently) at auction to Pennoyer-OR; LS2: P Neff-CA sues D Pennoyer-OR to recover the land.
ii. Notice and Service was sufficient. Personal service (in personam) in Oregon or seizing initial property (in rem) and publishing in Oregon would have been sufficient. Hostile Nations theory.
iii. The entire object of the action was to determine the legal fee contract rights (in personam); the property was not attached, thus, not brought under the control of the court, service was ineffective because it was an in personam case, and quasi-in-rem jurisdiction was not obtained
iv. Rules: Every state possess exclusive J and authority over persons and property within its territory; no authority if not within boundaries; legitimate to hold property owned by non-citizens to satisfy claims
b. Pennoyer relied on principles of “public law” from the international sphere, thereafter 1868, DP 14th Amendment
c. Hostile Nations – how to be sure citizens will be able to sue foreign entity: post a bond, put up physical property, require in-nation sponsor (predecessor to registered agent)
d. Service within forum requirement – lead to enticement – response Fraudulent Inducement Doctrine
2. In Personam – jurisdiction over the person, personal service of process in the state, the court has the power to issue a judgment against the individual personally; generally by enforcing a payment of damages or an injunction ordering them to act or cease action, assets may be seized to satisfy the judgment
a. Utilizes “Transient Jurisdiction” permits the state to exercise J over D, even if he was present there only a short time (Grace v. Mac Arthur, subject to AK J, served on a plane while flying over the state)
3. In Rem – jurisdiction over a thing, gives the court the power to adjudicate a claim made about a piece of property or about its status. It permits the court to dispose of the property in accordance with the outcome of the litigation, and to “bind the world” regarding the rights to property within its borders. This type of J does not require service upon the individual, only upon the property itself.
4. Quasi in rem – the action is begun by seizing property owned by D (attachment), or a debt owed to D (garnishment), within the forum state. However the action is purely in personam, the substance has nothing to do with the property, but for whatever reason the state lacks the authority to assert personam jurisdiction. Personal service to D is not needed to exercise power over the property within the state. However, there is no authority to assess damages a
sonally or by leaving copies thereof at the individual’s dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein or by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
B. Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co, 1950, USSC “the great case on notice”
1. Rule: In order to properly exercise jurisdiction, a state must give notice to the D. Insufficient notice violates DP, and a court therefore is without J to render a binding decision.
2. How much notice is constitutionally required? The court answers with (3):
a. Verbal Descriptions
b. Vague, descriptive phrases:
i. “Reasonably calculated under all the circumstances to apprise the parties and give them a chance to respond” – Meaning: the would be used by one who really wanted to inform the absentee
ii. “More than a gesture but less than a guarantee” – Meaning: means that a prudent business person would use if it was in his or her interest to inform the absentee
iii. “Means reasonably likely to reach absentee or (if that’s impossible) as likely to do so as any reasonable alternative”
iv. Test: no real test available, matter of degree, need to know the judge as he may come to any decision he wants
v. Test: may look to the world, compare common practice – this test has meaning can go out and find the answer
3. Examples of what is/is not enough