I. Personal Jurisdiction
A. Personal jurisdiction concerns the circumstances under which a court (state or federal) has authority to make decisions binding on these particular parties (enforceable).
B. Constitutional Basis
i. U.S. Constitution Article IV Section 1 – Full faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may be general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
ii. U.S. Constitution Amendment XIV Section 1 – All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
C. Constitutional Limits/Territorial Conceptions
i. Pennoyer v. Neff (1878): Neff’s property is seized in order to pay for legal fees; “The judgment in State court against the plaintiff was void for want of personal service on him.” CB 28 and “The question here respects only the validity of a money judgment rendered in one State…without service of process upon him, or his appearance therein.” CB 34
1. Territorial boundaries
a. “Every State possesses exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty over persons and property within its territory.” CB 28
b. “No State can exercise direct jurisdiction and authority over persons or property without its territory.” CB 29
2. in personam – “against the person”
a. Judgment of the Court creates a personal obligation to pay money or perform some act.
b. Enforced either by attaching and selling any of D’s property (see below) or by ordering a D to perform some act.
c. “If, without personal service, judgments in personam, obtained ex parte against nonresidents and absent parties, upon mere publication of process, which, in the great
c. Coram non judice
i. If the Court does not have proper jurisdiction, then the proceeding is in the presence of one who is not a judge. CB 31
6. Fourteenth Amendment the basis for challenges to state court jurisdiction
a. Due Process Clause
i. Service of process in the forum state
b. Full Faith and Credit Clause
D. Creation of a “Flexible Fairness” test
i. Hess v. Pawloski (1927): Car accident with residents of different States, MA has “implied consent” statute; “The question is whether the Massachusetts enactment contravenes the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” It does not. CB 40-41
1. By operating a motor vehicle, a nonresident appoints the State registrar as his lawful attorney upon whom process can be served and has the same legal force as if D was personally served. MA statute. CB 39-40