Select Page

Civil Procedure I
University of Illinois School of Law
Sharpe, Jamelle C.

A. Has the relevant legislature authorized jurisdiction?
B. Would it be constitutional for the court to exercise jurisdiction in this case?
1. PURPOSE: to prevent a P from suing a nonresident defendant in a state unless that defendant has established a relationship to that state that would reasonably lead her to anticipate being sued there
C. The granddaddy: Pennoyer v Neff (1877)
1. based on international law; basically looking at states as having absolute authority over persons and things located within their boundaries
a. Personal jurisdiction is now protected under due process clause
i. Judgments without jurisdiction are invalid both inside and outside of the rendering state
ii. Direct Appeal in state is now available in rendering state
iii. Collateral attack is still available (was the only option b4 Pennoyer)
b. Full faith and credit need not be given to out-of-state judgments issued without personal jurisdiction
i. Pennoyer limited Full Faith and Credit clause by requiring Due Process
i. Put a limit on frivolous lawsuits
a. Defendant is served with process while present in the state
i. A state’s authority ended at its borders so a person who was not in the state could not be served in personam
ii. HOWEVER jurisdiction was not based on any relationship between the claim and the state –
i. e.g. a suit is filed in UT and the D is served in UT whether the subject matter has to do with UT is irrelevant, the court will have PJ over D
b. Defendant’s property located within the state is attached before the plaintiff commences suit
i. CANNOT GET PJ if the person was not present in the state or if they had no property within the state
c. If a valid statute requires submission to jurisdiction as a condition of doing business in the state
4. PROBLEMS with Pennoyer presence test:
a. How to think about corporations and other entities that might do business in the state but not be physically present
b. What if’s (person is kidnapped and served process – would have jurisdiction; person is involved in car accident and leaves the state – would not have jurisdiction under Pennoyer; also states can have jurisdiction over events that didn’t happen in that state simply because the suit was brought there and the person served there)

D. SOLUTION: International Shoe v Washington (1945)
1. Historically jurisdiction was predicated on physical presence, but now, due process requires only that for in personam jurisdiction he need only have certain minimum contacts:
a. Holding: “but now…due process requires only that in order to subject a defendant to a judgment in personam, if he be not present within the territory of the forum, he have certain minimum contacts with it such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice”
b. Minimum contacts for purposes of personal jurisdiction refer to an act or acts by a defendant who intentionally chooses to interact with a state. In the words of the Court in Hanson v Denckla he demonstrates “purposeful availment” by interacting with a state in such a way as to “invoke the benefits and protection of its laws.” This emphasizes the importance of the intention and the nature of the acts which can be used to satisfy the minimum contacts test.
2. FOUR GUIDELINES for applying minimum contacts test:
i. A defendant is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts in a forum in which its activities have been continuous and systematicand have given rise to the cause of action sued upon
i. E.g. International Shoe: company’s activities in WA were continuous and systematic and resulted in a large volume of business
ii. The sporadic or casual activities of a defendant in a forum, or a single isolated act there, are not enough to subject defendant to suit in the forum on causes of action unrelated to those forum activities.
iii. (general jurisdiction) The continuous activity of a defendant within the forum may be of such nature as to subject the defendant to jurisdiction even upon causes of action unrelated to the forum activity
iv. (specific jurisdiction) A defendant’s sporadic forum activity, even a single act, may suffice under certain circumstances to render him subject to jurisdiction upon claims arising out of that activity
a. REMEMBER: miscellaneous contacts ≠ minimum contacts – the claim must arise out of the contacts
b. There is always somewhere where you can be sued for anything.
i. individuals = state of domicile
ii. corporations = state of incorporation
1. Three part test:
a. Are there minimum contacts?
b. Are the contacts related to the claim?
c. If so, is there “reasonableness”? (fair play and substantial justice)
2. EXTENDING Shoe to thin contacts:
a. McGee v International Life: (1957) J. BLACK: McGee was resident of CA. Had insurance policy from TX company. When his beneficiaries sued in CA, Int’l Life ignored suit and then tried to challenge jurisdiction; SCOTUS said CA had jurisdiction
i. One single deliberate contact can be enough
ii. Int’l Life initiated the contact in California after they bought out McGee’s original insurer and then offered him a new contract – this is the factual hook that establishes jurisdiction
iii. Dicta: there is a “clearly discernible” trend toward expanding state jurisdiction over non-residents and foreign corporations

3. LIMITING principle: purposeful availment(further refinement)
a. Def: when d consciously and voluntarily interacts with people in a state, he assumes the risk that that interaction will subject him to suits filed in that state
b. Hanson v Denckla: (1958) J. Warren suggest a limiting principle of “purposeful availment” of protection, laws, and economy of the forum state
i. In this case neither Mrs. Donner or Hanson (DW trustee) had purposefully availed themselves of Florida laws, economy, protection etc. She just happened to live there (trustee did not cause move and could not stop acting as trustee just b/c she moved).
ii. Distinguished from McGee: Donner had established trust when she lived in PA, she just continued relationship; Hanson had not sought out Donner’s business in FL

4. stream of commerce PLUSand reasonableness
a. World Wide Volkswagen v. Woodson(1980) J. WHITE: Mere foreseeability is not enough; the conduct and contacts must be such that he should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there
i. meaning foreseeability that the car might travel to another state is not enough
ii. Stream of commerce plusit is not enough to simply enter something into the stream of commerce to be held liable wherever it might end up; there has to be a more substantial contact
i. A seller would be subject to PJ in a state where the buyer purchased the item
ii. However, seller cannot be subject to PJ in any state where the buyer takes and uses the item otherwise “every seller of chattels would in effect appoint the chattel his agent for service of process. His amenability to suit would travel with the chattel” (p99)
b. REASONABLENESS (only considered if there are minimum contacts though)
i. Burden on the defendant (burdens on corporate defendants tend to be diluted as compared to burdens on individual defendants)
ii. The state’s interest: what interest does the forum state have in having that litigation in the state in terms of protecting its citizens and corporations?
i. In this case, the injured party had already settled and was out of the picture, so there was little
iii. The plaintiff’s interest (when the interest is not adequately protected by their right to

such that there was grounds for general jurisdiction
b. May have been case of necessity (one theory of the case). Philippines did not have a functioning judicial system after WWII so Ohio might have been the only venue available.
4. Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia v Hall (1983)
a. BLACKMUN: contacts with Texas were for training purposes, or to buy helicopters, CEO took one trip there, and they happened to be paid from Texas banks. Collectively these contacts could not be considered continuous or systematic thus no general jurisdiction
2. Analysis:
a. 1. Does the state long arm statute authorize the court to exercise jurisdiction over the defendant?
b. 2. If there is statutory authority, does applying the statute in the particular circumstances of the case assert jurisdiction beyond that allowed by the Due Process Clause?
3. Gibbons v Brown (bad drivers in Montreal) FL long arm statute does not allow a previous lawsuit in FL to be considered a “contact” for purposes of PJ
a. POLICY (in this case): non-citizens have freedom to use court system in any state (Privileges and Immunities Clause in Article 4) and should not have their lawsuit hanging around their necks no matter where they go
4. State statutes can give state courts LESS jurisdictional authority than the Constitution; don’t want people coming from all over to use the FL courts, want to make sure there is a substantial nexis with FL before letting people use the court system
5. Adam v Saenger (US 1938) D (TX) sued P (CA) in CA; D counterclaimed; P abandoned his claim and D obtained default judgment; D went to TX to have judgment enforced and P claimed no PJ by Cal courts; held: lawsuit was sufficient contact with state
a. distinguishable b/c it was a counterclaim in the same suit whereas Gibbons was years later
1. TRANSIENT JURISDICTION: (TAG – YOU’RE IT! – outside minimum contacts test)
a. If the defendant is served in state, that establishes jurisdiction, even if the claim did not arise there
b. REMEMBER: make sure state long arm statutes also authorize jurisdiction by service!!
2. Burnham v Superior Court(1990) California can exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident who was personally served with process while temporarily in California for a claim that is unrelated to his in-state activities.
a. this case has little precedential value, only persuasive, because the court was split; basically it just upheld a practice that had been around since before Pennoyer
b. SCALIA plus 3: Yes, because jurisdiction based on physical presence has always been the rule. (majority of courts have adopted bc its easier than Brennans)
c. BRENNAN plus 3: Yes, but each case must be looked at individually. In this case, it is because he purposefully availed himself of the protection of the laws of the state of California by being in the state.
d. EXCEPTION: when presence is not voluntary – under Brennan’s view he might not qualify then