Agenda for 17th Class. Name plates out Personal Jurisdiction: International Shoe General and Specific Jurisdiction Challenging jurisdiction McGee; Hanson v Denkla Next Class Yeazell, 103-112 Questions to think about / Writing assignment Briefly summarize World Wide Volkswagen
Questions to think about (continued)
There were four defendants in the original action. Which of them challenged jurisdiction? What if anything, did the U.S. Supreme Court decide about jurisdiction over each of the four defendants. If there were some defendants for whom the U.S. Supreme Court did not rule on personal jurisdiction, how would you argue that the trial court had jurisdiction over them? How would you argue that the trial court did not have jurisdiction over them?
Would the case have come out differently if the Robinsons had gotten into an accident in New Jersey and sued in a New Jersey court, but the facts were otherwise the same?
Suppose the Robinsons had purchased their Audi in California from Pacific Audi in Torrance, had gotten into an accident in California, and sued Audi, Volkswagen of America, Pacific Volkswagen (the regional distributor, based in Nevada) and Pacific Audi in a California court. Would the California court have jurisdiction over all, some, or none of the defendants? Note that there is a passage in the opinion which directly addresses this question. Is it dicta?
Judge chooses witnesses to question and questions them herself
Judge chooses experts
Judge chooses documents to request
Just sequence of hearings
No duplication of testimony between discovery and trial
Judicial control over sequence
Coaching of witnesses not allowed
No transcript of depositions / trial
De novo appellate review
Judges selected right out of law school
Judges promoted through bureaucratic process
If the Supreme Court had not decided to change the rules in International Shoe, would jurisdiction have been proper under the prior rules? If your answer is “yes,” why do you think the Supreme Court changed the rules? If you answer is “no,” why was the outcome under the new rules better?
Yeazell pp. 86ff. Qs 1b, 3
Court which has general jurisdiction over a defendant can hear any case against the defendant
Even if case has nothing to do with forum
Bases for general jurisdiction
Citizenship/incorporation, residence, presence, quasi-in-rem (but no longer constitutional)
Corporation with lots of contacts: headquarters, large plant or office, etc. But not clear how large contacts need to be
Do not confuse with “court of general jurisdiction”
Court of general jurisdiction = non-specialized trial court, such as LA Superior Court
See FRCP 4(k)(1)(A).
Jurisdiction only over cases related to contacts
Most cases we will read for class
In rem can be thought of as specific jurisdiction
Consent can also be thought of as specific jurisdiction
In court where sued
Make 12(b)(2) motion or state equivalent
“Special appearance” means defendant appears in court solely to challenge jurisdiction
Otherwise, appearance in court could be construed as consent to jurisdiction
Only possible where defendant does not have assets in forum
So plaintiff would have to enforce judgment in state where defendant has assets
Enforcing judgment in another state requires separate suit in that state
But Full Faith & Credit Clause of US Constitution requires state to respect judgment of another state, IF THE STATE WHICH RENDERED THE JUDGMENT HAD JURISDICTION
Defendant does not appear in court where sued
Default judgment is entered against defendant
When plaintiff goes to enforce judgment in state where defendant has assets, defendant raises lack of personal jurisdiction as defense
Very risky, because if enforcing court decides the original court had jurisdiction, defendant cannot then challenge judgment on merits
McGee v International Life (1957). Yeazell p. 89.
Franklin (CA resident) purchased life insurance by mail from out-of-state insurer. He died, and insurer refused to pay. Beneficiaries sued insurer in California.
Held: California courts can constitutionally exert jurisdiction, because contract “was delivered in California, the premiums were mailed from there and the insured was a resident of that State when he died.”
Hanson v Denkla (1958). Yeazell p. 90
Mrs. Donner (PA resident) created a trust in Delaware, with a Delaware bank as trustee. Later she moved to Florida. After she died, potential beneficiaries filed suit in Florida over the administration of the trust
Held. Florida courts cannot constitutional exert jurisdiction because:
Defendant “has no office in Flroida and transacts no business there… no solicitation of business in that State either in person or by mail.”
“The unilateral activity of [Mrs. Donner] … cannot satisfy the requirement of contact with the forum state.”
For jurisdiction, defendant must “purposefully avail itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state, thus invoking the benefits and protection of its laws.”