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Personal Jurisdiction

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Xiang Li

on 16 May 2016

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Transcript of Personal Jurisdiction

Personal Jurisdiction
The concept of personal jurisdiction
Origin & development
Territorial jurisdiction
Judicial practice

In personam jurisdiction Traditional bases
Pennoyer v. Neff
Presence within the jurisdiction
Domicile & Residence

In personam jurisdiction
Modern practice

International shoe co. v. Washington
The minimum contacts test
Purposeful availment
Fair play and substantial justice
Specific jurisdiction vs. General jurisdiction
In personam jurisdiction
Statute authorization
Due Process clause
Long-arm statutes
Tortuous acts
Federal jurisdiction over parties
Territory for service
Manner of service
Jurisdiction challenges
Instructor Xiang Li
Personal jurisdiction is
the power of a court over the parties
in the case, referring to whether the court has jurisdiction to decide a case between the particular parties, or concerning the property, before it.
Personal jurisdiction is jurisdiction over the persons or entities involved in the lawsuit. One way to think about personal jurisdiction is to ask the following question: “What right does a court have to determine the rights of the parties involved in the action?” In other words, the question of whether a court has personal jurisdiction over a person involves the question as to
whether it would be fair for the court to issue a judgment against that person
Power of court
Personal jurisdiction is defined as the power of a court to hear and determine a lawsuit involving a defendant by virtue of
the defendant's having some contact with the place where the court is located
, which gives a court the authority to make decisions binding on the persons involved in a civil case.
The concept of personal jurisdiction has its origin in the idea that the power of the King vests in his Scepter.
The King could not exercise power over persons or property located outside of his kingdom.

Slowly this was incorporated into law, but problems arose in cases where property owners could not be sued because they had left the kingdom or had died and therefore were not present within the kingdom at the time they were being sued. To solve this problem, the courts created another type of jurisdiction,
called quasi in rem
, that is, jurisdiction over the land itself, even if the person who owned the land was not in the country. However, this jurisdiction was limited to the settlement of debts owed by the owner of the land.
In the United States, the exercise of personal jurisdiction by a court must
both comply with Constitutional limitations, and be authorized by a State statute
The restrictions on personal jurisdiction originate from the Constitution, which means the exercise of jurisdiction by a state or federal court must meet the requirement of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, as the clause is interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court from time to time. Generally speaking, the 14th Amendment provides two requirements on the application of personal jurisdiction: substantive due process, procedural due process
Interaction with subject matter jurisdiction
Before a court can decide a case,
it must have jurisdiction over the parties as well as over the subject matter
In order for a court to have jurisdiction, it must have both subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction. In other words, it must have jurisdiction
not only to decide the kind of case before it, but also jurisdiction to decide a case between the particular parties, or concerning the property
, before it.
If the court does not have jurisdiction over the parties or things, the court
must dismiss the case
Personal jurisdiction is
the court’s authority to require someone to come into its authority
, while subject matter jurisdiction is the court’s authority to hear a specific kind of claim.
Regardless of what type of claim it is, whether it is a claim brought by a plaintiff, a counterclaim brought by a defendant, or a cross claim brought by a co-defendant, the court must
have jurisdiction over both the parties or things and over the subject matter of the claim
in order to properly exercise its authority over the case.
Personal jurisdiction refers to
a court's jurisdiction over the parties to a lawsuit
, as opposed to subject matter jurisdiction, which is jurisdiction over the law and facts involved in the suit.
If a court does not have personal jurisdiction over a party,
its rulings or decrees cannot be enforced upon that party
, except by comity, that is, to the extent the sovereign that does have jurisdiction over the party allows the court to enforce them upon that party.
Substantive Due Process
The court must have power to act, either upon given property, or on a given person so as to subject him to personal liability. This is the requirement of substantive due process.
Substantive due process can be explained as a limitation on the power of the court to act and exercise power over property or a person or entity. The "substantive due process" inquiry involves an examination of the contacts between the state in which the court has jurisdiction and the defendant or property.
The essence of substantive due process is that it must not be fundamentally unfair for the court to exercise personal jurisdiction over the defendant. It must be fair that the defendant be hailed into the jurisdiction in which the court sits and will determine the defendant’s rights and responsibilities.
Substantive due process: Example
Bob lives in Washington state. He has never crossed the state borders, has never done any business outside of Washington state, has never conversed about business on the telephone with anyone outside of Washington state, and he has never purchased anything manufactured outside of Washington state. Bob is involved in a motor vehicle collision on a local road in Washington state. The other person in the collision has filed a summons and complaint against Bob with a trial court in Vermont. Bob has never had any contact with Vermont, has never been in Vermont, and certainly does not want to have to travel three thousand miles to defend himself in a Vermont court. This is an extreme example of a situation in which the Vermont court would not have personal jurisdiction over Bob. It would be fundamentally unfair for Bob’s rights and liabilities to be determined by a court in a jurisdiction in which he has had no contact and to which he does not consent to jurisdiction.
Procedural Due Process
The court must have given the defendant adequate notice of the action against him, and an opportunity to be heard. This is a requirement of procedural due process.
Procedural due process requires that the defendant receive adequate notice of the pending action and an opportunity to be heard.
The Fourteenth Amendment
Both substantive due process and procedural due process are imposed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This dual requirement indicates us that when ascertaining whether or not to have right personal jurisdiction over a particular case, a court (state or federal) must check each of two aspects.
First of all, the court must make sure that it has the requisite power to issue a binding decision which can force the defendant to do or not do something or take away some of his property;
Second, the court must try its best to assure the defendant is given the full opportunity to defend himself during the process of trial.
Territorial jurisdiction
Originally, jurisdiction over parties in the United States was determined by strict interpretation of the geographic boundaries of each state's sovereign power. The authority of the court to issue orders to persons present within the territory comes from the sovereign power of the government. The court's authority allows it to reach all residents of a state, including those who are outside the state for a short period and out-of-state residents who enter the state even briefly. Three types of jurisdiction developed, collectively termed territorial jurisdiction because of their reliance upon territorial control: in personam jurisdiction, in rem jurisdiction, and quasi in rem jurisdiction. Some sources refer to all three types of territorial jurisdiction as personal jurisdiction, since most actions against property (in rem jurisdiction) bear, in the end, upon the rights and obligations of persons. Others continue to recognize the traditional distinction between personal jurisdiction and jurisdiction over property.
There are three different kinds of jurisdiction which a court may exercise over the parties – one of these three must be present for the case to go forward.
In personam jurisdiction
In personam jurisdiction, or jurisdiction over the defendant’s "person," gives the court power to issue a judgment against her personally. Thus all of the person’s assets may be seized to satisfy the judgment, and the judgment can be sued upon in other states as well.
In personam jurisdiction referred to jurisdiction over a particular person (or entity, such as a company). In personam jurisdiction, if held by a state court, permitted that court to rule upon any case over which it otherwise held jurisdiction. Under territorial jurisdiction, pure in personam jurisdiction could only be established by serving notice upon the individual while that individual was within the territory of the state.
In rem jurisdiction
In rem jurisdiction, or jurisdiction over a thing, gives the court power to adjudicate a claim made about a piece of property or about a status.
In rem jurisdiction referred to jurisdiction over a particular piece of property, most commonly real estate or land. Certain cases, notably government suits for unpaid property taxes, proceed not against an individual but against their property directly. Under territorial jurisdiction, in rem jurisdiction could be exercised by the courts of a state by seizing the property in question. Since an actual tract of land could not literally be brought into a courtroom as a person could, this was effected by giving notice upon the real property itself. In rem jurisdiction was thus supported by the assumption that the owner of that property, having a concrete economic interest in the property, had a duty to look after the affairs of their property, and would be notified of the pending case by such seizure. In rem jurisdiction was limited to deciding issues regarding the specific property in question.
Examples: An action to quiet title to real estate, or an action to pronounce a marriage dissolved.
In quasi in rem jurisdiction
In quasi in rem jurisdiction, the action is begun by seizing property owned by (attachment), or a debt owed to (garnishment) the defendant, within the forum state. The thing seized is a pretext for the court to decide the case without having jurisdiction over the defendant’s person. Any judgment affects only the property seized, and the judgment cannot be sued upon in any other court.
Quasi in rem jurisdiction involved the seizure of property held by the individual against whom the suit was brought, and attachment of that property to the case in question. This form of territorial jurisdiction developed from the rationale of in rem jurisdiction, namely that seizure of the property was reasonably calculated to inform an individual of the proceedings against them.
Once a valid judgment was obtained against an individual, however, the plaintiff could pursue recovery against the assets of the defendant regardless of their location, as other states were obligated by the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution to recognize such a judgment. Violations by a rogue state could be checked via collateral attack: when a plaintiff sought recovery against a defendant's assets in another state, that state could refuse judgment on the grounds that the original judgment was invalid.
Judicial practice
Before a court can exercise power over a party, the constitution requires that the party have certain minimum contacts with the forum in which the court sits.
Regardless of which type of jurisdiction over the parties is involved, a court may not exercise it unless the defendant has some kinds of requisite connections with the state in which the court sits.
Easy situation
When the proposed defendant resides in and is present in the state in which the court is sitting, the question has posed few problems. The power is assumed to exist because each state has sovereign control over all things and persons within its borders. In those cases the question becomes whether jurisdiction has been obtained in compliance with proper procedural requirements and with adequate notification. But there is no doubt that a state has power to govern any person or corporation present and any property located in its territory.
But, the real difficult problem is how a court can extend its personal jurisdiction over persons out of the state in which it sits. Although the federal Constitution contains a Full Faith & Credit Clause, which means a state must treat the decision made by another state’s court as it made by its own court, a decision without proper personal jurisdiction will definitely be challenged by the losing party and not be recognized by other states. Put it more straightforward, even if a court can try a case and render a judgment over an out of state defendant upon whom no required personal jurisdiction exists, the judgment can not take into force anywhere else outside the territory of the state in which the court sits, because all other states’ courts will regard it as a violation of Constitution and deny to enforce it.
Supreme Court's interpretation
As a result, a court must check whether it has right personal jurisdiction over defendant before deciding to accept a case or not. But, what requirements must a court meet to obtain the proper right to govern an out of state defendant? The 14th Amendment is a restriction instead of authorization clause, which only tells us not to exercise personal jurisdiction in improper way and does not tell us when or how we can exercise personal jurisdiction properly. So, we must rely on the federal Supreme Court’s interpretation on the 14th Amendment from time to time.
Pennoyer v. Neff
Facts: Mitchell brought suit against Neff to recover unpaid legal fees. Mitchell published notice of the lawsuit in an Oregon newspaper but did not serve Neff personally. Neff failed to appear and a default judgment was entered against him. To satisfy the judgment Mitchell seized land owned by Neff so that it could be sold at a Sheriff’s auction. When the auction was held Mitchell purchased it and later assigned it to Pennoyer. Neff sued Pennoyer in federal district court in Oregon to recover possession of the property, claiming that the original judgment against him was invalid for lack of personal jurisdiction over both him and the land. The court found that the judgment in the lawsuit between Mitchell and Pennoyer was invalid and that Neff still owned the land. Pennoyer lost on appeal and the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Issue: Can a state court exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident who has not been personally served while within the state and whose property within the state was not attached before the onset of litigation?
Pennoyer v. Neff
Analysis: Here the Supreme Court of the United States is distinguishing between suits in personam, and in rem. An in personam suit is a suit against a person, whose purpose is to determine the personal rights and obligations of the defendant. An in rem action, meanwhile, is an action where jurisdiction pertains to property. Thus the court reasoned that constructive service is sufficient to inform parties of action taken against any properties owned by them within the forum state, because property is always in possession of the owner, and seizure of the property will inform the owner of legal action taken against him. As a result, a court may enter a judgment against a non-resident only if the party 1) is personally served with process while within the state, or 2) has property within the state, and that property is attached before litigation begins. In the instant case, the Oregon court did not have personal jurisdiction over Neff because he was not served in Oregon. The court’s judgment would have been valid if Mitchell had attached Neff’s land at the beginning of the suit. Mitchell could not have done this because Neff did not own the land at the time Mitchell initiated the suit. The default judgment was declared invalid. Therefore, the sheriff had no power to auction the real estate and title never passed to Mitchell. Neff was the legal owner.
Pennoyer v. Neff
Rule: No state can exercise direct jurisdiction and authority over persons or property outside its territory. Every state possesses exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty over persons and property within its territory; therefore, the courts of that state may enter a binding judgment against a non-resident only if he is personally served with process while within the state, or, if he has property within the state, if that property is attached before litigation begins.

Two exceptions: The first exception is status, which means even absent service within the state, a state court could determine the status of one of its citizens toward a non-resident. This exception bore principally on divorce cases. The second exception is consent, which means non-residents who had no property in the sate were nevertheless subject to its jurisdiction if they had consented to its exercise.
Presence within
the jurisdiction
Presence, i.e., being served with a copy of the summons and complaint while physically present in the forum jurisdiction, can definitely establish personal jurisdiction. The physical presence of a defendant in the forum is a sufficient basis for acquiring jurisdiction over him, no matter how brief his stay might be.
A court gains personal jurisdiction over a person who is served with process within the court’s jurisdiction, regardless of whether the person lives within the jurisdiction or is just visiting.
The authority of every tribunal is necessarily restricted by the territorial limits of the State in which it is established. Process from the tribunals of one State cannot run into another State, and summon parties there domiciled to leave its territory and respond to proceedings against them. Thus, presence within the state was originally the chief, if not sole, basis for personal jurisdiction.
Presence within the jurisdiction
Jurisdiction may be exercised over an individual by virtue of his presence within the forum state. That is, even if the individual is an out-of-state resident who comes into the forum state only briefly, personal jurisdiction over him may be gotten as long as service was made on him while he was in the forum state.
Example: John and Cathy were married in Delaware and moved to New York a year later. Eleven years after being married, John and Cathy decided to separate. Cathy moved to Alabama and then filed for divorce in Alabama state court. A few weeks later, John visited Alabama on business. When he arrived at his wife’s house after spending some time with his children, John was served with an Alabama court summons and a copy of the divorce petition. John then returned home to New York. Despite his objections, the Alabama court obtained jurisdiction over John simply because he was served with process while in Alabama.
Presence within the jurisdiction
Transient jurisdiction is based on service within the forum of a nonresident defendant passing through the state, and has been upheld by the Supreme Court in Burnham v. Superior Court, 495 U.S. 604 (1990).
Today, presence continues to be a constitutionally valid method of getting jurisdiction, even where the individual is an out-of-state resident who comes into the forum state only briefly as long as service is made on the person while he is in the forum state, the entire case probably may be tried in the forum state, even though the defendant then leaves the forum state and has no other contacts with it.
Presence within the jurisdiction
The rule is that as long as the defendant voluntarily travels to the forum state, and is served while present there, that state will have personal jurisdiction over him in virtually all instances, even though the defendant may have no other contacts with the state at all apart from the visit on which he was served. An extreme example is even service on an airplane flying over the forum state has been held valid, on the theory that persons in the plane were present in that state.
But, please take care that if the defendant was involuntarily in the forum state at the time of service, for example because he was forcibly brought there, this rationale would presumably not apply, so jurisdiction would probably be a violation of due process.
Domicile & Residence
A defendant is subject to the personal jurisdiction of her home state. “Home state” may be defined:
For individuals by residence, citizenship and domicile. In Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S 457 (1940), the Supreme Court upheld the validity of personal jurisdiction based on domicile even though the defendant was absent from the state at the time.
For corporations by the state of incorporation or where the corporation conducts its principal operations.
Jurisdiction may be exercised over a person who is domiciled within the forum state, even if the person is temporarily absent from the state. A person is considered to be domiciled in the place where he has his current dwelling place, if he also has the intention to remain in that place for an indefinite period.
Domicile alone is a basis for exercising jurisdiction over an absent domiciliary, i.e., a person may always be sued for all claims, regardless of where they arise, in their state of permanent residence or in the case of a corporation, the state in which it is incorporated.
The rational for allowing jurisdiction based on domicile is quite clear: “A state which accords privileges and affords protection to a person and his property by virtue of his domicile may also exact reciprocal duties.”
However, the Supreme Court granted a restriction on the personal jurisdiction based on domicile. The Court noted the defendant still had to be served out of state in a way reasonably calculated to give him actual notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard. As a result, most courts have held that they have jurisdiction based on domicile only if they have been given this by a statute.
Some states allow jurisdiction to be exercised on the basis of D’s residence in the forum state, even though he is absent from the state. A person may have several residences simultaneously.
Since a person may have several residences, but only one domicile, this is a looser ground for jurisdiction than domicile. The rational of the residence basis is also plausible. The argument that the forum state grants certain privileges and protection to the property owner and is thus entitled to exert jurisdiction in return, would apply almost as strongly to the resident as to the domiciliary.
The Supreme Court has not yet passed on the due process validity of jurisdiction based solely on residence, so this remains presumptively a valid method of gaining jurisdiction.
Home State
Consent to personal
A defendant who has not been personally served in the jurisdiction can nevertheless voluntarily appear and submit himself to jurisdiction. In such cases defendant is said to have "consented" to jurisdiction.
The United States legal system is an adversarial system. Civil suits cannot be initiated by third parties, but must be filed by the aggrieved party who seeks redress. Generally, the action is initiated in the jurisdiction where the event occurred, where the defendant can be served or where the parties have agreed to have the case located. The filing of a complaint or prayer for relief is a voluntary action by the person aggrieved, and as a necessity of this request, the person seeking relief consents to be bound by the judgment of the court. The doctrine of consent is also extended to defendants who attend and litigate actions without challenging the court's personal jurisdiction. Consent may also derive from a pre-litigation agreement by the parties, such as a forum selection clause in a contract.
Consent to personal jurisdiction: Examples
Example 1: P, who does not reside in Ohio or have any other contacts with Ohio, brings suit against D in Ohio. By filing the suit in Ohio, P will be deemed to have consented to Ohio’s jurisdiction. D may then counterclaim against P. Even if P dismisses his own suit, his consent to the action will be binding, and the Ohio courts will have personal jurisdiction over him on the counterclaim.

Example 2: The plaintiff corporation has its principal place of business in Florida. The defendants are residents of Iowa. The plaintiff has brought a cause of action against the defendants in a Florida federal court, claiming that the defendants defaulted under a construction equipment lease. Contained in the signed lease was a paragraph that stated, “The Lessee designates Joe Smith of 12 Main Street, Jupiter, Florida, as agent for the purpose of accepting service of any process within Florida.” The defendant did not know Joe Smith. The plaintiff commenced the action by filing in the federal court in Florida a summons and complaint in which the plaintiff claimed the defendants failed to make three consecutive payments on the lease. Two copies of the summons and complaint were delivered to Joe Smith, who on the same day mailed one of the copies to the defendants with a letter stating that he had been served as the defendants’ agent for service of process in Florida. The plaintiff also informed the defendants by certified mail of the service upon Joe Smith. Even though the defendants did not personally know Joe Smith, the appointment of Joe Smith as the defendants’ agent for service of process within Florida is permissible. Parties to a contract may agree in advance to the jurisdiction of a given court, to permit notice to be served by the opposing party, or even to waive notice altogether.
Consent to personal
The consent may be express, implied, or due to the making of a general appearance. Even if a party consents to jurisdiction through contract or agreement, such consent may not be valid. The United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has ruled that consent clauses will be presumed valid only in the absence of fraud, overreaching, grave inconvenience, or violation of the forum’s public policy. Unequal bargaining power between parties is a factor that may render the consent ineffective.
Express consent can be made either before or after suit is filed, and suffices to support jurisdiction without reference to other contacts with the forum. This is often done as part of a commercial contract between the parties. Some contracts go further than just an agreement to submit to the jurisdiction of a particular court. They obligated each party to litigate in one particular court. Such forum selection clauses will be enforced, provided that they are fundamentally fair. But, there is an important exception. In cases involving title to land, courts will proceed only if the land is located in the jurisdiction. In such cases, consent of the parties is insufficient.
Consent to personal jurisdiction
Certain state statutes recognize the doctrine of implied consent, by which a defendant is said to have impliedly consented to the jurisdiction of a state over him by virtue of acts which he had committed within the state.
A good case in point is the on-resident motorist statute, by which a state can legislate that a nonresident motorist using its highways be deemed to have appointed a local official as his agent to receive service of process in any action growing out of the use of the vehicle within the state. However, the state must provide actual notice to the nonresident defendant. For example: P is a resident of the forum state. D, not a resident of the forum state, is driving his car in the forum state, and has a collision with P’s car. Even if D has no other contacts with the state, a non-resident motorist statute will probably be in force in the state, and will probably give the forum state’s courts jurisdiction over a tort suit by P against D.
Sometimes, a party’s voluntary appearance in an action is sufficient by itself to support jurisdiction. If a suit is brought seeking personal liability over a defendant, his appearance in the court to contest the case on the merits constitutes consent to the court’s jurisdiction, even if jurisdiction would not otherwise have been valid. Such an appearance on the merits is called a general appearance.
Personal jurisdiction is generally waivable, so if a party appears in a court without objecting to the court's lack of jurisdiction over it, that objection is forfeited.
When a nonresident defendant objects to a state’s personal jurisdiction over her on due process grounds, she must preserve such objection or risk waiving it. Waiver need not be express. It is enough that a party act in a way which is incompatible with the party’s argument that the forum lacks a basis for asserting personal jurisdiction over her.
Defendant will waive her challenge to personal jurisdiction if she either fails to include it in a motion to dismiss made on other grounds, or fails to otherwise raise the matter by motion or pleading. Today, most states, as well as the federal system, no longer require a defendant to make a special appearance for the purpose of contesting jurisdiction, separate and apart from any other grounds on the merits of the case. Defendant does not prejudice her motion to dismiss by joining with it other grounds for dismissal.
A very common way for a party to consent to jurisdiction is by waiving objection on the basis of lack of personal jurisdiction or by failing to object on that ground in a timely fashion. Most jurisdictions have rules setting forth time periods by which a party must object to personal jurisdiction and in what form the party must object. Under FRCP Rule 12, a defendant normally has 20 days after being served with the summons and complaint to file an answer or to object to jurisdiction. Rule 12(b)(2) allows the defendant to object to jurisdiction over the person by motion. Rules 12(g) and 12(h)(1) provide that an objection not raised is waived.
Example: Plaintiff brought action against defendants in federal court and served defendants with a summons and complaint. Defendants included objection to personal jurisdiction in their original answer. Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint containing a new count. Defendants did not object to jurisdiction regarding the new count. Because the defendants failed to object, the defendants waived lack of jurisdiction as a defense, even as to the additional count.
Following Pennoyer, extreme applications of territorial jurisdiction revealed imperfections in the doctrine, and societal changes began to present new problems as the United States' national economy became more integrated by increasingly efficient multi-state transportation technology and business practices.
We should understand its historical background. Actually, this opinion did not invent anything new; it represents rather the first time that the U.S. Supreme Court had enunciated a coherent, national standard for the exercise of jurisdiction by state over non-residents. The idea that a sovereign state had exclusive and complete power over everything and everyone within its borders, but not outside them, wasn’t new, and was similar to how the international law worked at the time.
Therefore, the Supreme Court reached an important conclusion: process from the tribunals of one State can not run into another state. As a result, in order to obtain the justification of governing foreign-state residents, service of process within the state was sufficient for jurisdiction. This requirement becomes the basis for what has come to be known as “transient jurisdiction” (obtaining jurisdiction by serving a defendant when he was temporarily physically present in the state). This seems a little ridiculous, but it should be deemed as a struggle to overcome the defects of the power-based personal jurisdiction principle, which is followed by all state and federal courts of the U.S. for almost one century.
As a matter of fact, the various states of the U.S. were not independent and fully sovereign nation-states. The states were bound by the Constitution to give full faith and credit to the judgments of the courts of its sister states, which put some limitations on state power. These limitations were increased by the passage of the 14th Amendment after the Civil War, which allowed the direct challenge of judgments that had been rendered without proper jurisdiction. More mobility of people could be expected between that states than between countries, which increased the chances that one state’s citizen would come under the jurisdiction of another state. So, a more loose standard was needed that would allow states some power over non-residents without offending the power of other states. Obviously, the opinion has become obsolete soon after it was announced.
Difficulties in applying Pennoyer territorial jurisdiction
International Shoe Co.
v. Washington
Facts: International Shoe Company was incorporated in Delaware and had its principal place of business in Missouri. The company employed Washington residents to solicit orders there, who reported directly to the company’s main office in Missouri. The state of Washington sued International Shoe to collect unemployment compensation tax upon salaries defendant had paid to its Washington employees, and International Shoe challenged personal jurisdiction in Washington.

Issue: Is a corporation not chartered within a state subject to that state’s jurisdiction if it has certain minimum contacts with the state?
International Shoe Co.
v. Washington
Analysis: Minimum contacts with the forum state can enable a court in that state to exert personal jurisdiction over a party consistent with the Due Process clause. A casual presence of a corporation or its agent in a state in single or isolated incidents is not enough to establish jurisdiction. Acts of agents of the corporation, because of the nature, quality, and circumstances of their commission, may be deemed sufficient. Consent may be implied from the corporation’s presence and activities in the state through the acts of authorized agents. International Shoe had conducted “systematic and continuous” business operations in Washington. A large volume of interstate business for the defendant was created through it’s agents within the state and the corporation received the benefits and protection of Washington’s laws. International Shoe had established agents in the state permanently. Since the activities carried on by defendant corporation in Washington were systematic and continuous rather than irregular or casual, the defendant received the benefits and protection of the laws of the state and is subject to jurisdiction there.
Rationale: While the Court upheld in personam jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant based on systematic and continuous contacts with the state, it said “Due process requires only that in order to subject a defendant to a judgment in personam, if she be not present within the territory of the forum, she have certain minimum contacts with it such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” The rational of the Supreme Court is that a defendant should understand that her activities within the state will have an impact there, that those activities may lead to controversies and lawsuits there, and that the state has a right to enforce the orderly conduct of affairs within its borders by adjudicating disputes that arise from such in-state activities. The defendant who deliberately chooses to take advantage of the benefits and protections of the laws of a state will not be considered unexpected when that state holds her to account in its courts for her in-state acts.
International Shoe Co. v. Washington
International Shoe Co. v. Washington
Rule: The Supreme Court articulated a new test of determining whether personal jurisdiction exists over a nonresident defendant who cannot be found and served within the forum state: whether the defendant has certain minimum contacts with the forum state, such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.
International Shoe Co. v. Washington
Impact: In the modern era, the reach of personal jurisdiction has been expanded by judicial re-interpretation and legislative enactments. Under the new and current doctrine, a state court may only exert personal jurisdiction over an individual or entity with "sufficient minimal contacts" with the forum state such that the particular suit "does not offend 'traditional notions of fair play and justice." The "minimum contacts" must be purposefully directed towards the state by the defendant. This jurisdiction was initially limited to the particulars of the International Shoe Co. v. Washington holding, that is to jurisdictional inquiries regarding companies, but was soon extended to apply to all questions of personal jurisdiction. When an individual, or entity, has no "minimum contacts" with a forum State, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits that State from acting against that individual, or entity. The lack of "minimum contacts" with the owner of property also constitutionally prohibits action against that property even when the property is located within the forum state.
Even if D has the requisite "minimum contacts" with the forum state, the court will not exercise jurisdiction if considerations of "fair play and substantial justice" would require making D defend in the forum state so unreasonable as to constitute a due process violation. But in most cases, if D has the required minimum contacts with the forum state, it will not be unreasonable for the case to be tried there.
Step Two
Besides focusing on the defendant’s contacts with the forum, the jurisdictional inquiry takes account of a number of other factors that bear together on whether the exercise of jurisdiction in the state is reasonable. Under this heading, a variety of actors can be considered: (a) The interest of the state in providing a forum to the plaintiff; (b) The interest of the state in regulating the activity involved; (c) The burden of defense in the forum on the defendant; (d) The relative burden of prosecution elsewhere on the plaintiff; (e) Whether the defendant’s activity in the forum is systematic and continuous; (f) The extent to which the claim is related to the defendant’s local activities; (g) Avoidance of multiplicity of suits and conflicting adjudications.
If jurisdiction in the case is in personam, the court may not exercise that jurisdiction unless D has "minimum contacts" with the state in which the court sits. In brief, the requirement of minimum contacts means that D has to have taken actions that were purposefully directed towards the forum state.
For examples: D sold goods in the state, or incorporated in the state, or visited the state, or bought property in the state, etc. Without such minimum contacts, exercise of jurisdiction would violate D’s Fourteenth Amendment federal constitutional right to due process.
Step One
The toughest problem in applying the minimum contacts test has been defining the quality an nature that makes a contact sufficient to support jurisdiction, many cases have relied on the requirement that the defendant must have purposely availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its law. This requirement emphasizes that the defendant must have made a deliberate choice to relate to the state in some meaningful way before she can be made to bear the burden of defending there.
The International Shoe’s approach has generated a two-stage analysis for determining whether the exercise of jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant is proper. The first stage looks to the purposeful availment requirement. If that is satisfied, the analysis turns to questions of reasonableness.
The minimum contacts test
Courts of a state may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant if she has such minimum contacts with the state that it would be fair to require her to return and defend a lawsuit in that state.
The modern way for a court to obtain personal jurisdiction over a "foreign"(out of state) defendant is if the defendant has the requisite minimum contacts with the state. Even if the defendant is served outside the confines of the jurisdiction, the court may have personal jurisdiction if the defendant has sufficient contact with the state. The rationale for this is that if the defendant has sufficient contact with the state, the defendant can reasonably anticipate the possibility of being hailed into court in that state. It is not clear what the level of these "contacts" must be for personal jurisdiction over a foreign defendant to apply. The Supreme Court has stated merely that obtaining personal jurisdiction over a defendant based on its contacts with the state must not “offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Contacts do not, however, have to be physical.
The Tastee Corporation (“Tastee”) is a Delaware corporation. Its principal offices are in Dover, Delaware. Tastee is a franchise-based corporation that allows franchisees to run standardized Tastee restaurants. All contracts entered into between Tastee and franchisees provide that the franchise relationship is established in Dover, that the contract is governed by Delaware law and that all monthly fees and all correspondence be sent to Tastee’s principal offices in Dover. District offices monitor the franchisees and report to the principal offices.

John and Brian entered into a franchise agreement with Tastee to operate a Tastee restaurant in Connecticut. John and Brian are both Connecticut residents. Eventually, John and Brian become delinquent in making their monthly payments to Tastee. Tastee initiates a cause of action against John and Brian in federal court in Delaware. John and Brian move to dismiss the complaint on the basis that the federal court in Delaware lacks personal jurisdiction over them because they are Connecticut residents and because Tastee’s claim did not arise within Delaware.

John and Brian’s motion to dismiss will be denied because they have intentionally created substantial connections with Delaware. “Jurisdiction is proper . . . where the contacts proximately result from actions by the defendant himself that create a ‘substantial connection’ with the forum State. . . . Thus where the defendant ‘deliberately’ has engaged in significant activities within a State . . . or has created ‘continuing obligations’ between himself and residents of the forum . . . he manifestly has availed himself of the privilege of conducting business there, and because his activities are shielded by ‘the benefits and protections’ of the forum’s laws it is presumptively not unreasonable to require him to submit to the burdens of litigation in that forum as well.”
Just because a defendant has contacts with a state does not necessarily mean that the interests of due process are satisfied. “Whether due process is satisfied must depend rather upon the quality and nature of the activity in relation to the fair and orderly administration of the laws which it was the purpose of the due process to insure.” Factors the court may consider are:
(a) Whether the contacts are substantial: The more contacts a defendant has with a forum state, the more likely that due process concerns are satisfied. How much business a corporation does in a state and how much money is generated is an example of how to determine whether contacts are substantial.
(b) Whether the contacts are purposeful: If a defendant has purposely established contacts with the forum state, the court likely has personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The United States Supreme Court has said that “the constitutional touchstone remains whether the defendant purposefully established ‘minimum contacts’ in the forum State.”
(c) Whether the contacts are “systematic and continuous”: The more a defendant’s contacts with a forum state are systematic and continuous, the more likely the court can maintain personal jurisdiction over him. All contacts, however, do not need to be systematic and continuous – this is just one of the factors the court will explore. A single contact, depending on its size and consequences, may be all the court needs to find a basis for personal jurisdiction.
(d) Whether the contacts and the underlying cause of action are related: The less of a relationship that exists between the defendant’s contacts with the forum state and the underlying cause of action, the less likely it is that a court will sustain personal jurisdiction over the defendant. In other words, if there is a lack of a relationship between the contacts and the underlying cause of action, the plaintiff has a greater burden to prove that the court has the requisite personal jurisdiction.
(e) Whether witnesses and evidence are readily or at least somewhat conveniently available: If access to witnesses and evidence is inconvenient, the court is less likely to sustain personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
(f) Whether the forum is interested in the action: The more interested a forum is in the action, the more likely it is to sustain personal jurisdiction over the defendant. For example, states have strong interests in adjudicating matters that involve real estate within their own borders, but not as great an interest in adjudicating matters that involve only personal property.
“Once it has been decided that a defendant purposefully established minimum contacts within the forum State, these contacts may be considered in light of other factors to determine whether the assertion of personal jurisdiction would comport with ‘fair play and substantial justice.’ . . . Thus courts in ‘appropriate case[s]’ may evaluate ‘the burden on the defendant,’ ‘the forum State’s interest in adjudicating the dispute,’ ‘the plaintiff’s interest in obtaining convenient and effective relief,’ ‘the interstate judicial system’s interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution of controversies,’ and the ‘shared interest of the several States in furthering fundamental substantive social policies.’ . . . These considerations sometimes serve to establish the reasonableness of jurisdiction upon a lesser showing of minimum contacts than would otherwise be required.”
Even if the defendant has not intentionally or deliberately established contacts with the state, if the nature of the defendant’s business is such that it’s reasonably foreseeable that contacts with the forum state will be made, personal jurisdiction over the defendant by the forum state may be established. What can be considered “reasonably foreseeable,” however, still must be decided on a case by case basis. The foreseeability that is critical to due process analysis is not the mere likelihood that a product will find its way into the forum State. Rather, it is that the defendant’s conduct and connection with the forum State are such that he should reasonably anticipate being hailed into court there. . . . The Due Process Clause, by ensuring the "orderly administration of the laws," . . . gives a degree of predictability to the legal system that allows potential defendants to structure their primary conduct with some minimum assurance as to where that conduct will and will not render them liable to suit.
Example: Bo and Luke purchased a new car from General Lee, Inc., in New York. Bo and Luke resided in New York. Because Uncle Jessie needed the boys back home, Bo and Luke decided to move back to Alabama. While on their way, driving through Virginia, another car collided with Bo and Luke’s car, causing a fire from which Bo and Luke sustained serious injuries. Bo and Luke brought a product liability action against General Lee, Inc., in state court in Virginia, and also joined the car’s manufacturer, importer and distributor, National General Lee & Co. National General Lee & Co. is incorporated and has its business offices in New York, and it distributes automobiles to retailers like General Lee. General Lee is also incorporated and has its business offices in New York. The National General Lee & Co. and General Lee, Inc., have moved to dismiss the complaint on the basis of lack of personal jurisdiction. Bo and Luke can produce no evidence that either National General Lee & Co. or General Lee, Inc., conduct any business in Virginia, sell any automobiles or ship any automobiles to Virginia, or advertises in Virginia. There is also no evidence that any automobile sold by either defendant has ever entered Virginia, except for Bo and Luke’s car. Even though it is reasonably foreseeable that an automobile sold by the defendants may find its way into Virginia, such remote foreseeability is not enough to establish personal jurisdiction.
Dramatic change
Having sufficient dealings or affiliations with the forum jurisdiction which make it reasonable to require the defendant to defend a lawsuit brought in the forum state.
Hence, a defendant who has never set foot in California may nevertheless be subject to valid personal jurisdiction so as to be compelled to defend a lawsuit in California provided that he has minimum contacts with the forum state such that compelling him to appear and defend in the forum does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.
There are four principles of the minimum contacts test:
Jurisdiction is permissible when the defendant's activity in the forum is continuous and systematic and the cause of action is related to that activity.
Sporadic or casual activity of the defendant in the forum does not justify assertion of jurisdiction on a cause of action unrelated to that forum activity.
A court may assert jurisdiction over a defendant whose continuous activities in the forum are unrelated to the cause of action sued upon when the defendant's contacts are sufficiently substantial and of such a nature as to make the state's assertion of jurisdiction reasonable. ("general jurisdiction")
Even a defendant whose activity in the forum is sporadic, or consists only of a single act, may be subject to the jurisdiction of the forum's courts when the cause of action arises out of that activity or act. ("specific jurisdiction")
General vs. Specific
What constitutes sufficient "minimum contacts" has been delineated in numerous cases which followed the International Shoe decision.
First, let us examine conducts related to the controversy.
Special jurisdiction: single or isolated activities
In International Shoe, the Supreme Court noted that a corporation’s “single or isolated items of activities in a state . . . are not enough to subject it to suit on causes of action unconnected with the activities there”; in McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., 355 U.S. 220 (1957), the Court addressed the issue of whether a “single or isolated activities” related to the controversy could support personal jurisdiction. The Court answered in the affirmative.
McGee, as the beneficiary of her deceased son’s life insurance policy, sued defendant International Life in California. Defendant was served by mail in Texas, its corporate home. International Life declined to appear in the case and plaintiff obtained a default judgment in California, which she attempted to enforce in Texas. International Life collaterally attacked the judgment, arguing that California did not have personal jurisdiction.
Despite the fact that the defendant conducted virtually no business in California, with the only California policy in force being the decedent’s, the Court nonetheless held that California had validly exercised jurisdiction over the defendant. The Court emphasized the fact that the contract sued upon had a substantial connection to the forum state, as well as California’s strong interest in protecting its citizens.
Specific jurisdiction: sufficient related contacts found
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz [471 U.S. 462 (1985)] demonstrated that not all of the defendant’s contacts related to the controversy must be within the forum. Through negotiation with Burger King’s regional office in Michigan, Rudzewicz and another Michigan defendant obtained a franchise in that state. Defendants failed to make payments, and Burger King brought a federal diversity suit on the franchise agreement in Florida, its headquarters and place of incorporation.
The Supreme Court concluded that personal jurisdiction over Rudzewicz was constitutional, finding that there were enough Florida contacts related to the controversy to satisfy the test. Defendants at times dealt directly with Burger King’s Miami headquarters; they contracted with Burger King to have Florida law govern the franchise agreement; and they promised to send their franchise payments to Burger King’s Florida address. Under the circumstances, the Court refused to attach importance to the fact that Rudzewicz had not been in the forum state.
Specific jurisdiction: insufficient related contacts found
In World-Wide Volkswagen v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980), the Court further refined the minimum contacts test, stating that “critical to due process analysis . . . is that the defendant’s conduct and connection with the forum State as such that he should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.”
In this case, the plaintiffs purchased an Audi from defendant retailer Seaway Volkswagen in New York. Thereafter, while traveling across country in the automobile, they were involved in a collision in Oklahoma, and the gas tank ignited, seriously injuring the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs brought suit in an Oklahoma state court against manufacturer Audi, importer Volkswagen of America, World-Wide Volkswagen and Seaway.
Noting that the only connection of the defendants with Oklahoma was that an automobile sold in New York to New York residents became involved in an accident in Oklahoma, the Court held that Oklahoma courts were without minimum contacts necessary to assert personal jurisdiction. Defendants did not sell cars, advertise, or carry on any other activity in the state. Thus, the Court reasoned that the conduct of the retailer and wholesaler was not such as to cause them to anticipate being sued in Oklahoma.

General jurisdiction
Second, let us examine contacts unrelated to the controversy that are of such a nature as to justify suit against defendant in the current controversy.
Recently, courts have begun to distinguish between specific and general jurisdiction. If general jurisdiction is justified, the defendant is subject to suit on any claim in the forum. Specific jurisdiction, on the other hand, gives rise to jurisdiction only for claims related to the jurisdictional contact with the state. In order to assert general jurisdiction there must be substantial forum related activity on the part of the defendant. The threshold for satisfying minimum contacts is higher than in specific jurisdiction cases. For a natural person, general jurisdiction is available in the state of his domicile. For a corporation, it may be subject to general jurisdiction in its state of incorporation or in which its headquarters are located, or in which they conduct substantial activity.
General jurisdiction
Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, 465 U.S. 770 (1984), presented the situation where a nonresident defendant has contacts with the forum state that are both related and unrelated to the controversy. Keeton sued Hustler Magazine in federal court in New Hampshire for libel. Hustler Magazine had circulated in New Hampshire copies of the magazine alleged to have libeled plaintiff (related contacts), and it had circulated other issues there in a continuous and systematic fashion (unrelated contacts). While there is some question whether either defendant’s related or unrelated contacts would have alone been sufficient to support personal jurisdiction, the Court found that the aggregate of defendant’s contacts with the forum were proved sufficient.
General jurisdiction
When a non-resident defendant cannot be found and served within the forum, and when the cause of action arises outside of the forum, exercise of personal jurisdiction over the defendant requires contacts with the forum state that are “systematic and continuous.” [Perkins v. Benguet Consolidated Mining Co., 342 U.S. 437 (1952)]. Such standard was met in Perkins, an action arising out of out-of-state activities, where the defendant maintained an office and conducted business in the forum state.

However, in Helicopteros Nacionales de Columbia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408 (1984), the mere fact that the nonresident defendant made regular purchases in the forum state was not held sufficient to justify personal jurisdiction in a case not related to such purchases.
Notions of fair play and substantial justice
In Asahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court, 480 U.S. 102 (1987), the Court interpreted the standard from International Shoe that “maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.’ ”
The plaintiff sued in California over a serious accident there, allegedly caused by failure of the rear tire of plaintiff’s motorcycle. The plaintiff sued the Taiwanese tire manufacturer, which to bring Asahi, a Japanese concern and manufacturer of the tire’s valve assembly, into the case on a theory of indemnification. The Court held that California’s attempt to assert personal jurisdiction over the foreign defendant was unreasonable on balance. The Court found the interests of the plaintiff and the forum state to be “slight,” and Asahi’s burden from defending in California “severe.”
All states have "long-arm statutes." A long-arm statute is a statute which permits the court of a state to obtain jurisdiction over persons not physically present within the state at the time of service.
Long -arm statutes (a reference to the authorization to "reach out" beyond the borders of a state) predicate jurisdiction over nonresidents upon a variety of contacts with the forum, including the transaction of business in the state, the commission of certain acts within the state, e.g., the commission of a tort, ownership of property, entering into a contract.
Long-arm statutes
Why necessary?
Every state has statutes, called “long-arm” statutes, which extend the state’s jurisdiction over foreign (that is, out of state) defendants who do not consent to jurisdiction. Satisfying the issues of due process discussed above is not enough to establish personal jurisdiction. The requirements of due process and the long-arm statutes must be satisfied before personal jurisdiction may be exercised. The long-arm statutes may not violate due process as established by the Constitution.
Please keep in mind that it is not enough that an exercise of jurisdiction is constitutionally authorized; there must also be a statute authorizing jurisdiction. It means even if it is constitutionally permissible for a court to exercise personal jurisdiction in a case, that court may still lack the power to call the defendant before it.
Why? That’s because the due process clause does not actually confer any jurisdiction on state courts; it only defines the outer bounds of permissible jurisdictional power. In other words, constitutionally permissible extraterritorial jurisdiction is not self-executing; a court needs authority granted by some statute or rule to exercise it. In state court, such authority is usually in the form of a long arm statute, which operates as enabling legislation.
While the Pennoyer and later Shoe doctrines limit the maximum power of a sovereign state, courts must also have authorization to exercise the state's power; an individual state may choose to not grant its courts the full power that the state is Constitutionally permitted to exercise. Similarly, the jurisdiction of Federal courts (other than the Supreme Court) are statutorily-defined. Thus, a particular exercise of personal jurisdiction must not only be permitted by Constitutional doctrine, but be statutorily authorized as well. Subsequent to the development of the Shoe Doctrine, states have enacted so-called long-arm statutes, by which courts in a state can serve process and thus exercise jurisdiction over a party located outside the state. The doctrine of International shoe applies only in cases where there is no presence in the forum state.
Legislation of long-arm statutes
Some long arm statutes authorize jurisdiction whenever it would not violate the Constitution, which means the legislature has granted the courts the full scope of personal jurisdiction permissible under the due process clause. In such states, the only question that need be considered is the constitutionality of jurisdiction. If the court has the constitutional power to assert jurisdiction, it automatically has the statutory power to do so as well.
Example: California’s statute authorizes its courts to exercise jurisdiction “on any basis not inconsistent with the Constitution of this state or of the United States.”

Legislation of long-arm statutes
Most states, however, have not given their courts blanket authority to exercise personal jurisdiction to the limits of due process. Instead, these states designate specific acts as warranting the exercise of jurisdiction in their long arm statutes. With such a statute, one must consider: (a) whether the defendant’s activities fall within the terms of the statute and (b) if so, whether the exercise of jurisdiction in this case is constitutional.
Example: Connecticut General Statutes § 33-929(f)
Every foreign corporation shall be subject to suit in this state, by a resident of this state or by a person having a usual place of business in this state, whether or not such foreign corporation is transacting or has transacted business in this state and whether or not it is engaged exclusively in interstate or foreign commerce, on any cause of action arising as follows:
(1) Out of any contract made in this state or to be performed in this state;
(2) out of any business solicited in this state by mail or otherwise if the corporation has repeatedly so solicited business, whether the orders or offers relating thereto were accepted within or without the state;
(3) out of the production, manufacture or distribution of goods by such corporation with the reasonable expectation that such goods are to be used or consumed in this state and are so used or consumed, regardless of how or where the goods were produced, manufactured, marketed or sold or whether or not through the medium of independent contractors or dealers; or
(4) out of tortuous conduct in this state, whether arising out of repeated activity or single acts, and whether arising out of misfeasance or nonfeasance.
Tortuous acts within the state
Most states have passed legislation that allow courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant who has committed a tortuous act within the state.

The Minnesota long-arm statute, for instance, permits Minnesota courts to exercise jurisdiction over any person in a cause of action arising from “the commission of a tortious act within this state” by that person or his agent.
D, an out-of-stater, gets into a fight with P at a bar in P’s home state. P wants to bring a civil battery claim against D in the state. If, as is likely, the state has a long-arm provision governing tortious acts within the state, P will be able to get personal jurisdiction over D in the battery action.
In-state acts with in-state consequences
Long-arm statutes based on in-state tortious acts allow jurisdiction if the plaintiff shows at the outset merely that it is reasonably likely that the defendant has committed a tortious act within the state.
Out-of-state acts with in-state consequences
Some "in-state tortious acts" long-arm clauses have been interpreted to include acts done outside the state which produce tortious consequences within the state. In a products liability situation, a vendor who sells products that he knows will be used in the state may constitutionally be required to defend in the state, if the product causes injury in the state.
Tortious acts within the state
Minimum contacts: corporations
Deciding whether an individual is within the personal jurisdiction of a court has not been difficult to determine. Difficulty has arisen when courts have had to decide whether corporations were subject to personal jurisdiction. Corporations have a legal existence and a legal identity but not a tangible existence. They are subject to lawsuits involving tort and contract. As corporations became national economic entities, the courts of a state had difficulty finding personal jurisdiction if the corporation was not located within that state.
Courts established that a corporation is always subject to the jurisdiction of the courts in the state where it was incorporated. States also require corporations to file written consents to personal jurisdiction before they can conduct business within the state. Other states require that either the corporation designate an agent to accept legal process (the legal documents initiating a lawsuit) in the state or that the state attorney general be authorized to accept process for all out-of-state corporations doing business within the state.
Domestic corporations
Any action may be brought against a domestic corporation, one which is incorporated in the forum state. In other words, a corporation is subject to general jurisdiction in its state of incorporation. In addition, a corporation is also subject to general jurisdiction in the state in which its headquarters are located, if different from its state of incorporation.
Foreign corporations
A state is much more limited in its ability to exercise jurisdiction over a foreign corporation (i.e., a corporation not incorporated in the forum state).
The forum state may exercise personal jurisdiction over the corporation only if the corporation has "minimum contacts" with the forum state "such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.’" Because of the ease of modern communication and transportation, it is usually not unfair to require a corporation to defend itself in a state in which it conducts business activity. The threshold of minimum contacts varies. Where the action arises out of or is related to the defendant's contacts with the state, the quantity of contacts necessary to establish personal jurisdiction may be truly minimal. In such cases the nature and quality of the contact are the determining factors.
Corporations: use of agents
Sometimes an out-of-state company does not itself conduct activities within the forum state, but uses another company as its agent in the state. Even though all business within the state is done by the agent, the principal (the foreign corporation) can be sued there, if the agent does a significant amount of business on the foreign company’s behalf.
Corporations: Operation of an Internet Website that reaches in-staters
A hot question today is whether the operation of an Internet Website that’s hosted outside the forum state, but that’s accessed by some in-staters, constitutes minimum contacts with the state. The main issue is, did the Website operator intended to "target" residents of the forum state? If yes, there are probably minimum contacts; if no, there probably aren’t.
Passive site that just posts information
So if an out-of-state local business just passively posts info on the Web, and doesn’t especially want to reach in-staters or conduct transactions with them, this probably doesn’t amount to minimum contacts, even if some in-staters happen to access the site.
Example: D operates a local jazz cafe in a small town in Kansas. He puts up a Website with a schedule of upcoming events, and uses a trademark belonging to P on the site. P, based in New York, sues D in N.Y. federal court for trademark infringement. Even though a few New Yorkers may have accessed D’s site, this won’t be enough to constitute minimum contacts with N.Y., because D wasn’t trying to attract business from N.Y.
Conducting transactions with in-staters
But if D runs an "e-commerce" site that actively tries to get in-staters to buy stuff from the site, and some do, that probably will be enough to constitute minimum contacts with the state, at least where the suit relates to the in-staters’ transactions.
And if the Web-based transactions with in-staters are "systematic and continuous," then these contacts will even be enough for jurisdiction in the state on claims not relating to the in-state activities.
Corporations: Claims unrelated to in-state activities
We generally assumes that the claim relates to D’s in-state activities. Where the cause of action does not arise from the company’s in-state activities, greater contacts between D and the forum state are required. The in-state activities in this situation must be "systematic and continuous."
Example: D is a South American corporation that supplies helicopter transportation in South America for oil companies. D has no contacts with Texas except: (1) one negotiation there with a client, (2) the purchase by D of 80% of its helicopter fleet from a Texas supplier, (3) the sending of pilots and maintenance people to Texas for training, and (4) the receipt out-of-state of two checks written in Texas by the client. D is sued in Texas by the Ps (Texas residents) when they are killed in South America while being transported by D.
Held, the Ps cannot sue D in Texas. Because the Ps’ claims did not arise out of D’s in-Texas activities, those Texas contacts had to be "systematic and continuous" in order to be sufficient for jurisdiction. The contacts here were too sparse for that.
Corporations: product liability
The requirement of "minimum contacts" with the forum state has special bite in products liability cases. The mere fact that a product manufactured or sold by D outside of the forum state finds its way into the forum state and causes injury there is not enough to subject D to personal jurisdiction there. Instead, D can be sued in the forum state only if it made some effort to market in the forum state, either directly or indirectly.
Example: The Ps are injured in Oklahoma in an accident involving an allegedly defective car. They had purchased the car in New York while they were New York residents. The Ps sue in Oklahoma. D1 is the distributor of the car, who distributed only on the East Coast. D2 is the dealer, whose showroom was in New York. Neither D1 nor D2 sold cars in Oklahoma or did any business there.
Held, neither D may be sued in Oklahoma. Neither D had made efforts to "serve directly or indirectly" the Oklahoma market. Any connection between the Ds’ product and Oklahoma was merely an isolated occurrence, completely due to the unilateral activity of the Ps.

Corporations: product liability
But if the out-of-state manufacturer makes or sells a product that it knows will be eventually sold in the forum state, this fact by itself is probably enough to establish minimum contacts. However, if this is the only contact that exists, it may nonetheless be "unreasonable" to make D defend there, and thus violate due process.
Example: P is injured while riding a motorcycle in California. He brings a products liability suit in California against, inter alia, D, the Taiwanese manufacturer who made the cycle’s rear innertube. D "impleads" X, the Japanese manufacturer of the tube’s valve assembly, claiming that X must pay D any amount that D has to pay to P. X has no contacts with California, except that X knew that: (1) tires made by D from X’s components were sold in the U.S., and (2) 20% of the U.S. sales were in California. The P-D suit has been settled but the D-X case is to be tried.
Held, X had minimum contacts with California, because it put its goods into a stream of commerce that it knew would lead many of them to California. But despite these minimum contacts, it would be "unreasonable and unfair" – and thus a violation of due process – for California to hear the case, because of the burden to X of having to defend in California, the slenderness of California’s interest in having the case heard there, and the foreign relations problems that would be created by hearing an indemnity suit between two foreign corporations.
Minimum contacts: corporations
As the case in the above example shows, even where minimum contacts exist, it will be a violation of due process for the court to hear a case against a non-resident defendant where it would be "unreasonable" for the suit to be heard. The more burdensome it is to the defendant to have to litigate the case in the forum state, and the slimmer the contacts (though "minimum") with the forum state, the more likely this result is to occur.
Corporations: suits based on contractual relationship
The requisite "minimum contacts" are more likely to be found where one party to a contract is a resident of the forum state. But the fact that one party to a contract is a resident does not by itself automatically mean that the other party has "minimum contacts" – the existence of a contract is just one factor to look at.
Where the contract itself somehow ties the parties’ business activities into the forum state, this will be an important factor tending to show the existence of minimum contacts. For instance, if one party is to make payments to the other, and the latter will be receiving the payments in the forum state, this stream of payments coming into the state is likely to establish minimum contacts and thus to permit suit against the payer.
Example: D runs a fast food restaurant in Michigan under franchise from P, which has its headquarters in Florida. The contract requires D to make royalty payments to P in Florida. Held, P may sue D in Florida. The fact that the payment stream comes into Florida is an important factor, though not by itself dispositive, in the court’s conclusion that there were minimum contacts with Florida.
Corporations: suits based on contractual relationship
Where there is a contract between the parties to the suit, the fact that the contract contains a choice of law clause requiring use of the forum state’s law will also be a factor (though not a dispositive one) tending towards a finding of minimum contacts. (On the facts of the above example, the franchise contract stated that Florida law would be used. This was a factor helping lead the court to conclude that D had minimum contacts with Florida.)
In suits relating to a contract, as with any other kind of suit, the minimum contacts issue always boils down to this: Could the defendant have reasonably anticipated being required to litigate in the forum state? The fact that the other party was a resident of the forum state, the fact that a stream of payments went into the forum state, and the fact that the forum state’s law was to be used in the contract, are all non-dispositive, but important, factors tending towards the conclusion that the out-of-stater had minimum contacts with the forum state.
Foreign corporation: minimum contacts
Usually, a corporation will be found to have the requisite "minimum contacts" with the forum state only if the corporation has somehow voluntarily sought to do business in, or with the residents of, the forum state.
Example 1: minimum contacts found
D has no activities in Washington except for the activities of its salesmen, who live in the state and work from their homes. All orders are sent by the salesmen to the home office, and approved at the home office. The salesmen earn a total of $31,000 per year in commissions. Held, the company has minimum contacts with Washington.
Example 2: minimum contacts found
D is a Texas insurance company. It does not solicit business in California. However, it takes over, from a previous insurance company, a policy written on the life of X, a California resident. D sends X a new policy; X sends premiums from his California home to D’s out-of-state office. X dies; P (the beneficiary under the policy) is a California resident. P sues D in California for payment under the policy. Held, D has minimum contacts with California, and can thus be sued in personam there in a suit by P for payment on the policy.
Example 3: minimum contacts not found
D is a Delaware bank, which acts as trustee of a certain trust. S, the settler of the trust, is a Pennsylvania resident at the time she sets up the trust. Years later, she moves to Florida. Later, her two children, also Florida residents, want to sue D in Florida for a judgment that they are entitled to the remaining trust assets. D has no other contacts with Florida. Held, D does not have minimum contacts with Florida, and therefore, cannot be sued in personam there.
The key idea is that D will be found to have minimum contacts with the state only if D has purposely availed itself of the chance to do business in the forum state. Thus in Example 2 above, the insurance company offered a policy to someone who it knew was a resident of the forum state. In Example 3 above, by contrast, the trustee never voluntarily initiated business transactions with a resident of the forum state or otherwise voluntarily did business in the state – it was only S’s unilateral decision to move to the forum state that established any kind of connection with that state, so minimum contacts did not exist.
Class actions & the First Amendment cases
An "absent" plaintiff in a class action that takes place in the forum state may be bound by the decision in the case, even if that plaintiff did not have minimum contacts with the forum state.

The First Amendment imposes certain limits on the substantive libel and slander laws of the states (e.g., that no "public figure" may recover without a showing of "actual malice"). But this special first amendment protection does not affect the personal jurisdiction requirements for libel and slander suits – no more extensive contacts between D and the forum state must be shown in defamation suits than in any other type of case.
Federal jurisdiction over parties
Personal jurisdiction in the federal courts is governed by rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 4 directs each federal district court to follow the law on personal jurisdiction that is in force in the state courts where the federal court is located. Federal courts may use state long-arm statutes to reach defendants beyond the territory of their normal authority. With cases that can only be brought in federal court, such as lawsuits involving federal securities and antitrust laws, federal courts may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant no matter where the defendant is found.

To determine whether a federal court has personal jurisdiction over the defendant, you must check three things:
Territory for service: Whether service took place within the appropriate territory;
Manner of service: Whether the service was carried out in the correct manner; and
Amenability: Whether the defendant was "amenable" to the federal suit.
Territory for service
As a general rule, in both diversity actions and federal question cases, service of process may be made only: (1) within the territorial limits of the state in which the District Court sits; or (2) anywhere else permitted by the state law of the state where the District Court sits. FRCP 4(k)(1)(A).
Example 1: within the territorial limits of state
P sues D in a federal action in the Northern District of Ohio. Whether the suit is based on diversity or federal question, service will be territorially valid if D is served with process anywhere within the state of Ohio, since this is the state where the district court sits. This is true even if service is physically made in the Southern District of Ohio.
Example 2:
out-of-state service based on state law
Under the New Jersey long-arm statute, if a non-resident is involved in a motor vehicle accident inside New Jersey with a New Jersey resident, the New Jersey resident may serve the non-resident outside New Jersey, and the New Jersey courts may then exercise personal jurisdiction. P, a New Jersey resident, and D, a California resident, have an accident in New Jersey. P may sue D in diversity in federal District Court for New Jersey; P may serve D with process in California, because the long-arm of the state where the district court sits (New Jersey) would allow such service.
100-mile bulge provision
A special 100-mile bulge provision (FRCP 4(k)(1)(B)) allows for out-of-state service sometimes, even if local law does not permit it. When the provision applies, it allows service anywhere (even across a state boundary) within a 100-mile radius of the federal courthouse where suit is pending. The bulge provision applies only where out-of-staters will be brought in as additional parties to an already pending action. There are two types of parties against whom it can be used:
Third-party defendant
Indispensable parties
100-mile bulge provision:
Third-party defendants
Third-party defendants (FRCP 14) may be served within the bulge. For example: P sues D in a New Jersey federal district court diversity action. D claims that if D is liable to P, X is liable to D as an indemnitor. The suit is pending in Newark, less than 100 miles from New York City. D may serve X in New York City, even if no New Jersey long-arm statute would allow the suit.
100-mile bulge provision:
Indispensable parties
Indispensable parties: So-called "indispensable parties" – that is, persons who are needed in the action for just adjudication, and whose joinder will not involve subject matter jurisdiction problems – may also be served if they are within the bulge. For example: P sues D for copyright infringement in federal district court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, located in Lexington. D files a counterclaim against P. D wants to join X as a co-defendant to this counterclaim, arguing that P and X conspired to violate D’s copyrights. X resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, located 78 miles from Lexington. If the court agrees that X is required for just adjudication of D’s counterclaim, service on X in Cincinnati is valid, even if the Kentucky long-arm would not allow service there.
Other exceptions
Nationwide service of process: In several kinds of cases, Congress has provided for nationwide service of process. Suits against federal officials and agencies, and suits based on statutory interpleader, are examples of nationwide service.

Foreign defendant not servable in any state: Rule 4(k)(2) allows a federal question suit to be brought against any person or organization who cannot be sued in any state court (almost always because they are a foreigner).
Example: D, a French company, without setting foot in the U.S., solicits business by phone and mail from residents of a large number of states. D does not solicit enough from the residents of any one state to satisfy that state’s long-arm. Therefore, D could not be sued in any state court for a claim concerning its activities. P, a New York investor, brings a suit based upon the federal securities laws against D in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York. Assuming that D can be said to have had minimum contacts with the United States as a whole, the New York federal court will have personal jurisdiction over D for this federal-question claim, because D is not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of any state.
A defendant who is not located in the state where the district court sits may not be served if he does not fall within one of the four special cases described above (servable pursuant to state long-arm, 100-mile bulge, nationwide service or foreign defendant not servable in any state), even if he has the constitutionally-required minimum contacts with the forum. This is true whether the case is based on diversity or federal question.
Example: P, a Connecticut resident, wants to bring a federal diversity suit in Connecticut against D, a New Yorker. The suit involves an accident that occurred in New York. D owns a second home in Connecticut, as well as lots of other real estate there. Assume that this ownership gives him not only minimum contacts but "systematic and continuous" contacts with Connecticut. However, Connecticut has a very narrow long-arm, which would not allow service on D in New York for a Connecticut state action. P will not be able to serve D in New York in his federal action, because none of the special cases is satisfied. This is true even though it would not be a violation of due process for either the Connecticut courts or the federal court in Connecticut to exercise personal jurisdiction over D.
Manner of service
Once you determine that the party to be served lies within the territory described above, you must determine if the service was carried out in the correct manner.

Service on an individual (Rule 4(e)) may be made in any of several ways:
Personal: By serving him personally;
Substitute: By handing the summons and complaint to a person of "suitable age and discretion" residing at D’s residence;
Agent: By serving an agent appointed or designated by law to receive process. (Example: Many states designate the Director of Motor Vehicles as the agent to receive process in suits involving car accidents);
Local state law: By serving D in the manner provided by either: (1) the law of the state where the district court sits, if that state has such a provision, or (2) the law of the state where the person is being served. (Example: P brings an action against D, a resident of California, in New Jersey federal court, and wishes to serve him by certified mail. Service will be possible if either the courts of New Jersey or California allow certified-mail service.)
Service on a corporation
Service on a corporation may be made by leaving the papers with an officer, a managing or general agent, or any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive process for the corporation. FRCP 4(h)(1).

Local state law: As with individuals, service on a corporation may also be made in the manner provided by the local law of (1) the state where the action is pending or (2) the state where the service is made. FRCP 4(h)(1), first sentence.
by mail
Rule 4(d) allows plaintiff to in effect serve the summons and complaint by mail, provided that the defendant cooperates. P mails to D a "request for waiver of service"; if D agrees, no actual in-person service is needed.
Incentives: D is free to refuse to grant the waiver, in which case P must serve the summons by the in-person methods described above. But, if D refuses the waiver, the court will impose the costs subsequently incurred by P in effecting service on D unless "good cause" is shown for D’s refusal. (FRCP 4(d)(2), last sentence.)
Amenability to suit
If D was served in an appropriate territory, and in an appropriate manner, you still have to determine whether D is closely-enough linked to the state where the federal district court sits to make him "amenable to suit" in that court.
Federal question
In federal question cases, most courts hold that D is amenable to suit in their court if jurisdiction could constitutionally be exercised over him in the state courts of the state where the federal court is sitting, even if the state court itself would not (because of a limited long-arm) have jurisdiction.
Example: P sues D for copyright infringement. The suit is brought in the Northern District of Ohio. D’s only contact with Ohio is that he sold 100 copies of the allegedly infringing book in Ohio. The state courts of Ohio, although they could constitutionally take personal jurisdiction over D in a similar state-created claim – libel, for instance – would not do so because the Ohio long-arm is very limited and would not cover any action growing out of these facts. However, the federal district court will hear the federal question copyright claim against D, because P has minimum contacts with the state where the federal court sits.
Rule & Exception
In general, if the defendant is a foreign corporation or resident, most federal courts will exercise jurisdiction over the defendant only if that defendant has minimum contacts with the state where the federal court sits, not merely minimum contacts with the United States as a whole. (Again, as with an out-of-state but not foreign defendant, the federal court will hear the federal question claim even though the state courts might not exercise jurisdiction over the defendant due to a limited state long-arm.)

Narrow exception: If a foreign defendant could not be sued in any state, he may be sued on a federal-question claim in any federal judicial district, assuming that he has minimum contacts with the U.S. as a whole. (FRCP 4(k)(2).) But assuming that the foreign defendant could be sued in at least some state court, the general rule described in the prior paragraph (D must have minimum contacts with the state where the federal court sits, not just with the U.S. as a whole) continues to apply.
Pay attention: In diversity cases, the federal courts exercise only the jurisdiction that is allowed by the statutory law of the state in which they sit. So if the state statutory law does not go to the limits of due process, the federal court will follow suit.
In rem
In rem actions are ones which do not seek to impose personal liability on anyone, but instead seek to affect the interests of persons in a specific thing (or res).
In rem jurisdiction is the power of a court to deal with a thing (e.g. a parcel of land, an automobile, a ship) and to determine its status in relation to the legal rights of all persons known and unknown. I.e., in a proceeding in rem the court exercises its power to determine the status of property and the determination of the court is binding with respect to all possible interest holders in that property.
Examples: Probate court actions; admiralty actions concerning title to a ship; actions to quiet title to real estate or to foreclose a lien upon it; actions for divorce. In all of these types of in rem actions, no judgment imposing personal liability on anyone results – all that happens is that the status of a thing is adjudicated. For example: In a quiet title action, a determination is reached that A, rather than B, is the owner of Blackacre.
Specific performance of land sale contract
One important type of in rem action is an action for specific performance of a contract to convey land. Even if the defendant is out of state and has no connection with the forum state other than having entered into a contract to convey in-state land, the forum state may hear the action. D does not have to have minimum contacts with the forum state for the action to proceed – it is enough that the contract involved in-state land, and that D has received reasonable notice.
Quasi in rem jurisdiction
Quasi in rem actions are actions that would have been in personam if jurisdiction over D’s person had been attainable. Instead, property or intangibles are seized not as the object of the litigation, but merely as a means of satisfying a possible judgment against D.
Quasi in rem jurisdiction is another method for exercising jurisdiction over a defendant, albeit in a limited manner, based on the defendant’s property located within the forum. Quasi in rem jurisdiction can be used to adjudicate personal obligations, not merely rights in the res. However, it binds the defendant only with respect to his interest in the res upon which jurisdiction is based, and thus, the value of a quasi in rem judgment cannot exceed the value of the res.
Quasi-in-rem action: recovery
In a proceeding quasi-in-rem, the court renders a judgment for or against a person but recovery is limited to the value of property that is within the jurisdiction and thus subject to the court's authority. The dispute that gives rise to an action quasi-in-rem may be related to the property or unrelated to it. In an action quasi-in-rem, the property may be used to satisfy any judgment in the action.
Example: P wants to sue D on a contract claim in California state court. The contract has no connection with California, nor does D himself have sufficient contacts with California to allow that state to exercise personal jurisdiction over him. D does, however, own a bank account in California. Putting aside constitutional due process problems, P could attach that bank account as a basis of jurisdiction, and bring a quasi in rem action on the contract claim. If P wins, he will be able to collect only the value of the bank account, and D will not be personally liable for the remainder if the damages exceed the value of the account.
Quasi in rem action: res judicata
Quasi in rem judgments have no res judicata value.
Example: If P wins against D in a quasi in rem action in Connecticut, he cannot in a later suit against D in California claim that the matter has been decided for all time. Instead, he must go through another trial on the merits if he wishes to subject D to further liability.
Possible exception: Some courts hold that if D makes a limited appearance (an appearance that does not confer personal jurisdiction over him) and fully litigates certain issues, he will not be allowed to re-litigate those issues in a subsequent trial. But other courts hold that even here, the first suit will not prevent D from re-litigating the same issues later on.
Quasi in rem jurisdiction:
res judicata
Quasi in rem judgments have no res judicata value.

Example: If P wins against D in a quasi in rem action in Connecticut, he cannot in a later suit against D in California claim that the matter has been decided for all time. Instead, he must go through another trial on the merits if he wishes to subject D to further liability.

Possible exception: Some courts hold that if D makes a limited appearance (an appearance that does not confer personal jurisdiction over him) and fully litigates certain issues, he will not be allowed to re-litigate those issues in a subsequent trial. But other courts hold that even here, the first suit will not prevent D from re-litigating the same issues later on.
Quasi in rem jurisdiction: Shaffer v. Heitner
Quasi in rem jurisdiction over D cannot be exercised unless D had such "minimum contacts" with the forum state that in personam jurisdiction could be exercised over him. This is the holding of the landmark case of Shaffer v. Heitner.
Example: P brings a shareholder’s derivative suit in Delaware on behalf of XYZ Corp. against 28 of XYZ’s non-resident directors and officers. None of the activities complained of took place in Delaware, nor did any D have any other contact with Delaware. P takes advantage of a Delaware statute providing that any stock in a Delaware corporation is deemed to be present in Delaware, allowing that stock to be attached to provide quasi in rem jurisdiction against its owner. Thus P is able to tie up each D’s XYZ stockholdings even though there is no other connection with Delaware.
Held: This use of quasi in rem jurisdiction violates constitutional due process. No D may be subjected to quasi in rem jurisdiction unless he has minimum contacts with the forum state. Here, neither the Ds’ actions nor the fact that those actions related to a Delaware corporation were sufficient to create minimum contacts, so the exercise of jurisdiction was improper.
Shaffer v. Heitner:
Quasi in rem jurisdiction has essentially become obsolete as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shaffer v. Heitner, in which it extended the minimum contacts test to quasi in rem cases. The Court stated that all assertions of state court jurisdiction must be based on “minimum contacts.” The test was not satisfied here where the defendant’s in-state property was “completely unrelated to the plaintiff’s cause of action. Significantly, the Court held that “the presence of the property alone would not support the State’s jurisdiction.”
Quasi in rem jurisdiction after Shaffer
Shaffer basically abolishes the utility of quasi in rem jurisdiction – since quasi in rem is only used where there is no personal jurisdiction, and since the same minimum contacts needed for quasi in rem will suffice for personal jurisdiction, quasi in rem will rarely be advantageous. One big practical effect is that attachment of a third party’s debt to the defendant, or attachment of an insurance company’s obligation to defend and pay a claim, are largely wiped out as bases for jurisdiction.
Example: Harris, of North Carolina, owes $180 to Balk, of North Carolina. Epstein, of Maryland, has a claim against Balk for $300. While Harris is visiting in Maryland, Epstein attaches Harris’ debt to Balk by serving Harris with process in a Maryland suit. Under pre-Shaffer law, this established quasi in rem jurisdiction over the $180 debt, on the theory that the debt goes wherever the debtor goes. If Epstein won, he could require Harris to pay the $180 to him rather than to Balk.
But after Shaffer, the fact that Balk’s debtor happened to be in North Carolina and available for personal service was irrelevant. Since Balk himself did not minimum contacts with Maryland, and thus could not be sued there personally, Shaffer means that a quasi in rem suit based on Harris’ debt to him may also not be heard in Maryland.
Jurisdiction challenges
A defendant may challenge the court’s personal jurisdiction in two ways:
Direct attack: A direct attack involves the defendant’s participation in the lawsuit in order to attempt to prevent the court from reaching the merits of the case. The jurisdictional challenge may be joined with other arguments in support of dismissal. However, direct attack forces the defendant to forfeit part of the protection secured by due process as he experiences the increased burden of defending in a distant and inconvenient forum as soon as he begins participating in the case.
Collateral attack: A defendant who objects to a court’s personal jurisdiction over her and defaults in an action may subsequently bring a collateral attack against the judgment. However, if the defendant participated in the case without objecting to the court’s personal jurisdiction, she cures any defect by waiver. If the defendant did challenge the court’s personal jurisdiction in the first case, she is precluded from re-litigating the question in the judgment-enforcement proceeding.
Jurisdiction challenges:
direct attack
When a person wishes to challenge personal jurisdiction, he or she must take care in appearing before the court in the forum state. If the defendant makes a general appearance, the court will take this to be an unqualified submission to the personal jurisdiction of the court. The defendant waives the right to raise any jurisdictional defects.

To prevent this from happening, a defendant must request a special appearance before the court. A special appearance is made for the limited purpose of challenging the sufficiency of the Service of Process or the personal jurisdiction of the court. If any other issues are raised, the proceeding becomes a general appearance. The court must then determine whether it has jurisdiction over the defendant. If the defendant is found to be within the personal jurisdiction of the court, the issue may be appealed. Some states permit an immediate appeal, whereas others make the defendant raise the issue after the case has been heard on its merits in the trial court.
Direct attack: special appearance
In a "special appearance," D appears in the action with the express purpose of making a jurisdictional objection. By making a special appearance, D has not consented to the exercise of jurisdiction. The federal courts (and the many state courts with rules patterned after the Federal Rules) have abolished the special appearance. Instead, D makes a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction over the parties; making this motion does not subject D to the jurisdiction that he is protesting. FRCP 12(b)(2). However, the right to make a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is waived in the federal system if: (1) D makes a motion raising any of the defenses listed in Rule 12, and the personal jurisdiction defense is not included; or (2) D neither makes a Rule 12 motion nor raises the defense in his answer.
Jurisdiction challenges:
collaterall attack
If D defaults in an action in State 1, she may collaterally attack the default judgment when it is sued upon in State 2. Most commonly, D collaterally attacks the earlier judgment on the grounds that State 1 did not have personal jurisdiction over her, or did not have valid subject
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