It offends our sensibilities (and sense of self-preservation) when we see a lawsuit in a jurisdiction that is home to neither the plaintiff, nor the defendant, nor any of the activities that gave rise to the claims. Often, the only things the jurisdiction was home to were the plaintiff attorneys and a set of maddeningly pro-plaintiff judges and juries. One would think that a court system and its taxpayers would feel aggrieved at devoting labor and money to resolve disputes for someone else from someplace else, but there are miscreants in the works who manage to ignore the expense side of the equation and instead focus only on the chimerical benefits of litigation tourism or the miscreants’ misplaced sense of self-importance. (Remember, we practice in Philly. We have whiled away many hours in City Hall courtrooms watching Texas lawyers representing Utah plaintiffs suing a New Jersey company, all in front of Center City Philly jurors who would no doubt rather do their jobs, spend time with their children, or discuss the moribund status of the Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, and pretty much any home team here above Little League.) The problem is that the law on personal jurisdiction was perfectly elastic, and the laws of venue and forum non conveniens were all too easily disregarded or distorted.

But at least personal jurisdiction has been set aright by the Supreme Court. When we were in law school, during the era of Duran Duran and Footloose, we were taught that there was personal jurisdiction over a large corporation so long as said corporation had systematic contacts with a jurisdiction – which, being a large corporation, it pretty much always did. Then, in 2014, when we had grudgingly moved on to the Black Keys and Guardians of the Galaxy, the Supreme Court in the Bauman case limited general jurisdiction to corporations that were “at home” in the jurisdiction (usually meaning place of incorporation or principal place of business), and limited specific jurisdiction to cases where the corporation’s suit-related conduct created a substantial connection to the state.

The impact of Bauman was immediate and profound and wholly beneficent. We have had the pleasure on a number of occasions (here and here, for example) of reporting on cases in which the new Bauman jurisdiction architecture slammed shut the gate on plaintiff forum-shopping. This Spring we discussed the Neely case from the Kansas federal district, where the court held that a drug company that registered to do business in Kansas and then actually had the temerity to conduct some business there had not thereby succumbed to general jurisdiction. That was a good result.

Continue Reading Missouri Court Applies Bauman; Merely Doing Business Did Not Show Enough for Personal Jurisdiction

Last July, Bexis blogged about two inconsistent personal jurisdiction rulings in talc litigation. Those rulings created a personal jurisdiction split between a Missouri court and the talc MDL court on whether non-Missouri plaintiffs could sue a non-Missouri defendant in Missouri even if those plaintiffs did not use the product or suffer an injury in

It’s not exactly Groundhog Day, but we are sticking with personal jurisdiction.  Today we’re sliding two states over to Missouri.  Gateway to the West.  Home to Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, Dick Van Dyke, and John Goodman.  Birthplace of the waffle cone and home to the largest beer producing plant in the country.  Unlike Indiana, Missouri

As consumers, and connoisseurs, of personal jurisdiction precedent, we write today to consider the latest jurisdictional mess that has arisen, this time in talc litigation.  Two courts, deciding the same jurisdictional issue on the same set of facts in the same week, have reached diametrically opposed decisions.  The current contretemps concerns “Shimmer” – a minor