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Lawyers and wannabe lawyers like to use Latin words and phrases without always understanding their original meaning.  English, a Germanic language according to the family tree, is peppered with words that are derived from Latin.  Being the conglomeration that it is, English includes some words—egregious comes to mind—that now mean the opposite of their Latin

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Today’s message is a reminder that specific personal jurisdiction is just that – both specific and personal.  That means plaintiffs can’t group plead their way around personal jurisdiction lumping parents and subsidiaries together.  Plaintiffs must identify each defendant’s individual role in causing the alleged harm.  If plaintiffs seek to impute the jurisdictional contacts of one

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When we started seeing a smattering of cases over long-term contraceptive devices used in connection with tubal ligation surgery, we were not surprised.  Plaintiff lawyers have targeted a wide range of contraceptive drugs and devices for decades.  Commentators beyond this Blog have described how this bent affects contraceptive choice and public health.  When we saw

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The Supreme Court’s latest foray into the constitutional thicket of personal jurisdiction, Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway, No. 21-1168 – to decide whether states can force corporations to “consent” to general personal jurisdiction via foreign corporation registration statutes − was orally argued on November 8, 2022.  The transcript is available here.  Since Bexis has been involved (as amicus curiae) in Mallory since the trial court’s favorable decision (which he made sure was on Westlaw and Lexis) was first appealed in Pennsylvania, we thought we’d review the highlights of the oral argument.Continue Reading Mallory Oral Argument – Litigation Tourists’ Last Stand?

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Once again this week we turn to the aridities of personal jurisdiction.  Or is that perhaps a bit … harsh?  After all, last week personal jurisdiction had a rare moment in the public spotlight as a result of SCOTUS oral arguments in a case involving the law of Pennsylvania — our usually-fair-but-not-so-much-in-this-case Commonwealth.  The issue was whether Pennsylvania could condition a corporation’s right to do business in the Keystone State on that corporation’s consent to personal jurisdiction in our overly exciting court system. We’ve written about this consent theory before, and we previewed the SCOTUS case here. If Pennsylvania and other jurisdictions can get away with it, then the Bauman and BMS SCOTUS personal jurisdiction decisions become something very near to dead letters.  It seems that several of the Justices last week thought as much, as their questions evinced deep skepticism about this bogus jurisdiction-via-consent  scheme.  You’ve heard of long-arm jurisdiction statutes, right?  These are strong-arm jurisdiction statutes.  

But predicting SCOTUS rulings is a sucker’s game. 

Meanwhile, press coverage of the SCOTUS arguments was predictably daft. Some commentators bemoaned how rejection by SCOTUS of jurisdictional consent via coercive business registration statutes might make it harder to sue corporations. That is utterly wrong. One can sue the corporation where it is incorporated or headquartered, or where the the events at issue happened. What is unfair about that?  The only real losers would be plaintiff lawyers who apparently think there is a need and a right to sue companies where the plaintiff lawyers are located.  Nothing propinks like propinquity. But no one should shed any tears for lazy and/or cynical forum shopping.

Today’s case, Armstrong v. Atrium Med. Corp., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195231 (E.D. Wash. Oct. 26, 2022), involves a more quotidian personal jurisdiction issue: can a product liability plaintiff drag a foreign parent company into court?  We’ve written about this issue before (here, for example).  Including a corporate parent in a lawsuit can be a nice bit of leverage for a plaintiff.  It is an annoyance. It is unnecessary. Fortunately, courts usually do not smile upon it. 

Continue Reading E.D. Wash. Finds No Personal Jurisdiction Over Swedish Parent Company

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One of the stock P-side responses, in the post-Bauman personal jurisdiction environment, to a jurisdictionally-based motion to dismiss is to seek “jurisdictional discovery” – the more onerous the better – in an attempt both to slow the often-inevitable dismissal and also to drive up the nuisance value of the case.  That’s the main reason that on our personal jurisdiction cheat sheet we note when jurisdictional discovery is denied.Continue Reading Jurisdictional Discovery Is Not Bigger in Texas