MODERATOR: What are the implications of Daimler AG v. Bauman? How will the Court’s decision impact the ability to bring class actions against large, multi-site corporations?
STEVEN ELLIS: There has been a long-term trend that it has become harder for plaintiffs to succeed in certifying national class actions. Daimler is a new piece that contributes to that trend. The court in Daimler drew a clear line between general and specific jurisdiction, and made it clear that the existence of continuous and substantial contact with a forum state is relevant only to specific jurisdiction. If a large national company is not headquartered in California, and is not “at home” here, a California court will not have general jurisdiction over the company, even if the company does business in the state every day. And a California court is not likely to have specific jurisdiction over the claims of class members who live in other states, particularly where the allegedly wrongful conduct emanated from another state and the injury occurred in another state. That means that it is going to be much more difficult to bring a national class action against a large corporation in any state other than the state in which the corporation has its headquarters.
Originally published in California Lawyer on July 7, 2014.
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