On February 25, 2014, the Supreme Court decided Walden v. Fiore, No. 12-574. The unanimous opinion reversed the Ninth Circuit’s holding that Nevada had specific personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant who had known the alleged harm would affect residents of Nevada.
Walden is the latest in a string of recent Supreme Court decisions that have curtailed attempts to expand personal jurisdiction. Prior to this recent activity, the Supreme Court had not significantly addressed personal jurisdiction for almost a quarter century, since the Court issued a splintered decision in Asahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., Solano Cty., 480 U.S. 102 (1987). During the 2010 Term, however, the Supreme Court decided two cases that effectively limited the ability of state courts to assert personal jurisdiction over foreign defendants: Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations v. Brown and J. McIntyre Machinery v. Nicastro. Earlier this year, the Court decided Daimler AG v. Bauman, which addressed whether the in-state contacts of a corporate subsidiary can be imputed to a foreign parent corporation for purposes of exercising general jurisdiction over the parent, even though the parent does not itself conduct any business in the forum State. The Supreme Court held that the subsidiary’s in-state contacts could not support general jurisdiction over the parent corporation.
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