The Supreme Court Reins in “Stream of Commerce” Personal Jurisdiction


In the last two Supreme Court cases we have been following this term, the Court took a critical look at the stream of commerce basis for personal jurisdiction and, as we hoped (and expected), ruled in defendants favor in both. We discussed both lower court decisions in our prior post Personal Jurisdiction — A Primer which criticizes those decisions as extreme expansions of corporate personal jurisdiction which potentially could have resulted in product manufacturers being sued anywhere over anything. Fortunately, the Supreme Court also thought both cases went too far – although it appears to have been a closer call in the context of specific jurisdiction.

Goodyear – Stream of Commerce Doesn’t Create General Jurisdiction

In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Ginsburg (who, by the way, authored the dissent in Nicastro), the Court found that the stream of commerce theory was an “inadequate basis for the exercise of general jurisdiction” and limited its application to specific jurisdiction. Goodyear v. Brown, No. 10-76, slip op. (U.S. June 27, 2011). While our earlier post also has a more detailed discussion of specific v. general jurisdiction, here is how the Court explained the distinction in Goodyear. General jurisdiction allows a court to hear any claims in any matter about anything against a defendant because the defendant’s “affiliations with the State are so “continuous and systematic” as to render them essentially at home in the forum State. Slip op. at 2.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Dechert LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Dechert LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.