Ending The Year With Another Good Personal Jurisdiction Decision

by Reed Smith
Contact

Having already issued our posts on the best and worst cases of 2017, we will resist the temptation to comment on the year as a whole, particularly on the powder keg that is politics.  We will note, however, two non-legal phenomena that we do not like.  First, our collective attention span has gotten shorter, with the “news,” scandal, or development of the minute being partially digested before it is forgotten.  When faced with a longer bit of print, it seems we do not get much past the headline or opening sentence—for those of us who read—before we start itching for something more pithy and less mentally taxing.  That headlines and opening sentences might mislead us is increasingly less of a concern than it should be.  Second, public discourse pretty much stinks, even if you ignore the constant interruptions of television pundits or the maniacal rants of radio monologists.  The (anonymous) comments on seemingly benign stories on sports or science often devolve into personal attacks between the commenters and grammatically challenged pronouncements of intellectual or moral superiority.  Both of these phenomena make us wish for the days when people thought more and argued less, or at least with less venom.  We recall when the first comment on a news item would declare “First!” instead of epithets for the author and/or subject.

Today’s post is best viewed with some historical perspective, not just as short and straightforward decision of a state court, we tapped just yesterday as #9 on the best list. State ex rel. Bayer Corp. v. Moriarty, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2017 Mo. LEXIS 582 (Mo. Dec. 19, 2017), rules on the appeal of a trial court’s denial of a motion to dismiss the claims of non-resident plaintiffs on lack of personal jurisdiction.  The case was brought in Missouri state court against the non-Missouri manufacturer of a contraceptive device, with 85 of 92 plaintiffs not being from Missouri either. Given that our readers do pay attention and can remember thing they have read before, we will not elaborate on how typical of litigation tourism this case looked.  The timing should also ring some bells.  The motion to dismiss was denied in December 2016—well after Bauman and many other strong general and specific personal jurisdiction decisions—and the Missouri Supreme Court allowed an interlocutory appeal in July 2017—after the Supreme Court decision in BNSF but before the Supreme Court decision in BMS (#1 on the best list) and some good Missouri decisions on personal jurisdiction.  The interlocutory appeal also means that the defendant did not have to wait for an adverse trial result involving a non-Missouri resident—perhaps after more burdensome discovery than might have been permitted elsewhere—to have another court consider how 92% of the plaintiffs did not belong in Missouri.

The first argument that the non-resident plaintiffs raised on appeal was that the defendant’s on-going business in Missouri was sufficient to bestow general jurisdiction under pre-Bauman standards.  Even if this were a good argument at the time of the trial court decision, BNSF made clear that “in-state business, [as] clarified in Daimler and Goodyear, does not suffice to permit the assertion of general jurisdiction over claims like [the nonresident plaintiffs’] that are unrelated to any activity occurring in [the forum state].”  2017 Mo. LEXIS 582, *9.  Accordingly, without any need for debate, allegations that the defendant did substantial business in Missouri were not enough to bestow general jurisdiction.  Plaintiff’s next argument—which had won below—also turned on a subsequent decision.  In February 2017, the Missouri Supreme Court held in State ex rel. Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Dolan, 512 S.W.3d 41, 52-53 (Mo. 2017), “registering to do business in Missouri and appointing registered agents here” does not amount to consent by a company to “personal jurisdiction in this state even over unrelated claims.”  2017 Mo. LEXIS 582, *11.  (We covered the Norfolk decision in our post surveying jurisdiction by consent, which is here in case you did not memorize it.)  Again, the recent precedent determined the result—no general personal jurisdiction by consent.

After BMS, BNSF, and Norfolk, specific jurisdiction did not require much argument.  Plaintiffs’ argument below that they could piggyback on the jurisdiction over the in-state plaintiffs’ claims was rejected.  In particular, BMS required “a connection between the forum and the specific claims at issue,” not claims some other plaintiffs might assert. Id. at *14.  “Due process requires there be an affiliation between the forum and the underlying controversy.  In the original petition, nonresident Plaintiffs failed to plead facts showing their claims arose out of or relate to Missouri activities of Bayer or their injuries occurred here.” Id. This would be the end of things as to the non-Missouri plaintiffs—they basically conceded such on appeal—except that the procedural posture required that the trial court gets to decide if plaintiffs can plead personal jurisdiction in an amended complaint or pursue jurisdictional discovery.  Rather than reveal our personal preferences or offer characterizations of the practices pursued in cases like this, we end this last post of 2017 with the following weighty comment:  “Last!”

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.

© Reed Smith | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Reed Smith
Contact
more
less

Reed Smith 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 using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*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.