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Personal Jurisdiction

  • aka territorial jurisdiction
  • in personam jurisdiction
    • plaintiffs typically prefer this
    • usually necessary for money awards; a cleaner way to collect
    • not the only thing that determines where a suit may be brought
      • venue
  • in reim jurisdiction
    • in reim
      • when property is seized to establish jurisdiction and that property itself is the issue of the suit
      • courts judgment is binding against the entire world
    • quasi in reim
      • the property is seized to establish justification, but the property itself is not at issue
  • consent is always a basis for jurisdiction
  • typically appearing before a court implies consent to its jurisdiction
    • but then how do you contest the jurisdiction?
      • a limited appearance (in some states)
  • over whom may a state assert its jurisdiction in these different ways?
    • terrestrial jurisdiction determines in which state you can sue a defendant
    • you can only sue where a court can appropriately exert its power over that person

Service of process serves two functions

  • notice of suit
  • Formalized exertion of the state's power over the defendant

    • you must answer this, if you don't, we will default you and we will send sheriffs down to enforce the ruling.
  • a state has sovereignty over its land, but it's not in a state of permanent jurisdiction over that land--it must follow steps.

  • Pennoyer v. Neff (p. 105)

    • dispute over $290 in legal fees
    • the problem here is not notice, it is the exertion of state power
    • Oregon court issues default on Neff
      • he gets Oregon to seize his property
    • Pennoyer was the purchaser of the property (from Mitchell)
    • What establishes the validity of the sheriff's auction?
      • Whether or not the judgment that lead to the auction was a valid judgment.
    • failure to attach property before filing suit
      • if he seized property at the time he filed the lawsuit, he could have exerted jurisdiction from in reim
    • by winning the judgment without appropriate jurisdiction, and then trying to enforce it, he was trying to enforce an invalid judgment.
    • Constitutional provision(s) at issue:
      • due process
        • defendant has a right of due process to:
    • personal jurisdiction becomes a due process question - formalistic, jurisdictional, territorial, etc etc (federalist vision; US carved up into separate jurisdictions).
    • historical forces in late 19th century in the highly territorial assumption that state only had jurisdiction only over the people and property within its borders (cars, interstate commerce, large corporation etc etc)
      • doctrines of implied consent get around the Pennoyer view
  • Every state has a law instead of Rule 4; about seizing property in order to assert jurisdiction--typically requires notice, that has constitutional standards

  • consent was and is an exception to territorial jurisdiction requirements / an automatic basis to territorial jurisdiction - express consent through contract - form selection clauses - i.e. "if there is a dispute, I hereby consent to jurisdiction in _________" - theories of implied consent, too - didn't seize any property

    • Washington couldn't assert in quasi reim jurisdiction because the value of Intl Shoes' inventory in the state was too small
    • What tests does Intl Shoe establish for jurisdiction for an out of state defendant?
      • "continuous and systematic activities" is sufficient, but not the minimum
      • "isolated and sporadic" can be enough if the claim arises out of those contacts
    • Are there minimum contacts?
      • Are the contacts such that asserting jurisdiction of this out of state defendant violate standards of "fair play and substantial justice"?
    • if a company can reach out to a state when it is their benefit (ex as plaintiffs in a suit), then it can be made a defendant in that suit
    • arising out of jurisdiction vs. general jurisdiction
      • when are a D's actions in a state so continuous that you can sue them for anything?
    • how the approach here differs from that of Pennoyer:
      • Pennoyer: is it there? is the property in the state?
      • Intl Shoe: is it fair?
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