Personal Jurisdiction problem set: explanations

About: Some of the twenty-six (26) problems below are loosely based on problems found in Joseph W. Glannon, Civil Procedure: Examples & Explanations. Some are from the ALI sessions (which in turn were adapted from a prior set of my questions).

Instructions: Analyze whether personal jurisdiction would exist under the following scenarios. Assume that the relevant state long-arm statutes extend to the full extent of 14th amendment due process. For suits filed in federal court, you may assume that the parties are diverse and that the amount in controversy will be satisfied. Determine whether there is or is not personal jurisdiction, and why. Be prepared to discuss.

The explanations include a concise explanation of the rationale underlying the correct answer. THE CONCISE EXPLANATIONS ARE TERSE, INCOMPLETE, AND CONCLUSORY; YOU SHOULD NOT UNDERSTAND THEM TO CONSTITUTE ANSWERS THAT WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE IN AN ESSAY EXAM, AND SHOULD NOT EXPECT THEM TO RAISE EVERY RELEVANT ISSUE.

Questions 1-18 rely on the following fact pattern:

Chandler (from Alabama) is a regional manager for a brand new textbook company, East Law Publications (incorporated and principal place of business in Connecticut). Chandler’s job requires him to travel from school to school to show new casebooks to law professors. His assignment for the first week of February was to visit law schools in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. While in Florida, Chandler goes to South Beach to have some fun. He ends up getting into a bar fight with Joey, a law student from Miami Beach, Florida. Chandler and Joey each blame the other for starting the fight.

Question 1

Chandler v. Joey in Alabama state court for battery. Joey makes a special appearance to contest personal jurisdiction. Will Joey prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Yes. Joey has no known contacts with Alabama, Georgia, so permitting PJ would be an improper assertion of personal jurisdiction under any theory. So long as Alabama permits a special appearance, Joey’s objection will likely succeed.

Question 2

Chandler v. Joey in Alabama state court for battery. Joey makes a special appearance to contest personal jurisdiction and also files a motion arguing that Chandler’s complaint fails to state a claim. Will Joey prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Probably, depending on state procedure. It’s still an improper assertion of personal jurisdiction for the reasons of # 1. The issue here is the effect in state court of Joey also defending on the merits. The old approach is that anything beyond contesting PJ makes it a general appearance and submission to PJ. Many states now permit going beyond PJ and also asserting defenses on the merits. Here, the prudent practitioner will research Alabama state-court practice to find out the consequences of joining a merits defense to a jurisdictional defense.

Question 3

Chandler v. Joey in Alabama federal court for battery. Joey files motion contesting personal jurisdiction and arguing that Chandler’ complaint fails to state a claim. Will Joey prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Yes. Joey would win for the reasons noted in #1. Plus, the joinder of defenses won’t hurt Joey because we’re in federal court. Here, the federal court equivalent to a special appearance is a 12(b)(2) motion. We’ll study Rule 12 in more detail later on. Unlike a common law special appearance in state court, the federal rules allow the assertion of multiple defenses in a pre-answer motion: a defendant can join a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, along with a 12(b)(2) motion seeking dismissal for lack of PJ. Joining the motions in the alternative does not create a general appearance. As noted in # 2, many states now permit a similar approach.

Question 4

Joey v. Chandler in Hawaii state court for battery. Chandler makes a special appearance to contest personal jurisdiction. Will Chandler prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Yes. Chandler has no contacts with Hawaii. Personal jurisdiction would be improper. (Why?)

Question 5

Joey v. Chandler in Hawaii state court for battery. Chandler is served personally while sipping a Mai-Tai while vacationing at the Honolulu Hilton on Waikiki Beach and attending the Law and Society conference to promote law books to law professors. Chandler makes a special appearance to contest personal jurisdiction. Will Chandler prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Maybe, maybe not. This is transient physical presence, i.e., personal service while present in the forum state. The outcome may depend on whether the court uses a Scalia or Brennan approach. Scalia would likely find PJ to be proper based on the “traditional” basis of in-state service. Brennan would treat Chandler’s voluntary presence and in-state service as a kind of “super-contact” for purposeful availment. Chandler’s only argument would appear to be a lack of reasonableness. However, keep in mind that under Burger King, Chandler would appear to have the burden of showing compelling unreasonableness. And there are additional considerations. First, an assertion of PJ over Chandler in Hawaii for a Florida battery would be an assertion of general jurisdiction. Daimler says in FN20 that the reasonableness factors are irrelevant to general jurisdiction. Second, Daimler seems to limit general jurisdiction for individuals to domicile, which suggests that Brennan’s theory of general jurisdiction via tag jurisdiction is no longer a viable theory. 

Hint: try writing a practice essay answer to this question. Because of the interplay of Shaffer, Burnham, and Daimler, the state of the law is by no means clear.

Question 6
Joey v. Chandler in Alabama state court for battery. Chandler defends on the merits and loses. On appeal, he asserts that the court never had personal jurisdiction. Will Chandler prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: No. First, Chandler defended on the merits and failed to object to personal jurisdiction. He has therefore made a general appearance, waiving any objections to PJ and thus submitting himself to the jurisdiction of the court. Second and more fundamentally, even if Chandler had not waived a PJ objection, he would have been unsuccessful in attacking PJ because he is a domiciliary of Alabama. See Milliken regarding domicile (note case) and Daimler (on general jurisdiction and noting domicile as a form of general jurisdiction over individuals).

Interesting question: after Daimler, is domicile still a traditional basis of jurisdiction under the first Principle of Public Law? Or is it an instance of general jurisdiction under Shoe as interpreted by Daimler and Goodyear? Note that Daimler and Goodyear were not actually about individuals, but instead about general jurisdiction over business entities.

Question 7

Joey v. Chandler in Alabama state court for battery. Chandler makes a special appearance to contest personal jurisdiction. Will Chandler prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Nope. Chandler is a domiciliary of Alabama, so PJ exists. See analysis for prior question.

Question 8

Joey v. Chandler in Alabama state court for battery. Chandler does not contest personal jurisdiction and instead asserts a counterclaim against Joey for battery. (Reminder: a counterclaim is when the defendant asserts a claim against the plaintiff.) Joey serves papers asserting a special appearance regarding Chandler’s counterclaim and contesting personal jurisdiction. Will the court grant Joey’s motion to dismiss the counterclaim for lack of personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Likely not. Here, where Chandler asserted a counterclaim against Joey arising from the same transaction or occurrence as Joey’s initial claim against Chandler, Joey has most probably either consented to personal jurisdiction or waived any objection to personal jurisdiction. (In federal court, Chandler’s claim would be a counterclaim; in state court, we’d have to research local practice.) It is true that Joey may not have had other ties with Alabama, but keep in mind that Joey was the one who reached out to the Alabama courts to file a battery claim against Chandler.

However, what if Chandler filed an unrelated counterclaim (say, for breach of contract)? It appears that the law is unsettled regarding personal jurisdiction over the plaintiff for the defendant’s permissive counterclaim. See 6 Federal Practice & Procedure sect. 1416, 1424. 

Question 9

Joey v. Chandler in Florida state court for battery. Chandler makes a special appearance to contest personal jurisdiction. Will Chandler prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: No. A basic example of specific in personam jurisdiction for an in-state act the gives direct rise to the claim (whether under the “evidence” or “but-for” test). Likely jurisdiction would be reasonable as well. Why?

Question 10

Joey v. Chandler in Florida state court for breach of contract arising from the failure of East Law Publications to deliver a civil procedure hornbook that Joey ordered from East Law’s website. Chandler makes a special appearance to contest personal jurisdiction. Will Chandler prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Probably yes, though it’s arguable (and this would make a good practice essay question). Here, Joey appears to have sued the wrong person: he entered into a contract with East Law and not with Chandler. Chandler would likely prevail on a 12(b)(6) motion that argues that the pleaded facts cannot establish a contract between him and Joey as a matter of law. But the question above asks about PJ. This also reminds us that we measure each defendant’s contacts separately. Here, Chandler has contacts with Florida showing purposeful availment: travel to the state to show books to professors, getting into a bar fight with Joey. But it is hard to see how those contacts gave rise to the contract claim, either under a “but for” test or an “evidence” test. Note that some courts may use a more expansive “related to” test. Would Chandler’s contacts be sufficiently related to Joey’s contract claim? Perhaps not. If not, then the assertion of PJ over Chandler would be general jurisdiction, which would be lacking under the “essentially at home” standard of Goodyear and Diamler.

Question 11

Joey v. Chandler in Florida state court for breach of contract arising from the failure of East Law Publications to deliver a civil procedure hornbook that he ordered from East Law’s website. Chandler defends on the merits and wins. Did the court properly exercise personal jurisdiction over Chandler?

Discussion: Yes. Trick question. Chandler waived any objection. Chandler’s failure to properly and timely object to PJ, and his choice to instead defend on the merits, constitutes a general appearance, and permitts the court to exercise personal jurisdiction.

Question 12

Joey v. East Law Publications in Florida state court for breach of contract arising from the failure of East Law Publications to deliver a civil procedure hornbook that Joey ordered from and paid for through East Law’s interactive, commercial website. The website permitted Joey to order a book, enter credit card information, and ask that the book be shipped to his home in Florida. East Law enters a special appearance to contest personal jurisdiction. Will East Law prevail on its objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Most probably not. (Hint: another good practice essay question.) Here, we have East Law’s website, from which Joey ordered a book. In addition to considering Zippo, don’t forget that East Law has non-internet contacts with the state of Florida (using Chandler to show books to law profs).

Question 13

Joey v. Chandler in Georgia state court for battery. Chandler is personally served with papers at home in Alabama. He later makes a special appearance to contest personal jurisdiction. Will Chandler prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Yes. Trick question in part. He was personally served in Alabama and not in the forum state, Georgia. (He wasn’t sued in Alabama where he lives.) So we have to ask about minimum contacts in Georgia. Chandler does have purposeful contacts in Georgia, i.e., his book showings to law profs. However, those contacts probably do not appear to have given rise to the Florida battery cause of action, thus failing to create specific jurisdiction. (Think about the “evidence” and “but-for” tests.) Also, his contacts likely do not constitute systematic & continuous contacts that make him essentially at home, thus also failing to create general jurisdiction. 

Question 14

Joey v. Chandler in Georgia state court for battery. Chandler is personally served with papers at home in Alabama. He thinks Joey does not have personal jurisdiction and decides to ignore the litigation. The Georgia court enters a default judgment against Chandler. Joey later files papers to enforce the Georgia judgment in Alabama and to force a sheriff’s sale of Chandler’ Alabama home. Assume that Chandler plans to challenge the Georgia court’s personal jurisdiction in the Alabama proceedings. Will Chandler prevail on his objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: Yes. Chandler can make a collateral attack because he did not appear at all in the Georgia litigation. The attack should succeed for the reasons noted in # 13.

Question 15

Joey v. Chandler in Georgia state court for battery. Chandler is personally served with papers at home in Alabama. He specially appears and challenges personal jurisdiction. Amazingly, the state judge finds there is personal jurisdiction. Angry, Chandler refuses to participate further and goes home. The Georgia court later enters a default against Chandler on the merits. Some months later, Joey files papers to enforce the Georgia judgment in Alabama and to force a sheriff’s sale of Chandler’s Alabama home. Assume Chandler again challenges the personal jurisdiction of the Georgia court in Alabama. Will Chandler prevail on his second objection to personal jurisdiction?

Discussion: No. Chandler challenged personal jurisdiction in a direct attack and cannot do so again collaterally. Chandler should have appealed in Georgia. Some states permit (or even require) an immediate appeal of a denial of a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Unfortunately, in other states and in the federal system, it is generally not possible to appeal an “interlocutory” order such as this until the end of the case, called “final judgment.”

By the way, enforcing the out-of-state judgment is called “domesticating” a judgment.

Question 16

Joey sues Chandler in federal court in Gainesville, Georgia for battery. After being served, Chandler suspects that the cause of his South Beach bar fight was a faulty prescription from a pharmacy he visited in Clemson, South Carolina a day or two before his trip to Florida. Chandler thinks that the pharmacy gave him the wrong pills, causing him to “Hulk” out and hit Joey, and that the pharmacy is therefore at least partially to blame for any liability Chandler may owe Joey. Assume that the pharmacy in Clemson is about 75 miles from the federal district court in Gainesville, Georgia. If Chandler brings in the pharmacy as a third-party defendant alleging that it is liable to Chandler via contribution for all or part of any damages that Chandler may owe to Joey, will the pharmacy be subject to in personam jurisdiction?

Discussion: Yes. The pharmacy would be impleaded under Rule 14 and is subject to personal jurisdiction because of the “bulge” jurisdiction of Rule 4(k)(1)(B). Here, the pharmacy is within a judicial district and is located less than 100 miles from the district court in Gainesville, and would be joined under Rule 14. More on Rule 14 next semester.

Question 17

Joey planned to sue Chandler in state court in Georgia for battery. His pre-filing investigation of Chandler showed that Chandler kept a valuable collection of fine wines in a climate-controlled facility in Georgia. He therefore filed suit against Chandler in Georgia and at the same time, attached Chandler’s wine collection. Chandler wants to go to Georgia to contest jurisdiction but is concerned about whether Joey can use his wine collection to obtain jurisdiction. Can Joey use Chandler’s Georgia-based wine to obtain jurisdiction?

Discussion: Likely not. Under Pennoyer, Joey could have asserted quasi-in-rem (QIR) jurisdiction over the wine because it was located in the forum state. But under Shaffer v. Heitner, assertions of QIR jurisdiction require a minimum contacts analysis. Here, the in-state property is completely unrelated to the claim, and by itself would not permit jurisdiction. This would be an improper attempt to assert QIR Type II.B jurisdiction (as we called it in class), as was unsuccessfully attempted in Shaffer.

Food for thought: what if Chandler was drunk on wine from his Georgia collection at the time of the bar fight? Would that change the analysis? How? Would it affect the analysis under QIR II.B, or would it arguably make the case one under QIR II.A? Would it matter?

Question 18

Joey planned to sue Chandler in state court in Georgia for battery. His pre-filing investigation of Chandler showed that Chandler owned a vacation home on Lake Lanier near Atlanta, Georgia. Joey filed suit against Chandler in Georgia and attached the vacation home. Will Joey be able to base jurisdiction on the Georgia vacation home?

Discussion: Probably not based on Marshall’s opinion in Shaffer, because Chandler’s Georgia vacation home is neither the subject of Joey’s battery suit nor related to the suit. Moreover, the only other known contact Chandler has with Georgia (that we know of) is that he visited the state to show casebooks on behalf of his employer, which is again unrelated to the Florida battery. Such contacts are insufficient to rise to the level of continuous and systematic required for “all-purpose” jurisdiction (Goodyear).

However, there might be quasi-in-rem jurisdiction based on the Shaffer concurrences. Remember that under Pennoyer, the presence of the property in the state of Georgia would be enough for Georgia courts to assert QIR jurisdiction. Further, several of the concurring Justices in Shaffer argued that the sweeping language of Shaffer should not apply to real property. Instead, said those Justices, the mere presence of real property in the forum state should be sufficient. Further, keep in mind that Scalia’s plurality in Burnham might have felt that Shaffer should be limited to its facts (which in turn, were about QIR jurisdiction over intangible property, not real property). Therefore, a future court might hold that Pennoyer is still good law regarding real property. In that case, QIR jurisdiction might be ok. The jury is out on this one.

Questions 19-21 are based on the following fact pattern:

Shredder Strings Manufacturing Co. is based in Kobe, Japan. It manufactures strings used for guitars, violins, pianos, and other musical instruments. It sells strings to retailers in the Eastern United States. It also sells strings to guitar manufacturers that incorporate the strings into their products.

Nutty Pegs Inc. (Florida) is a manufacturer of other guitar components, such as tuning pegs. It sells components to guitar manufacturers. Nutty Pegs has specifically designed its pegs for the style used by today’s “West-Coast” rockers, who mostly live in Southern California.

Phender, Inc. is a guitar manufacturer based in Tennessee. It sells electric guitars nationwide and uses Shredder Strings and Nutty Pegs in its instruments. The materials accompanying Phender guitars do not indicate that Shredder Strings or Nutty Pegs tuning pegs are used in Phender guitars. Shredder Strings and Nutty Pegs are nevertheless very proud that their products are used by a national company like Phender.

Eddie purchases a Phender guitar from a Phender guitar store in California. As a true guitar freak, Eddie has exhaustively researched the source of every component in the new guitar, including the source of the strings and tuning pegs. He takes it to his Santa Monica home and plays it. While playing it, a string breaks and creates an ugly gash on Eddie’s face.

Question 19

Eddie sues Phender in California state court. Does the California court have personal jurisdiction over Phender?

Discussion: Yes. Imagine if the plaintiffs in WWVW had sued the dealer in the state where the car was sold. An example of the importance of reading the facts carefully.

Food for thought: how might you analyze this if Phender instead sold the guitar at issue to a distributor, who sold it to an unrelated California retailer, who then sold it to Eddie? Would we then be in an Asahi stream-of-commerce analysis? See the next question.

Question 20

Eddie also sues Nutty Pegs in California state court. Does the California court have personal jurisdiction over Nutty Pegs?

Discussion: Likely yes. Here, it is a component (the tuning pegs) that went through the stream of commerce. The manufacturer was aware that its products were used by Phender and sold nationwide. Under Brennan’s theory, that would be enough because Nutty Pegs was aware that its products would be sold in California through the stream of commerce. Is it enough for O’Connor? She requires stream of commerce plus one of her “plus” factors. Here, Nutty Pegs designed the pegs for “West Coast” rockers, who mostly live in Southern California. Assuming that purposeful availment/MC is established, reasonableness is presumed. Consider why Nutty Pegs likely can’t meet its burden of showing a compelling case of unreasonableness. Stevens’ analysis is indeterminate. We don’t have facts regarding the volume of pegs, but they may be significant. The value of pegs would be low, unless they were made with gold. The facts don’t say. The pegs may be hazardous, however, if they do not secure the strings.

Question 21

Eddie sues Shredder Strings in California. Does the California court have personal jurisdiction over Shredder Strings?

Discussion: It depends on whether one follows O’Connor or Brennan. O’Connor likely would not find PJ based on mere stream of commerce without any showing of a “plus” factor. However, Brennan would find purposeful availment/MC based on Shredder Strings’ awareness that its products will be sold in California. Thus, if one follows Brennan, the question turns on the presence or absence of reasonableness. Pursuant to BK, once purposeful availment is shown, reasonableness is presumed and the burden shifts to the defendant to present a “compelling case” that personal jurisdiction is unreasonable. Although this case seems to superficially resemble the facts of Asahi, here the plaintiff is still present in the case. Therefore, the interests of the California plaintiff in litigating at home, and the state of California in protecting its citizens, are going to be fairly high. (Thus, the case is very unlike Asahi, where the only remaining parties were from Asia.) Although Shredder Strings will face some burdens in defending in California, it is unlikely that the burden will present a “compelling case” of unreasonableness.” Regarding Stevens, his analysis is fairly unhelpful. Strings cheap. Quantity unknown. Breaking strings can hurt you.

Exam tip: for additional exam practice, write an essay that combines questions 19-21.

Questions 22-24 are based on the following fact pattern:

Hanna saw an ad in the local Miami newspaper for low rates on term life insurance policies. She contacted the National Life Insurance Co. and purchased a term policy. The life insurance policy stated that it would be automatically renewed each year so long as the insured (Hanna) continued paying for the policy. For the next 20 years, Hanna made payments to the company via the mail, and the company sent her statements and policy updates. Deciding that she wanted to be closer to her grandchildren, Hanna moved to Texas. She wrote National Life with her updated contact information. National Life continued to bill her in Texas. After Hanna passed away at the age of 90, the insurer refused to provide insurance coverage, arguing that Hanna had made a material misstatement on her original application. National Life has its headquarters in Los Angeles and is incorporated in Delaware.

Question 22

ADDITIONAL FACTS FOR THIS QUESTION ONLY: Hanna’s beneficiary, her grandson Arthur, wants to file suit against National Life Insurance Co. in Texas. National Life has never had any customers in Texas besides Hanna. Will Arthur succeed in asserting personal jurisdiction against National Life?

Discussion: Most probably not. No purposeful availment by the D of the forum state. It was Hanna who took the policy with her. See McGee, Hanson, and WWVW. Facts here are insufficient for general jurisdiction (why?)

Question 23

ADDITIONAL FACTS FOR THIS QUESTION ONLY: Hanna’s beneficiary, her grandson Arthur, wants to file suit against National Life Insurance Co. in Texas. National Life has sold whole life insurance policies to thousands of Texas residents for over 20 years but has never sold or maintained any term life insurance policy for any Texas resident, except for the Florida policy it continued to service in Texas for Hanna. Will Arthur succeed in asserting personal jurisdiction against National Life?

Discussion: This is a difficult one, but the answer is probably no. Regarding purposeful availment, there is no doubt that National Life has reached out to Texas through its sale of thousands of policies. Regarding specific jurisdiction, National Life’s contacts with Texas very arguably did not give rise to the claim. (Think about the “evidence” and “but-for” tests; but some courts might use a more expansive “related to” test.) Regarding general jurisdiction, National Life appears to have continuous & systematic contacts due to 20 years of issuing whole life policies to Texas residents. But do those contacts render National Life “essentially at home in the forum State”? Recall that in Goodyear and Daimler, the Court gave state of incorporation and principal place of business (“PPOB”) as places where a corporation would be “essentially” at home. Goodyear was not clear about whether other places can also render a corporation “essentially at home.” Daimler appeared to hold that in the vast majority of cases, general jurisdiction over a corporation would be limited to PPOB and place(s) of incorporation. The Court did suggest in FN 19 that in “extraordinary” cases, there could be general jurisdiction in additional places where the defendant’s contacts were sufficiently continuous and systematic, but that would appear to be rare cases indeed, requiring extremely substantial contacts, akin to places where a corporation is incorporated or has its PPOB. 

Addendum: Fall 2014 class member Claudia Gallego had some wonderful thoughts, and here is a blog post discussing the very limited nature of “fallback” general jurisdiction, i.e., general jurisdiction where the corporation does not have its incorporation or PPOB in the forum state, but nonetheless has significant operations in the state. 

Question 24

ADDITIONAL FACTS FOR THIS QUESTION ONLY: After Hanna moved to Texas, National Life wrote Hanna and asked her if she would like to boost her coverage on her term life policy. She accepted the offer. National Life has had a few customers (perhaps 10) in Texas over the past 20 years besides Hanna for various term and whole life policies. Will Arthur succeed in asserting personal jurisdiction against National Life?

Discussion: Much more likely yes. Arthur would likely succeed on a specific jurisdiction theory because National Life solicited Hanna in Texas, thus constituting “purposeful availment.” See McGee; compare Hanson. Regarding general jurisdiction, we would likely still have the same problems as under # 23.

Questions 25-26 are based on the following fact pattern:

Danny (from New York) was a child star who worked on a once-popular television show, The Pigeon Family. As a teenager, he had a crush on the star of the show, Shirley (from California). As a respectable woman, Shirley had been kind to Danny but firmly told him that she was too old for him and that someday, he would find true love. Danny, however, never got over Shirley. Many years later, Danny became a disc jockey at a local radio station in New York. One day on his show, he confessed his love for Shirley. Feeling bold, he made up lies about Shirley saying that the two had “romantic interludes” on the set in Hollywood, California when he was 16 and more recently at her Santa Monica, California home. The ensuing press nightmare ruined Shirley’s career.

Question 25

ADDITIONAL FACTS FOR THIS QUESTION ONLY: Shirley sues Danny in California state court for defamation. Does the court have personal jurisdiction over Danny?

Discussion: Arguably so. First, Danny is alleged to have committed an intentional tort. Second, Shirley felt the brunt of the harm at home in California because that’s where she lives and where much of her work can probably is found. Third, Danny appears to have expressly aimed his conduct at California, in light of the fact that he knows that Shirley lives in California and part of the lies were about non-existent California “interludes.” Even under the more recent Walden v. Fiore case, it would appear that Danny is aiming his conduct at California, and not just at a person who lives in California. Even under Walden, Danny has “alleged libel [that] connected the defendants to California, not just to the plaintiff.”

Question 26

ADDITIONAL FACTS FOR THIS QUESTION ONLY: Because of the press debacle, Shirley loses an acting job in Wisconsin. Shirley sues Danny in Wisconsin state court. Does the court have personal jurisdiction over Danny?

Discussion: Probably not. Here, there is an intentional tort (defamation). Shirley felt some harm in Wisconsin, but the question is whether Wisconsin is the “brunt” of the harm. Shirley was also harmed in California where she lives and where much of her work presumably existed. So there are good arguments that the brunt of the harm was in California and not Wisconsin. Moreover (and perhaps more importantly under Walden, there are problems under the express aiming prong. There is nothing to suggest that Danny expressly aimed his conduct at Wisconsin. If anything, it would appear that the harm was aimed at California, both the subject of the story and where Shirley lives. Walden likely reinforces this conclusion.

Last updated Oct. 14, 2015 (expl. Q1)