Personal Jurisdiction problem set: questions

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.

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?.

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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’s 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

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?

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?

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?

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

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?

Question 20

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

Question 21

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

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?

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?

Question 24

ADDITIONAL FACTS FOR THIS QUESTION ONLY: After moving 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?

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?

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?

Last updated 10/22/14