Practice Essay: PJ & Amazone (more difficult)

Instructions: Draft an answer to this essay. I am happy to look at your answer during office hours. Please bring two hard copies. Do not email me your essay.

Acknowledgments: this essay was produced by 2012-13 ALI Cristina Morales along with Professor Nathenson.


(One hour)

Amazone, Inc., a corporation from California with principal operations in California, is a large bookseller looking to expand its mail-order offerings.  FedExpress, Inc.—a delivery company incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia—reads about this on the website, and contacts Amazone to offer a long-term contract.  FedExpress is a well-established delivery company that has done deliveries throughout the United States and other countries for over 20 years.  In California alone, it does daily deliveries throughout the state, totaling over $1 billion a year in revenues (constituting 5% of FedExpress’ total annual revenues).

Hoping for the contract, FedExpress’ CEO travels out to California on three occasions, and after a month of negotiations, Amazone and FedExpress contract that FedExpress will provide worldwide delivery services for Amazone for a period of 5 years, with a guaranteed minimum monthly payment, and overages to be determined by a formula looking to both the place of delivery as well as the weight of the package.  Pursuant to the contract, all materials will be picked up by FedExpress in California and then shipped to the destination.  In addition, some of the FedExpress trucks will be devoted solely to delivery of Amazone products, and will bear the logos of both FedExpress and Amazone.  One of FedExpress’ dual-branded “FedExpress/Amazone” trucks later gets into an accident in Paris, France with Peter Parker.

Peter is a life-long resident of New York City.  Peter Parker sues Amazone and FedExpress for negligence in California state court alleging that the driver was drunk.  He also, pursuant to California law, attaches to the lawsuit real property owned by FedExpress in California.  The property attached is a vacation house owned by FedExpress in Malibu, California, that the corporation maintains for the use of its executives and important clients.  In fact, the President of FedExpress is personally served with the summons and complaint while vacationing in FedExpress’ California vacation house.

Because Amazone is based in California, it does not object to personal jurisdiction.  However, FedExpress makes a special appearance and timely contests personal jurisdiction.

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Question: Assuming that California’s long-arm statute extends to the full scope of Due Process, discuss whether the court has personal jurisdiction over FedExpress.

Updated Nov. 9, 2014 (correcting typo spotted by Eagle-Eyed Claudia Gallego, thanks!)