Steps in analyzing specific and general jurisdiction

Specific jurisdiction (“case specific”)

General jurisdiction (“all purpose”)


Purposeful availment

Required for specific and general jurisdiction


D must purposefully avail itself of privileges & benefits of FS (WWVW).

  • Box A from MC table: single contact may be enough (facts of Hess as reimagined in Shoe).
  • Box B from MC table: systematic & continuous contacts are even better, subject to further analysis of steps two and three below (facts of Shoe itself).
Box D from MC table: The kind of purposeful availment required for general jurisdiction is much higher.

Systematic and continuous contacts with FS are required but by themselves are not enough.

Defendant must also be “essentially at home.” (Goodyear & Daimler)

Paradigmatic examples:

  • Corps: PPOB
  • Corps: Inc.
  • Individuals: domicile

Safety valve:

FN19 of Daimler


Contacts with FS give rise to the claim

Required for specific jurisdiction

This looks to the relationship between D’s FS contacts and the claim. Courts vary in their approach:

  • Evidence test: D’s FS contacts are also evidence relevant to the claim.

Example: D drives to Mass. and gets into a car accident. D’s Mass. contacts (driving in Mass.) show purposeful availment and will be used to prove D was negligent.

  • But-for test: If D had never made the contact, there would have never been a claim. Put differently, “but for” the contact, the claim would never have occurred.

Example: If D had never driven to Mass., he would never have engaged in his alleged negligence in that state.

Not relevant to general jurisdiction.

Why? By definition, general jurisdiction does not arise from the contacts. That’s why it’s called “all purpose” jurisdiction.

Keep in mind: If you have a fact pattern which involves systematic & continuous contacts that do give rise to the claim, then it is more likely an example of specific jurisdiction. Systematic & continuous contacts that give rise to the claim would be Box B from the MC table.


Reasonableness factors

Required for specific jurisdiction

Once PA is shown (Step One), then court presumes reasonableness. That means the burden regarding this factor has shifted to D, and D has the burden of showing a “compelling case” of unreasonableness (BK).

Also note that a strong showing of reasonableness (Step Three) can boost a weak showing of contacts (Step One), as long as those contacts exist (BK).

Factors to examine:

  • Primary factor: D’s burden (i.e., hardship) in defending in FS
  • FS interest
  • P interest
  • Judicial efficiency
  • Substantive policy
Not relevant to general jurisdiction.

Why? In Daimler FN 20, the Court held that courts do not analyze the reasonableness factors in a general jurisdiction scenario.

Added Sept. 6, 2016