Personal Jurisdiction: Where Can A Defendant Be Sued?

The Ever Evolving Landscape of Personal Jurisdiction: Who Can Be Sued Where?

By: H. Cannon Lawley

The constitutional limitations on courts’ powers to exercise jurisdiction over corporate defendants have been the subject of recent opinions by the United States and Alabama Supreme Courts, which narrow the circumstances in which a court may require a defendant to defend an action in Alabama.

In Daimler AG v. Bauman, — U.S.—, 134 S.Ct. 746 (2014), the United States Supreme Court made clear that, in all but the most unusual of circumstance, general/all-purpose personal jurisdiction could only be permissibly exercised by courts in the state of the corporate defendant’s incorporation or principal place of business.

In Hinrichs v. General Motors of Canada, Ltd., —So.2d—, 2016 WL 3461177 (Ala. June 24, 2016), the Alabama Supreme Court found that specific/case-linked jurisdiction over a product manufacturer requires, in effect, that the product must have originally been sold in Alabama.

In concert, these opinions could significantly constrain the civil actions which may be resolved in Alabama courts.

What impact could this have on your company? To learn more about the “at home” test and to access Cannon’s full summary, click here.