Reed Smith attorneys James C. Martin, Lisa M. Baird, James Beck, Devin Misour and Ezekiel Rediker authored the brief. Baird is Chair of DRI’s Appellate Advocacy Committee and a member of the DRI Amicus Committee.
At issue in both cases is the test for where corporate defendants can be sued. Plaintiffs sued Ford Motor Company for product liability in the states where they were injured by allegedly defective Ford vehicles. Ford moved to dismiss the cases on personal jurisdiction grounds, contending that the courts in question lacked jurisdiction over them for these lawsuits because Ford had neither manufactured nor sold those particular vehicles in those states.
The Montana and Mississippi Supreme Courts rejected Ford’s arguments, distinguished prior U.S. Supreme Court precedents including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, and concluded the states had jurisdiction over Ford for these lawsuits. The U.S. Supreme Court granted Ford’s petitions for certiorari and consolidated the cases. Oral argument has been scheduled for April 27, 2020.