American Bar Association

Authors: James M. Beck

It is well known that a nonresident plaintiff cannot assert “specific” personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant unless that plaintiff was injured in the forum state. As a result, nonresident plaintiffs traditionally have relied on general jurisdiction principles to maintain an action against a nonresident defendant in the plaintiff’s favored jurisdiction. The Supreme Court’s decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014), has severely curtailed general personal jurisdiction and, thus, the ability of nonresident plaintiffs to maintain claims against nonresident defendants.

The “at home” test as applied in Bauman restricts general personal jurisdiction to little more than the state of incorporation or principal place of business—the “exceptional circumstances” exception is truly exceptional. After Bauman, it has become “incredibly difficult to establish general jurisdiction in a forum other than the place of incorporation or principal place of business.” Monkton Ins. Servs., Ltd. v. Ritter, 768 F.3d 429, 432 (5th Cir. 2014). In the intervening period, plaintiffs in mass torts litigation, from asbestos to Zyprexa, have been seeking other arguments that might keep nonresident defendants tied to litigation pending in jurisdictions where neither party resides.

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