Washington Legal Foundation

The implications of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017) (“BMS”), for personal jurisdiction in mass tort cases are many, but they often hinge on how the “arising from”/”related to” test for specific (“case linked”) jurisdiction is applied.  Although BMS has been criticized in some circles for not addressing causation as a jurisdictional factor, the Court in fact applied a relatively simple test that cuts the Gordian Knot surrounding the “arising from”/”related to” test for minimum contacts.

Authors: James M. Beck

The specific-jurisdiction requirement that “the suit must arise out of or relate to the defendant’s contacts with the forum” has existed for a long time.  Id. at 1780.  BMS cited cases from the mid-1980s, but its antecedents go back to International Shoe v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945), itself.  While some courts (and some defense amici in BMS) interpret that requirement as requiring “causation,” the Supreme Court did not address that question.

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