101 South Hanley, Suite 1280 Clayton, MO 63105
314.283.8930; henry@elsterlaw.com

Specific Jurisdiction

Personal jurisdiction is the power of a court to require a person or entity to respond to a legal proceeding that may affect the person’s rights or interests. It is a due process requirement and very broadly means that if a court is to entertain a case involving an out of state defendant the defendant must have some conduct or connection with the state hearing the case to where the exercise of personal jurisdiction is fair and just. For example, there would likely be no personal jurisdiction for an Alaska court to entertain a dispute between Missouri residents for an accident or incident that occurred in Missouri. There are some corporations (e.g., many large publicly traded companies) that have a presence in most or all states. Many plaintiffs have, then, gone “forum-shopping” to sue defendants in favorable states and venues to procure favorable results (or increase their chances). 

The US Supreme Court has, however, developed more recently (as of this writing) “specific jurisdiction.” Specific jurisdiction requires consideration of the relationship among the defendant, the forum and the litigation. There must be an “affiliation between the forum and the underlying contrversy, principally, [an] activity or an occurrence that takes place in the forum State.” Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., San Francisco Cnty., 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1780 (2017). As a result, specific jurisdiction is limited to adjudication of “issues deriving from, or connected with, the very controversy that establishes jurisdiction.” 

Contact with questions.