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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Civil Procedure Notes: Intro to Jurisdiction

International Shoe Co. v. Washington:
326 U.S. 310 (1945)
Issue: Did International's activities in Washington make it subject to personal jurisdiction in Washington Courts?
Rule: Due process requires only that in order to subject a defendant to a judgment in personam, if he be not present within the territory of the forum, he have certain minimum contacts with it such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend "traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice"
Application: A casual presence of a corporation or its agent in a state in single or isolated incidents is not enough to establish jurisdiction.
-The activities carried on by International in Washington were systematic and continuous rather than irregular or casual
-The defendant received the benefits and protection of the laws of the state and is subject to jurisdiction there.
-While there are cases that support International's contention that continuous activity of some sorts within a state are not enough to support the demand that the corporation be amenable to suits unrelated to that activity, there have been instances in which the continuous corporate operations within a state were though so substantial and of such a nature as to justify suit against it on causes of action arising from dealings entirely destiny from those activity.
-Whether due process is satisfied must depend upon the quality and nature of the activity in relation to the fair and orderly administration of the laws which it was the purpose of the due process clause to insure
-Unable to conclude that the service of the process within the state upon an agent was not sufficient notice of the suit, nor was the mailing of the notice not reasonably calculated to apprise appellant of suit
Conclusion: Yes

Concurrence: A state, at the very least, has power to tax and sue those dealing with its citizens within its boundaries
-The Federal Constitution leaves to each state, without any "ifs" or "buts," a power to tax and to open the doors of its courts for its citizens to sue corporations whose agents do business in those states.

International Shoe:
-Delaware Corporation, with principle place of business in St. Louis
-No offices in the state of Washington
-No contracts for sale made there
-Did not keep merchandise in Washington and did not make deliveries of goods in interstate commerce originating from the state.
-Employed 11-13 salesmen for 3 years, who resided in Washington
-Salesmen did not have authority to make contracts or collections
-Were compensated by commission for each year, totaling more than $31,000
-Occasionally rented permanent sample rooms, for exhibiting samples, in business buildings
-Prices, terms, and acceptance or rejection of footwear orders were established through St. Louis

-Was personally served upon a sales solicitor employed by International, in WA
-A copy was mailed to International in St. Louis

Supreme Court of Washington:
-The regular and systematic solicitation of orders in the state by International's salesmen, resulting in a continuous flow of product into the state, was sufficient to constitute doing business in the state so as to make International amenable to suit in its courts
-Also that there were sufficient additional activities shown to bring the case within the rule frequently stated, that solicitation within a state by the agents of a foreign corporation amenable to suit brought in the courts of the state to enforce an obligation arising out of its activities there
-Additional activities found in: Salesmen's display of samples in permanent display rooms, salesmen's residence within the state, continued over a period of years, all resulting in a substantial volume of merchandise regularly shipped by international to purchasers within the state
-Still thinking about (Present/Consent/Property) method of personal jurisdiction


  1. If you want to impress your school you should try to prove a death row inmate innocent. There are plenty out there.

  2. This was interesting case, saw it on TV

  3. they got greedy. like every company does. the sales and commissions were raising. but sure why not lets dig in the states pockets. see what we get. wont be to much of a risk. couple thousand here and there.

  4. Nice that you studied law, how did you find that?

  5. I'm loving your law posts I learn a lot, keep them coming!

  6. just read this again. just discovered new stuff there