Corporate Defendants Take Note of Ford: The Supreme Court Revisits Specific Personal Jurisdiction and Adds a Gloss on the “Arises out of or Relates to” Aspect of the AnalysisOn March 29, 2021 by Schnader in Aviation
Arleigh P. Helfer published a client alert, “Corporate Defendants Take Note of Ford: The Supreme Court Revisits Specific Personal Jurisdiction and Adds a Gloss on the “Arises out of or Relates to” Aspect of the Analysis.”
The Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated opinion in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eight Judicial District last Thursday. While the Court clarified certain aspects of its specific personal jurisdiction jurisprudence – clarifying that a causal link to in-forum conduct of the defendant is not a prerequisite to specific personal jurisdiction – it left or raised (depending on who you ask) many unanswered
questions. As a result, it can be expected that lower courts will continue to struggle with this issue in the coming years, and defendants in all sectors likely will continue to face different results depending on the court and judge involved.
After accidents involving Ford cars in Montana and Minnesota, Plaintiffs, who were residents of those states, brought product liability lawsuits against Ford Motor Company in the courts of those states. There being no dispute that the state courts did not have general personal jurisdiction over Ford for these actions, Ford argued that it was not subject to specific personal jurisdiction because the cars involved in the accidents were first sold in other states and were neither designed nor manufactured in the forum states. The state courts rejected Ford’s arguments and exercised jurisdiction.