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Recent NJ Appellate Court Decision Indicative of Continuing Uncertainty Regarding Personal Jurisdiction Over Foreign Manufacturers Using U.S. Distributors

On October 17, 2014 by Schnader

The past few years have seen the United States Supreme Court issue a number of important decisions on the subject of personal jurisdiction. For example, the Court’s decisions in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014) and Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 131 S. Ct. 2846 (2011), stressed that general jurisdiction may be exercised “only when the corporation’s affiliations with the State in which suit is brought are so constant and pervasive ‘as to render [it] essentially at home in the forum State.’” Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746, 751, 758 n. 11 (2014) (quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 131 S. Ct. 2846, 2851 (2011)). Many believe that these decisions reflect a purposeful shift by the Supreme Court to narrow the scope of personal jurisdiction, although the Court’s decisions do not themselves indicate that they are meant to represent any change in the law. Regardless, there is a discernible trend of lower courts more frequently granting motions challenging personal jurisdiction in the wake of these decisions than they did in the past.

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