Nicastro and Goodyear are two pending cases addressing the scope of personal jurisdiction over global manufacturers when they sell allegedly defective products. Here, Crowell & Moring provides its take on the issues and argument. For those who would like more specifics, the Scotus Blog remains great. Go here for the Nicasto oral argument in various formats, or here for the unofficial transcript from Goodyear.
It’s tough to predict what this Court will do. Chief Justice Roberts’ professed desire for "certainty" for business might suggest a ruling based on "bright lines." That seems, however, unwise because business methods and combinations continue to evolve. The implications for "business" also can cut multiple ways. One could say it would be foolish to provide overseas with liability avoidance techniques that disadvantage American manufacturers. Indeed, last year, the plaintiff’s bar and the US Chamber of Commerce actually agreed on supporting legislation to expand jurisdiction against overseas manufacturers, as described here.
One wonders how many "facts" will be stated, assumed or predicted by the Court as to the impact of its rulings.