Analysis of Personal Jurisdiction Arguments at SCOTUS on “Mass Tort” Cases
The following is a guest post from Maron Marvel Bradley Anderson & Tardy LLC. As always, the analysis is cogent and very much appreciated.
HIGH COURT HEARS PERSONAL JURISDICTION ARGUMENTS
April 25, 2017 – Washington, D.C. – Oral argument was heard today on two cases that may impact the application of the high court’s personal jurisdiction decision, Daimler AG v. Bauman.
During argument this morning in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California for the County of San Francisco, No. 16-466, and BNSF Ry. Co. v. Tyrrell, No. 16-405, Petitioners focused the Court upon the Due Process Clause, its protections and existing precedent. Respondents focused the Court upon the showing of systematic and continuous contacts and the risk of further burdening the courts with multiple claims. The Court was very engaged in all aspects of the arguments made by each side. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch raised the implication of Federalism and the determination of which particular state’s citizen’s rights were to be protected; plaintiff’s or defendant’s? Is a state’s interest in protecting its citizens outweighed when a plaintiff clearly does not care by filing outside of the state? Justice Anthony M. Kennedy raised whether mass tort claims required a varying solution to existing law. The Court further sought argument as to whether there were similar state and federal interests such that legislative vehicles could be used to resolve some of the perceived problems raised in these appeals.
The Court’s decisions should be issued prior to the end of the Court’s term at the end of June, and are expected to impact the future application of personal jurisdiction – and – perhaps add clarity to the diverse rulings issued since Daimler.
OF NOTE – On March 23, 2017, GlaxoSmithKline LLC (“GSK”) filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States from a decision of the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division and the Supreme Court of Illinois’ order denying petition for leave to appeal. GSK poses the question of whether there must be a meaningful causal link between the defendant’s forum-state contacts and the plaintiff’s claims for the claim to “arise out of or relate to” a defendant’s forum-state contacts and the exercise of specific personal jurisdiction. GSK suggests that the case presents the Supreme Court with an excellent vehicle to decide the causation standard in the Bristol Myers split authorities. Responses to the petition are currently due May 30, 2017.
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