Pennoyer and Shoe – Civ Pro Deck

  • PJ 1A
  • PJ 1B
  • PJ 2A
  • PJ 2B
  • PJ 3A
  • PJ 3B
  • PJ 4A
  • PJ 4B
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  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
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The question of personal jurisdiction is the question of whether a court can exercise power over a person (or other entity).  The Constitution requires that the exercise of a court’s power over a person is fair and reasonable.


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A. Constitutional Requirements

The U.S. Constitution limits the power of courts over persons and things.  The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment is the source of the “reasonableness” requirement, while the Full Faith and Credit Clause requires every State to uphold the judgements rendered by the courts of other States. The flip side of this is that if State A had no jurisdiction in a given case, but rendered judgement anyway, State B is not required to uphold that judgment.

B. Personal Jurisdiction

1. Pennoyer v. Neff

Is definitely on the Top Ten list of Most Irritating Cases. Pennoyer lays out:

a. In Personam Jurisdiction: jurisdiction over people

i. tag (also known as transient) jurisdiction: service of the Defendant while she or he is within the State

ii. consent: Defendant consents to jurisdiction, i.e., by showing up in court. Note that Defendant may make a special appearance to contest jurisdiction, in which case he or she is not consenting.

b. In Rem Jurisdiction: jurisdiction over property within a State’s borders

i. Quasi-In Rem Jurisdiction: court has jurisdiction over a person’s property, but not the person him- or herself.  Under modern law, use a Minimum Contacts analysis- a Defendant’s property in the forum state does not by itself grant the court jurisdiction, but supports the argument that jurisdiction is proper . The property is a contact between the Defendant and the forum, but the Defendant’s ownership of property is not conclusive.

2. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 4(k)(1)A provides that a Federal Court’s jurisdiction is the same as that of a court of the State where the Federal court is located.

4. State Long Arm Statute

A Long Arm Statute extends the power of a State court beyond the physical borders of the State itself, up to the Constitutional limit. A Federal District court has the same reach as that of a court of the State in which it sits- so the Long Arm Statute of the State determines the reach of both  State and Federal courts.


4. International Shoe v. Washington

Shoe sets out the modern framework for personal jurisdiction.

a. Minimum Contacts: the Defendant must purposefully avail him, her, or itself of the benefits of the forum State.

i. General Jurisdiction: if the Defendant has continuous, systematic, and substantial contacts with the forum State, the suit need not be related to the Defendant’s contacts.

ii. Specific Jurisdiction: jurisdiction may exist when the Defendant’s contacts with the forum are isolated and sporadic, if the suit is related to those contacts.

2. Reasonableness (also known as fair play and substantial justice:  the court will balance  a variety of interests to determine whether jurisdiction is reasonable:

i. the Defendant’s interest: the burden of litigating in the forum State;

ii. the Plaintiff’s interest: the burden of litigating elsewhere;

iii. the forum State’s interests in providing a forum for the Plaintiff and regulating the activity involved; and

iv. the several State’s interests in judicial efficiency and social policy.

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