Personal Jurisdiction

Personal jurisdiction over foreign defendants in state courts is limited by state statutes and by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which the Supreme Court has interpreted to require that defendants have “minimum contacts” with the forum state. Personal jurisdiction in federal courts extends in most cases only as far as the jurisdiction of the state courts of the state in which they sit.  However, in limited situations governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k)(2) and some federal statutes, personal jurisdiction in federal courts may extend beyond the limits of state court jurisdiction. Personal jurisdiction in federal courts is limited by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, the scope of which remains unclear. Whether customary international imposes general limits jurisdiction on jurisdiction to adjudicate is also unclear.

Recent Posts

When Terrorists Default, Should Courts Consider Personal Jurisdiction?

A case from last week, Kaplan v. Hezbollah, illustrates the intricacies of consent-based personal jurisdiction in the context of default judgments and raises questions about the due process rights of terrorist organizations (and other unpopular defendants). U.S. citizens injured by Hezbollah missile attacks in Israel sued under the Antiterrorism Act (ATA). Hezbollah did not enter…

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A Primer on State Law in Transnational Litigation

[Editors: This post is one in a series of Primers on topics in transnational litigation. Primers on each of the topics listed in the Topics menu are planned, and some already appear on the relevant topic pages.] The procedural and substantive rules that U.S. courts apply in transnational litigation come from many sources, including the…

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Non-Signatories, Forum Selection Clauses, and Personal Jurisdiction in the SDNY

Over the past few decades, U.S. courts have adopted a new legal test that makes it easier to bind individuals to forum selection clauses in contracts they did not sign. This test posits that a non-signatory is bound by a forum selection clause if it is so “closely related” to the signatory that it was “foreseeable”…

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