Supreme Court Decides Mallory v. Norfolk Southern

For prior TLB coverage of this case, see here.

The Supreme Court (finally) issued a decision today in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern, holding that Pennsylvania’s corporate registration statute, which requires out-of-state businesses to consent to all-purpose jurisdiction in Pennsylvania courts, does not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Alito joined Justice Gorsuch’s four-justice plurality (with Justices Thomas, Sotomayor, and Jackson) to conclude that Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co. v. Gold Issue Mining & Milling Co. (1917) is still good law and controls this case.

Justice Alito wrote separately, however, to explain that Pennsylvania’s statute might nonetheless violate the dormant Commerce Clause. Justice Jackson wrote a brief concurrence as well to emphasize that personal jurisdiction is a waivable right under Insurance Corp. of Ireland v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (1982). Justice Barrett (joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kagan and Kavanaugh) dissented on the grounds that Pennsylvania’s statute conflicts with the Court’s personal jurisdiction jurisprudence since International Shoe Co. v. Washington (1945).

There is a lot to unpack about these opinions, including the case’s implications for personal jurisdiction over non-U.S. defendants. Stay tuned for more coverage from TLB.