Procedure Class Notes
Note 3, page 136 – Volvo
are four parties: Volvo, Distributor, BrakeCo and the Dealer. Which ones will have the minimum contacts
necessary for personal jurisdiction in
about Volvo? What rule says that
about the national distributor? Under
what doctrine might
tough one is BrakeCo. Does
everyone is subject to personal jurisdiction in
Only four members of the Asahi court are left. As a practical matter, if another case came up, we’re not sure what would happen. The Supreme Court isn’t that interested in writing about personal jurisdiction right now. They had their fun in the 80’s.
He’s the one non-“fair play” vote. We don’t get his opinion because it’s not helpful for jurisdictional analysis. He argues that “fair play and substantial justice” are not in the Constitution, thus he won’t participate in writing this analysis.
How the Circuit Courts of Appeals apply Asahi
We know what the “fair play” test is. We have options as to the “minimum contacts” test that are unsettled. We have some questions about the relationship between the two.
The First Circuit uses stream of commerce plus, while the Fifth and Eighth Circuits use stream of commerce. Our Circuit, the Sixth, goes on a case-by-case basis.
Gonna go back in tiiime! 1985! Before Asahi!
and his partner decide to open a franchise in
Yeazell implies that this is the flip-side of Asahi, where, in his opinion, there are not contacts but it is fair.
are the contacts? There’s a contract. The contract was negotiated in
district court says that there is jurisdiction, and the trial on the merits goes
on to a Burger King victory amounting to millions. The Eleventh Circuit Court reverse the judgment
on the grounds that the district court did not properly exercise personal
jurisdiction. What does the Supreme
Court do? They reverse again, saying
Is this a two-part test? Is “minimum contacts” a threshold question?
Brennan states that it is, indeed, a two-part test. You do minimum contacts first, and then you look at fair play. You can cite Burger King if you want to prove there is a two-part test.
There might be meager minimum contacts, but if fair play (based on the five factors) is good enough, jurisdiction may still go forward. “If it’s really, really fair to exercise jurisdiction, we can let it slide by with less contacts than we normally would.” How does this fit together with the idea of minimum contacts as a threshold test?
Brennan, we’re confused! It’s sort of minimum contacts, then fair play, then the caveat above.
The court can waffle on this, but for our purposes, we may think about this as a two-part test.
There are always some areas where the court is not clear.
When judges use their authority to make pronouncements, we strive to use the most recent ruling. We also must vote count when we have multiple opinions.