Procedure Class Notes
Why does Yeazell save this case for last? The case sort of “blends” minimum contacts with fair play analysis, even though the court itself says that these are two separate tests.
Minimum contacts as a threshold
We’re two years before Asahi, which reasserts this threshold test. However, the Court also says if there’s lots of fair play, the minimum contacts required might be less.
could we argue that there are no contacts in this case? What do we know about Rudzewicz? He never went to
So you can make a good argument for no contacts.
would there be contacts? Rudzewicz and
his partner signed a 20-year franchise agreement with Burger King. Does the time period of the contract
matter? Yes. It’s not an isolated, one-time transaction. There shall be repeated contacts over a 20-year
period. It’s foreseeable that conflicts
may arise between the parties and that a lawsuit may be brought in
What else? World-Wide talked about “networks” of businesses where there is a free flow of information, products, and services. Does this franchise model work the same way? A franchise works more independently from its franchisor than a Volkswagen dealer with respect to the manufacturer and distributor.
contract itself says that it will be construed in accordance with the laws of
the state of
There are other things besides personal jurisdiction that courts decide before a trial, or in other words, before judging the case on its merits. The court looks at choice of law and venue in addition to jurisdiction. Usually, none of these is much of a challenge, but there will, of course, be some hard cases.
In a dispute, you can mutually choose what laws will govern the dispute, as long as there is some connection between the laws chosen and the parties.
There may also be a forum selection clause in a contract, where the parties agree ahead of time where suit will be brought in case there are any disputes.
turns out in
were there minimum contacts? They had a
long contract with Burger King. They
negotiated with Burger King in
do we distinguish Burger King from the other cases we’ve looked at
lately? It is the fact that getting sued
There’s one thing we know for sure from this case:
Simply making a contract with an out-of-state defendant is not enough to create sufficient contacts.
does the Supreme Court find that there is no jurisdiction over Seaway in World-Wide,
and yet there is jurisdiction over Rudzewicz in Burger King? How do we distinguish? Unlike Seaway, which has absolutely no
The Court describes Rudzewicz as a sophisticated businessman, though this level of sophistication is unimportant. The important thing is that he didn’t negotiate the contract with Burger King himself, but rather he had legal counsel who negotiated his contract for him.
Stevens says that Burger King could be settled merely on fairness grounds (he says it’s unfair) and that it’s unnecessary to do the minimum contacts test.
should Mr. Rudzewicz have done? He should
have sued Burger King in