Civil Procedure Class Notes
another car accident! What
happened? Gibbons and the Browns were
the accident was in
sued for her injuries in
first lawsuit is Gibbons v. Clarence Brown. Two years later, also in
is the issue of this case? Is it a jurisdictional
issue? The question is whether the “long-arm”
case is irrelevant to the scheme of jurisprudence in this country.” It’s a “piddley
little case out of an intermediate court in
These statutes establish a subset of the scope of personal jurisdiction that the Constitution allows. If a state chooses, they can make their authority coextensive with the Due Process Clause: “The long-arm statute of the state of X is coextensive with the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.”
The first question you should ask when you are dealing with issues of personal jurisdiction is: Does it satisfy the long-arm statute? If the answer is “no”, then you’re done. If the answer is “yes”, then you move to Due Process. Courts will avoid ruling on constitutional questions when it can.
So, the long-arm statute offers a threshold test. You always look at it first, because it is no wider than the constitutional limit of the state’s authority.
Isn’t it possible that a state could have an unconstitutional long-arm statute?
If a long-arm statute partially busts out of Due Process, you may need to go to the next level to make sure that the statute itself is constitutional.
Is the first lawsuit by Gibbons “substantial and not isolated”? What if the first case wasn’t over? How would that affect our answer to this question? Uh…what was the answer to this question?
court keys in on the temporal aspect of Gibbons’s
activities. Is Gibbons engaged in
an activity? The court assumes
that the case is over. Based on this,
they say Gibbons is not currently engaged in any activities in
a practical aspect to this. If Gibbons
is subject to personal jurisdiction in
this situation to Adam v. Saenger. Saenger went to
states have gone the way of Helicopteros and the
Let’s say we’ve cleared the long-arm statute. How do we come out in Gibbons under Due Process? There’s no way you’d get general jurisdiction. Compare to Perkins and Rosenberg.
What about specific jurisdiction? Can we get Gibbons there? Gibbons availed herself of the courts. This is a closer case. Brennan would say there are minimum contacts (c.f. Burnham). Other justices might say that there is fairness, too.
aside: could Mrs. Brown have been somehow joined in the first lawsuit? Someone would have to try to bring her
in. Gibbons didn’t want to bring her
in. Mr. Brown could bring her in, but
then again, she is his wife. Donna
herself might not have been able to join the suit on her own in
 I’m experiencing major déjà vu on this point. I have a feeling somebody told me about this in a class in high school.