If you have ever had a contractual problem with a service provider, it is helpful to know a little about personal jurisdiction and of course, what your rights are. A nutshell explanation of the more modern trend in this area is that the defendant must have sufficient minimum contacts with the forum state such that maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.
Here is an outline I put together with the basics:
Sufficient minimum contacts
- Cause of action: when did the cause of action arise?
- Activities: scrutinize these activities in the forum state:
- Systematic and continuous = general jurisdiction
- Sporadic = specific jurisdiction
- Direct versus indirect
- Dangerous activity?
- Purposeful availment: as defendant purposefully availed itself of the benefits and protections of forum’s laws?
- Foreseeability: could defendant foresee or expect being haled into court? (Worldwide Volkswagen)
- Initiate: did defendant initiate contact with forum state?
Fair play and substantial justice
- Burden on the parties: economic, time, relative burdens.
- Law: what forum’s law?
- Interest of the state: in providing a forum for and protecting its citizens.
- Multiplicity of suits: will they all be resolved?
- Forum: alternative forum available? Fair and convenient?
- Evidence: where is the bulk of the evidence?
- Witnesses: where are the witnesses?