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Author Topic: Anyone here an expert on long-arm statutes & PJ in civ pro? Help needed!  (Read 1846 times)

Meek

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So I am reviewing for my civ pro final and I am still a bit confused about long arm statutes and when they are needed to establish PJ over non-residents. My professor says that even when there is minimum contacts and fairness/reasonableness satisfied you still need to see if the state's long arm statutes would reach the D, is this true? Also, my professor said that even when non-resident D is in the state voluntarily (i.e. like Burnham) and he has been served, you still have to consider the long arm statute. Is this correct? Thanks.

NYC2L

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So I am reviewing for my civ pro final and I am still a bit confused about long arm statutes and when they are needed to establish PJ over non-residents. My professor says that even when there is minimum contacts and fairness/reasonableness satisfied you still need to see if the state's long arm statutes would reach the D, is this true? Also, my professor said that even when non-resident D is in the state voluntarily (i.e. like Burnham) and he has been served, you still have to consider the long arm statute. Is this correct? Thanks.

The deal with long-arm statutes is that states can reach to the full extent of due process but they don’t have to. In other words, a state could require a greater degree of contacts to justify hauling a party into court than is required by due process.

The second statement is correct. Again, a state long arm statute could say that mere presence is not sufficient to establish jurisdiction. Instead, the state could require something more, like that the action occurred in the state or that the party conducts business within the state, etc.

The following is an excerpt from my civ pro outline on long arm statutes:

A.   Jurisdiction Statutes
     a.   Falls within terms of state statute
             i.   Gary – defined tortious as where injury occurs (broad)
            ii.   Feathers – defined tortious as where act took place (narrow)
                     1.   Gust – claim arising out of transaction for truck held not covered by    long-arm statute b/c D did not conduct business in state nor was tortious act committed in state
     b.   Jurisdiction constitutional – D establish significant relationship with forum
             i.   Domicile, in-state presence, continuous and substantial business in the state, consent, or minimum contacts with the state that gave rise to the claim in suit

resipsaloquitur

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You need both.  It's a two part process:

1. Statutory test. Look to the state's jurisdictional/long-arm statute. Determine if it is met.

2. Constitutional test. Look for minimum contacts. Figure out of it is "fair" to exercise PJ based on the contacts with the state. Pay particular attention for a traditional basis for PJ (consent, domicile, presence in the state when served process) since those get you to fairness right away.

Meek

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That makes more sense. But can a state also limit its own jurisdiction for residents by statute? How come I never see "long-arm statute" test for whether there is personal jurisdiction for residents? (For example, a state could say we will not have personal jurisdiction over anyone residing less than 2 years in this state...)

Jihad_Jesus

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To complicate things more, when you are assessing the long-arm statute you need to make sure that it does not grant jurisdiction beyond the scope of the constitution. Be sure that the long arm is not more broad than the minimal contacts interpretation.

Example: Pennsylvania long arm says, "All non-residents are subject to jurisdiction within Pennsylvania for any injuries caused by negligence to a Pennsylvania resident outside of the state of Pennsylvania."

Suppose now that X (a Pennsylvania resident) is driving around in California and gets into an accident with Y where Y is negligent. Y would be subject to PJ in Pennsylvania under the state long arm statute, however, this statute goes beyond the limits of the constitutional boundaries as it fails to meet minimal contacts. 
"I would make it my business to be a third wheel."

resipsaloquitur

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A jurisdictional statute applies to in-state and out-of-state defendants.  It's just not usually an issue for in-state defendants. 

A state can limit the reach of a jurisdictional statute, but it cannot make a jurisdictional statute that is unconstitutional. With your example of a state could saying it will not have personal jurisdiction over anyone residing less than 2 years in the state, there could probably be a due process problem if it effectively denies plaintiff a remedy (may not be able to sue D since there may be no PJ over D anywhere.)