May 03, 2017 Articles

Bauman Strikes Again: Personal Jurisdiction and Mass Torts in the Show-Me State

By John Schlafer

All mass tort litigators worth their salt have been paying attention to how Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746, 751 (2014), would affect our practice since it came down. The nerdier among us have been debating whether it should be called Bauman or Daimler. The reverberations of Bauman on specific personal jurisdiction have been the frequent topic of articles published by the Mass Torts Committee. See Carolyn R. Davis & Allison H. Semaya, “Exploring the Limits of Specific Jurisdiction” (Mar. 10, 2017);  Jordon Greenlee & Courtney Ward-Reichard, “Implications of Perez v. Air & Liquid Systems for Post-Daimler Personal Jurisdiction” (Mar. 10, 2017); Joel Winebrenner & Jeff Wojciechowski, “Supreme Court to Address Constitutional Limits of Personal Jurisdiction” (Feb. 28, 2017).

On February 28, 2017, Bauman came to the state of Missouri when the Missouri Supreme Court issued its en banc opinion in State ex rel. Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. Dolan, No. SC95514 (Mo. Feb. 28, 2017). Relying in large part on Bauman, the Missouri Supreme Court held that—absent (1) incorporation of a business in Missouri, (2) establishment of a principal place of business in Missouri, or (3) contacts with Missouri that are so extensive that Missouri “in effect, becomes another home state” for a company—Missouri courts do not have general personal jurisdiction over a corporation. In Norfolk, the court held that despite defendant Norfolk Southern Railway’s “substantial and continuous business in Missouri,” its contacts with Missouri were not “so extensive and all-encompassing” that general personal jurisdiction exists.

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