June 18, 2014 Articles

The Changing Landscape of General Jurisdiction Post-Bauman

This decision will have an immense impact on a foreign corporation's amenability to bring suit in U.S courts.

By Adam W. Braveman

On January 14, 2014, the Supreme Court decided Daimler AG v. Bauman, No. 11-695 (2014), an extraordinarily important opinion with respect to general personal jurisdiction over corporations, particularly foreign corporations. In a unanimous decision (with Justice Sotomayor concurring), the Court held that general jurisdiction only exists over a corporation when “that corporation’s ‘affiliations with the State are so ‘continuous and systematic’ as to render [it] essentially at home in the forum State.’” Bauman, No. 11-695, slip op. at 20 (citation omitted). Thus, a foreign corporation that has no direct contacts with a forum state, but has subsidiaries or independent contractors doing business in the forum, will not satisfy the general-jurisdiction standard. As such, the decision severely restricts the ability of a plaintiff to hale foreign corporations into court on a theory of general jurisdiction.

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