January 27, 2014 Articles

J. McIntyre Two Years Later: The Stream-of-Commerce Test Keeps on Rolling

There doesn't appear to have been any shift in jurisprudence since the case was decided.

By Katherine G. Cisneros

In 2011, the Supreme Court had an opportunity to clarify the test for personal jurisdiction under the stream-of-commerce theory. Twenty-four years earlier, Asahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court, 480 U.S. 102 (1987), produced two competing tests with no majority opinion:Justice O’Connor’s “stream of commerce plus” test and Justice Brennan’s “mere foreseeability” test. Although J. McIntyre Machinery, LTD. v. Nicastro, 131 S. Ct. 2780 (2011), again produced no majority opinion, many commentators read the plurality and concurring opinions as signaling a more narrow personal-jurisdiction test for foreign manufacturers who place their products in the stream of commerce. Two years later, however, a survey of the lower courts shows that McIntyre has resulted in no significant shift in stream-of-commerce jurisprudence.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now