Attributing One Party’s Contacts with the Forum State to Another: Conspiracy Jurisdiction in Alabama
Alabama Lawyer, Vol. 71, No. 4, p. 304, July 2010
7 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2010
Date Written: June 10, 2010
You don’t reside in the forum state. You have no office there, no personal representative to receive service on your behalf, no advertising targeted toward the forum state and you have not personally conducted business in the forum state. But you have a business associate who has. When your business associate is sued, can the court attribute his contacts with the forum state to you? What if the claimant alleges that you and your business associate conspired or are agents of one another? In other words, what effect does one defendant’s personal relationship with a foreign defendant have on the constitutional limits articulated in the “minimum contacts” analysis?
Attributing the jurisdictional contacts of one conspirator to his co-conspirator as an independent source of jurisdiction is deceptively attractive. It greatly simplifies the jurisdictional analysis. Instead of evaluating contacts under due process standards (International Shoe etc.), the court simply decides whether there was a conspiracy – a question more easily answered. But serious constitutional questions cloud its validity.
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