Re-Examining New York’s Law of Personal Jurisdiction after Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown and J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro
47 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2012 Last revised: 21 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 20, 2012
On June 27, 2011, the Supreme Court announced two decisions striking down state court rulings because they violated the constitutional limits governing the exercise of jurisdiction over foreign entities: Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, in which the Court held that North Carolina had contravened the rules cabining “general” jurisdiction, and J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro, in which the same fate befell New Jersey’s attempt to rely on “specific” jurisdiction. The two cases are significant not only because they reversed the state courts but also because twenty-five years had passed since the Court had last decided a personal jurisdiction case, leaving contemporary state courts to interpret increasingly obsolete doctrine when dealing with relevant constitutional challenges. In the context of the present symposium we address the important question: How do — or should — these cases affect New York’s jurisdiction jurisprudence? In this Article we first describe the background cases that have informed the development of contemporary doctrines of personal jurisdiction. Second, we discuss the impact of Goodyear Dunlop, pointing out that a reasonable reading of the case would require some restriction of New York’s general jurisdiction over corporations. Third, we read the tea leaves left in the brew of the three different opinions — none of which commanded a majority — in Nicastro. We close with a Conclusion and some observations.
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