Corporate Law and the Reach of Courts

20 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2016 Last revised: 9 Jan 2016

See all articles by Verity Winship

Verity Winship

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: December 30, 2015


Large businesses are often organized into a complicated web of interrelated corporations. Yet in many areas of U.S. law, jurisdictional and substantive rules focus only on the single entity, creating a mismatch between legal doctrine and the organization of business into corporate groups or conglomerates. Drawing on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman, this article considers one aspect of this problem: the extent to which a subsidiary’s contacts “count” as those of the corporate parent for court jurisdiction. Courts, litigants, and commentators often look to corporate law for part of the answer. During oral argument in Daimler AG v. Bauman, Justice Breyer went so far as to say that he saw the relevant contacts “through the lens of corporate law.” This article makes the case for a very limited role for corporate law in determining the reach of courts.

Keywords: corporate groups, jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, general jurisdiction, Bauman, Daimler AG, Supreme Court, corporate law, conglomerates

JEL Classification: K00, K41, K22

Suggested Citation

Winship, Verity, Corporate Law and the Reach of Courts (December 30, 2015). Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 19, No. 3, 2015 (Symposium on Personal Jurisdiction), University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-2, Available at SSRN:

Verity Winship (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-244-8161 (Phone)


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