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Personal Jurisdiction and Aliens

59 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2017 Last revised: 26 Sep 2017

William S. Dodge

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Scott Dodson

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Date Written: August 22, 2017

Abstract

The increasing prevalence of noncitizens in U.S. civil litigation raises a fundamental question for the doctrine of personal jurisdiction: how should the alienage status of a defendant affect personal jurisdiction? This fundamental question comes at a time of increasing Supreme Court focus on personal jurisdiction, in cases like Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court, Daimler AG v. Bauman, and J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro. We aim to answer that question by offering a theory of alienage personal jurisdiction. Under this theory, alienage status broadens the geographic range for minimum contacts from a single state to the whole nation. This national-contacts test applies to personal jurisdiction over an alien defendant whether the cause of action is federal or state law, and whether the case is heard in federal or state court. We show that the test is both consistent with the Constitution and consonant with the practical realities of modern transnational litigation. We also explore the moderating influence of other doctrines, such as reasonableness, venue transfer, and forum non conveniens, on the expanded reach of our national-contacts test. In the end, we hope to articulate a more sensible and coherent doctrine of personal jurisdiction and alien defendants that will resonate with the Supreme Court.

Keywords: personal jurisdiction, specific jurisdiction, general jurisdiction, aliens, nicastro, bms, bristol-myers squibb, daimler, mcintyre

Suggested Citation

Dodge, William S. and Dodson, Scott, Personal Jurisdiction and Aliens (August 22, 2017). 116 Michigan Law Review (2018 Forthcoming); UC Hastings Research Paper No. 249. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3024207

William S. Dodge

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States

Scott Dodson (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
415-581-8959 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uchastings.edu/faculty-administration/faculty/dodson/index.html

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