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Meeting Expectations: Two Profiles for Specific Jurisdiction

43 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2007  

Linda Sandstrom Simard

Suffolk University Law School


Personal jurisdiction doctrine is based upon the notion that the exercise of authority over a defendant is fair if the defendant has the ability to predict and control its jurisdictional exposure. Yet, the Supreme Court has neglected to clearly define the criteria by which courts are to define the scope of either general or specific personal jurisdiction, leading to a blurring of the concepts and disagreement among courts and scholars as to the appropriate contours of both types of jurisdiction. This Article focuses on defining the scope of specific jurisdiction to accurately reflect the purpose of the doctrine and suggests that it is a mistake to assume that all assertions of specific jurisdiction may be defined according to a single set of criteria. Rather, the purpose of specific jurisdiction is best achieved by creating two profiles of specific jurisdiction, episodic specific jurisdiction and systematic specific jurisdiction. These profiles would share the basic characteristics of specific jurisdiction (conferring limited jurisdictional authority) while also recognizing that the scope of specific jurisdiction should depend upon whether the defendant expects its forum conduct to be of a finite nature (which would confer a narrower scope of specific jurisdiction) or whether the defendant intends to create an ongoing, systematic relationship with the forum (which would create a broader scope of specific jurisdiction, but one that is still less expansive than general jurisdiction).

Keywords: personal jurisdiction, minimum contacts, specific jurisdiction, general jurisdiction, nexus, dispute specific jurisdiction

Suggested Citation

Simard, Linda Sandstrom, Meeting Expectations: Two Profiles for Specific Jurisdiction. Indiana Law Review, Vol. 38, p. 343, 2005. Available at SSRN:

Linda Sandstrom Simard (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States

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