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JURISDICTION - FRYE V. SMITH

In Frye v. Smith, [Ms. 1091386, Jan. 14, 2011] __ So. 3d __(Ala. 2011), the Supreme Court of Alabama affirmed a trial court's order dismissing claims against individual defendants based on lack of personal jurisdiction. This case began as a product liability action against General Motors Corporation alleging injuries and death caused by GMC's manufacture of a 1998 Chevy Blazer sport utility vehicle. In June of 2009, General Motors filed a notice of bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York thereby invoking the automatic stay codified at 11 U.S.C. ¤ 362. In September of 2009, the Plaintiffs amended their complaint to state claims against three individual defendants, including the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of General Motors, the former Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of General Motors, and the former Executive Vice President of General Motors. The individual defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against them for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of Alabama held that "it is clear that jurisdiction over individual officers or employees of a corporation may not be predicated merely upon jurisdiction over the corporation itself." In this case, the Plaintiffs failed to present evidence that would "amount to purposeful availment on the part of the individual defendants of the privilege of conducting activities within Alabama with respect to the 1998 Chevrolet Blazer sport utility vehicle." Therefore, the Court affirmed the trial court's order.

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