(251) 299-0101

Personal Jurisdiction

Facebook, Inc. v. K.G.S., etc., [Ms. 1170244, June 28, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2019). Justice Bryan, writing for the Court (Parker, C.J., and Shaw, Wise, Sellers, and Mendheim, JJ. concur; Bolin, J., concurs in the result; Stewart and Mitchell, JJ., recuse themselves) reverses a preliminary injunction entered in the Mobile Circuit Court, concluding that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over Facebook.

Applying Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 291 (2014), the Court held:

“The inquiry whether a forum State may assert specific jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant ‘focuses on “the relationship among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation.’” Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U.S. 770, 775 (1984) (quoting Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 204 (1977). For a State to exercise jurisdiction consistent with due process, the defendant’s suit-related conduct must create a substantial connection with the forum State. Two related aspects of this necessary relationship are relevant in this case. “First, the relationship must arise out of contacts that the ‘defendant himself’ creates with the forum State. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475 (1985). Due process limits on the State’s adjudicative authority principally protect the liberty of the nonresident defendant – not the convenience of plaintiffs or third parties. See World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. [v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286,] 291-292 [(1980)]. We have consistently rejected attempts to satisfy the defendant-focused ‘minimum contacts’ inquiry by demonstrating contacts between the plaintiff (or third parties) and the forum State. See Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 417 (1984) (‘[The] unilateral activity of another party or a third person is not an appropriate consideration when determining whether a defendant has sufficient contacts with a forum State to justify an assertion of jurisdiction’). ... Put simply, however significant the plaintiff’s contacts with the forum may be, those contacts cannot be ‘decisive in determining whether the defendant’s due process rights are violated.’ Rush v. Savchuk, 444 U.S. [320,] 332 [(1980)].

“Second, our ‘minimum contacts’ analysis looks to the defendant’s contacts with the forum State itself, not the defendant’s contact with persons who reside there. See, e.g., International Shoe [Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310,] 319 [(1945)] (Due process ‘does not contemplate that a state may make binding a judgment in personam against an individual ... with which the state has no contacts, ties, or relations’); Hanson [v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235,] 251 [(1958)] (‘However minimal the burden of defending in a foreign tribunal, a defendant may not be called upon to do so unless he has had the “minimal contacts” with that State that are a prerequisite to its exercise of power over him’).

...

[T]he plaintiff cannot be the only link between the defendant and the forum. Rather, it is the defendant’s conduct that must form the necessary connection with the forum State that is the basis for its jurisdiction over him. See Burger King, supra, at 478 (‘If the question is whether an individual’s contract with an out-of-state party alone can automatically establish sufficient minimum contacts in the other party’s home forum, we believe the answer clearly is that it cannot’); Kulko v. Superior Court of Cal., City and County of San Francisco, 436 U.S. 84, 93 (1978) (declining to ‘find personal jurisdiction in a State ... merely because [the plaintiff in a child support action] was residing there’). To be sure, a defendant’s contacts with the forum State may be intertwined with his transactions or interactions with the plaintiff or other parties. But a defendant’s relationship with a plaintiff or third party, standing alone, is an insufficient basis for jurisdiction. See Rush, supra, at 332 (‘Naturally, the parties’ relationships with each other may be significant in evaluating their ties to the forum. The requirements of International Shoe, however, must be met as to each defendant over whom a state court exercises jurisdiction’). Due process requires that a defendant be haled into court in a forum State based on his own affiliation with the State, not based on the ‘random, fortuitous, or attenuated’ contacts he makes by interacting with other persons affiliated with the State. Burger King, 471 U.S., at 475 (internal quotation marks omitted).” 571 U.S. at 283-86.

Ms. *25-28.

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