Andrew Pieper and John Katuska Look at Ramifications for Businesses of SCOTUS Expansion of General Personal Jurisdiction


In a new article for’s Corporate Counsel, litigators Andrew Pieper and John Katuska discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern, which addresses the question of whether a business may be subject to general personal jurisdiction in a state by virtue of its registration to do business in that state.

In contrast to specific personal jurisdiction—that which is exercised by a court over a defendant for alleged conduct demonstrably connected to the state in which the resulting lawsuit is filed—general jurisdiction is much broader, affording authority to state courts over any dispute involving a defendant, regardless of where the specific conduct alleged in the lawsuit occurred.

In its Mallory opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court seems to have expanded the number of jurisdictions in which corporate defendants may be subject to general personal jurisdiction. Over and above the generally accepted understanding of how such jurisdiction applies to corporations prior to the Mallory decision—i.e., an entity is subject to general jurisdiction only where it is incorporated or has its headquarters—corporations may now also be subject to the jurisdiction of courts in a state in which they have registered to do business.

“Companies should take notice of this decision,” Pieper and Katuska note, since they “may find themselves sued in states where they never expected to be subject to litigation and may be forced to navigate unfamiliar state court systems as a result. Plaintiffs may also try to use the ability to sue in others states to their advantage by shopping for a court or a jury pool that is more sympathetic to their interests.”

Pieper and Katuska suggest some actions for companies to take to limit their exposure to litigation in states where they are other than incorporated or headquartered, first and foremost: “Should a company no longer find it necessary to be registered in a particular state, it may be worthwhile to withdraw its registration.”

Read the full article here. (Subscription may be required.)

Karen Duffy, a 2023 summer associate at Stoel Rives LLP and current student at the University of Wisconsin Law School, assisted in the drafting of this article.

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