Andrew Pieper and John Katuska Outline Possible Impacts of Upcoming SCOTUS Decision on Jurisdiction Over Corporations


In a new article for Corporate Counsel, litigators Andrew Pieper and John Katuska outline a case to be heard later this year by the Supreme Court, whose decision may upend the expectation a corporation can have as to where it is subject to “personal jurisdiction”—the determination of whether a court may hear claims against a defendant regardless of where alleged conduct occurred or only in the forum in which the defendant was sued.

The case, Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., concerns the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania statute requiring an out-of-state corporation that registers to do business in the state to also be made subject to general personal jurisdiction in the state’s courts. The statute means that such businesses may be “haled into Pennsylvania courts, even if there is no basis for specific personal jurisdiction in Pennsylvania and the registered businesses are neither incorporated nor maintain a principal place of business in Pennsylvania.”

The lower courts found for the railroad on the basis that the statute forces registered out-of-state corporations into a choice of either forgoing their opportunities to do business in Pennsylvania or registering in the state and submitting to general personal jurisdiction there and, in doing so, giving up their rights to due process.

In advance of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the authors suggest several steps companies can take to “minimize their risks of defending against lawsuits in unfavorable—and unfamiliar—courtrooms.”

You can read the full article here.

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