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Civil Procedure

CASE BRIEF: Kulko v. Superior Court of California (55)


FACTS: Appellant, Ezra Kulko, marries appellee Sharon Kulko Horn in Cali, they move to NY,
separate, and Sharon moves to Cali. Per agreement, kids stay with Ezra during school yr in
NY, and with Sharon on vacation. Then, kids want to go to Cali for longer, dad agrees. Mom
sues for more money and full custody. Cali long arm allows for pj in all instances not
inconsistent with constitution and whenever reasonable..

PROCEDURE: Ezra appears specially to move to quash service of summons on ground that he was not a
resident of cali and lacked suff min contacts with the state to warrant states assertion of pj. TC
denies motion, cali court of appeal affirms, reasoning that by consenting to his childrens
living in cali, app had caused an effect in the state warranting exercise of jurisdiction.

ISSUE: Whether Cali state courts may exercise in personam jurisdiction over nonresident, non-
domiciliary parent of minor children domiciled within state under due process clause.

HOLDING: No PJ in this case because it would violate Due Process Clause of 14 th amendment and offend
traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice (shoe).

REASONING: 1) Essential criterion in all cases is whether the quality and nature of the Ds activity is such
that it is reasonable and fair to require him to conduct his defense in that state.
2) The unilateral activity of those who claim some relationship with a nonresident D
cannot satisfy the req of contact with the forum State. It is essential in each case that
there be some act by which the D purposefully avails himself of the privilege of
conducting activities within the forum State (Hanson v Denckla).
-this would cause unwanted impact in families
3) Kid purposefully avails, not the father
4) PJ based on The Circs in this case are unreasonable distinguish from Hess & physical
injury, no commercial transactions, no insurer over state, instead this action involves an
agreement that was entered into with virtually no connection with the forum state.

***Kulko had a broad long arm statute, not one that expressly indicates what the Cali interest is specifically by a statute*
In other words Effects test flies as long as its not unreasonable and having a statute in advance helps make it reasonable*
Also, for effects to work (westlaw), you need intent, effect, and reasonable foreseeing that the effect could have occurred
So why does she sue in Cali? Convenient for her, P friendly state, long arm statute is broad
Special (not consenting to PJ) v. General (consenting to judgement, which is good according to Penn) appearance
Min contact was developed for orporations in Intl shoe
1st, SC looks at cali long arm statute then applies min contacts test to make sure it doesnt interfere w/ due process
Ps effects test from tort law, when non resident causes an effectin another state, PJ.
-applied to these facts, dad consents to kids going from ny to cali causes a negative effect/injry on mom (she needs to take
care of them) SC does not like the effects test for establishing PJ
Center of gravity and unilateral activity dismissed as well someone who asks unilaterally and invokes J cannot get PJ overD
Is McGee still good law? Distinguish by insurance Co vs person prob more regulates on Incs co than on families
Yes McGee still good law bc its actually upheld here- mcgee talked about evolving standards of due process, and this case of
mere act of sending child is not fair.

5) Fairness: This single act is surely not one that a reasonable parent would expect to result
in sub financial burden and personal strain of litigating childsupport 3k miles away it
would impose an unreasonable burden on family relations.
6) The state has interests in protecting welfare of its minor residents and in promoting
possible healthy fam environment
-but center of gravity is no grounds for PJ (Hanson)
7) Theres another method for civil recourse for the P (this distinguishes this case from
Mcgee and Ps severe disadvantage in out of state insurance claims)
8) State court failed to heed admonition that the flexible standard of Shoe does not herald
the eventual demise of all restrictions on PJ (Hanson)
9) There are evolving standards of due process, but a mere act of sending a child does not
bring about a corresponding benefit that would make it fair for PJ.
10) Effects Test: Derived from Restatement of Conflict of Laws: A state has power to
exercise judicial jurisdiction over an individual who causes effects in the state by an act
done elsewhere with respect to any cause of action arising from these effects unless the
nature of the effects and of the individuals relationship to the state makes the exercise of
such jurisdiction unreasonable
-Intended to reach wrongful activity outside of state causing injury within the state i.e.
shooting bullet from one state into another, or commercial activity affecting residents so
all court needs to do is talk about how its unreasonable (which they do by comparing it to
all other cases with PJ studied thus far. And also talking about posing unreasonable burden
on family relations.

DISPOSITION: Concluded that appellants motion to quash service on lack of PJ was erroneously denied by
cali courts, Judgment of cali supreme court is reversed.

Dissent: Justice Brennan essentially says the SC may have got it right, but he thinks the connection
with State of cali is not too attenuated and may be reasonable to defend in cali.