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Robert NICASTRO, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Roseanne Nicastro. No. 09–1343.Argued Jan. 11, 2011.Decided June 27, 2011. Opinion Justice KENNEDY announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Justice SCALIA, and Justice THOMAS join.
and to its own precedent, the “stream of commerce” metaphor carried the decision far afield. Due process protects the defendant’s right not to be coerced except by lawful judicial power. As a general rule, the exercise of judicial power is not lawful unless the defendant “purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.” Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253, 78 S.Ct. 1228, 2 L.Ed.2d 1283 (1958). There may be exceptions, say, for instance, in cases involving an intentional tort. But the general rule is applicable in this products-liability case, and the so-called “stream-of-commerce” doctrine cannot displace it.
I Whether a person or entity is subject to the jurisdiction of a state court despite not having been present in the State either at the time of suit or at the time of the alleged injury, and despite not having consented to the exercise of jurisdiction, is a question that arises with great frequency in the routine course of litigation. The rules and standards for determining when a State does or does not have jurisdiction over an absent party have been unclear because of decades-old questions left open in Asahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., Solano Cty., 480 U.S. 102, 107 S.Ct. 1026, 94 L.Ed.2d 92 (1987). Here, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, relying in part on Asahi, held that New Jersey’s courts can exercise jurisdiction over a foreign manufacturer of a product so long as the manufacturer “knows or reasonably should know that its products are distributed through a nationwide distribution system that might lead to those products being sold in any of the fifty states.” Nicastro v. McIntyre Machinery America, Ltd., 201 N.J. 48, 76, 77, 987 A.2d 575, 591, 592 (2010). Applying that test, the court concluded that a British manufacturer of scrap metal machines was subject to jurisdiction in New Jersey, even though at no time had it advertised in, sent goods to, or in any relevant sense targeted the State. That decision cannot be sustained. Although the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an extensive opinion with careful attention to this Court’s cases This case arises from a products-liability suit filed in New Jersey state court. Robert Nicastro seriously injured his hand while using a metal-shearing machine manufactured by J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. (J. McIntyre). The accident occurred in New Jersey, but the machine was manufactured in England, where J. McIntyre is incorporated and operates. The question here is whether the New Jersey courts have jurisdiction over J. McIntyre, notwithstanding the fact that the company at no time either marketed goods in the State or shipped them there. Nicastro was a plaintiff in the New Jersey trial court and is the respondent here; J. McIntyre was a defendant and is now the petitioner. At oral argument in this Court, Nicastro’s counsel stressed three primary facts in defense of New Jersey’s assertion of jurisdiction over J. McIntyre. See Tr. of Oral Arg. 29–30. First, an independent company agreed to sell J. McIntyre’s machines in the United States. J. McIntyre itself did not sell its machines to buyers in this country beyond the U.S. distributor, and there is no allegation that the distributor was under J. McIntyre’s control. Second, J. McIntyre officials attended annual conventions for the scrap recycling industry to advertise J. McIntyre’s machines alongside the distributor. The conventions took place in various States, but never in New Jersey.
2854. of Ireland v. from which it is proper to infer an intention to benefit from and thus an intention to submit to the laws of the forum State. at 295 . including the machine that caused the injuries that are the basis for this suit. Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations. There is. As a general rule.” Hanson.S.A. 457. It refers to the movement of goods from manufacturers through distributors to consumers. 311 U. In products-liability cases like this one. 414. 471 U. supra. In other words. S. the sovereign’s exercise of power requires some act by which the defendant “purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State. n. at 253. like other metaphors. These examples support exercise of the general jurisdiction of the State’s courts and allow the State to resolve both matters that originate within the State and those based on activities and events elsewhere.. it is the defendant’s purposeful availment that makes jurisdiction consistent with “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. or a course of conduct. 9 (1984). at 319 . It also noted that the U. the defendant might well fall within the State’s authority by reason of his attempt to obstruct its laws. as with an intentional tort.Third. 703 (1982).” Helicopteros. Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia. 8. In addition to these facts emphasized by petitioner. See Burnham.g. 78 S. results from its statement of the relation between jurisdiction and the “stream of commerce. 456 U.. Presence within a State at the time suit commences through service of process is another example. Id. Hall. for Cert.S. those who live or operate primarily outside a State have a due process right not to be subjected to judgment in its courts as a general matter. 298 (1980) (finding that expectation lacking).’ ” (1945) (quoting Milliken v. 463 (1940)). 286. to Pet. supra.. Rudzewicz. Where a defendant “purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State.Ct. The imprecision arising from Asahi. 408. 444 U. There is also a more limited form of submission to a State’s authority for disputes that “arise out of or are connected with the activities within the state. v. It merely observes that a defendant may in an appropriate case be subject to jurisdiction without entering the forum—itself an unexceptional proposition—as where manufacturers or distributors “seek to serve” a given State’s market. McIntyre held both United States and European patents on its recycling technology. thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws. 2 . post. for the most part. yet beyond that descriptive purpose its meaning is far from exact.” The stream of commerce. 78 S. of course. supra. supra. submission through contact with and activity directed at a sovereign may justify specific jurisdiction “in a suit arising out of or related to the defendant’s contacts with the forum. 466 U. v. distributor “structured [its] advertising and sales efforts in accordance with” J. But that statement does not amend the general rule of personal jurisdiction. explicit consent. Meyer. Burger King Corp. though in some cases. Each of these examples reveals circumstances. it submits to the judicial power of an otherwise foreign sovereign to the extent that power is exercised in connection with the defendant’s activities touching on the State. Woodson.Ct. v. Brown.” and that “at least some of the machines were sold on consignment to” the distributor. 462. 694. Insurance Corp.S.A.S. incorporation or principal place of business for corporations—also indicates general submission to a State’s powers. 1228. ended up in New Jersey. see App. By contrast. This Court has stated that a defendant’s placing goods into the stream of commerce “with the expectation that they will be purchased by consumers within the forum State” may indicate purposeful availment. McIntyre’s “direction and guidance whenever possible. has its deficiencies as well as its utility.S. S.” A person may submit to a State’s authority in a number of ways. Freeform notions of fundamental fairness divorced from traditional practice cannot transform a judgment rendered in the absence of authority into law. by analogy. 1228. v. 130a).” Hanson. 476 (1985). and n. Citizenship or domicile—or. no more than four machines (the record suggests only one. the New Jersey Supreme Court noted that J. E. II A court may subject a defendant to judgment only when the defendant has sufficient contacts with the sovereign “such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. World–Wide Volkswagen Corp. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee. p. at 414.” International Shoe Co. 357 U. thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.S.. at 253.S. Cf.
” U. This is consistent with the premises and unique genius of our Constitution. for example. not a majority of the Court. analysis. 115 S. In other words. The placement of a product into the stream of commerce. as a general rule. personal jurisdiction requires a forum-byforum. but the relevant part of that opinion. Sometimes a defendant does so by sending its goods rather than its agents..The principal inquiry in cases of this sort is whether the defendant’s activities manifest an intention to submit to the power of a sovereign. It discarded the central concept of sovereign authority in favor of considerations of fairness and foreseeability. The second principle is a corollary of the first. In this way.2d 881 (1995) (KENNEDY. thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws. As that concurrence contended. Insurance Corp. But Justice Brennan’s concurrence. In Asahi. And the issue of foreseeability may itself be contested so that significant expenses are incurred just on the preliminary issue of jurisdiction. Term Limits. Jurisdictional rules should avoid these costs whenever possible. The question is whether a defendant has followed a course of conduct directed at the society or economy existing within the jurisdiction of a given sovereign. Because the United States is a distinct sovereign. If foreseeability were the controlling criterion.S. establishing two orders of government. advocating a rule based on general notions of fairness and foreseeability. supra. a defendant may in principle be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States but not of any particular State. its own set of mutual rights and obligations to the people who sustain it and are governed by it. not his expectations.S. the defendant must “purposefully avai[l] itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State. however. is inconsistent with the premises of lawful judicial power. For jurisdiction. the courts have sought to reconcile the competing opinions. The owner of a small Florida farm might sell crops to a large nearby distributor. without more. 838. at 117. 1842. This Court’s precedents make clear that it is the defendant’s actions.. The standard set forth in Justice Brennan’s concurrence was rejected in an opinion written by Justice O’Connor. “jurisdiction premised on the placement of a product into the stream of commerce [without more] is consistent with the Due Process Clause. is not an act of the defendant purposefully directed toward the forum State. commanded the assent of only four Justices. who might then distribute them to grocers across the country. too.Ed. concurring). the opinion made foreseeability the touchstone of jurisdiction. The conclusion that the authority to subject a 3 . an opinion by Justice Brennan for four Justices outlined a different approach. Since Asahi was decided.Ct. that although this case and Asahi both involve foreign manufacturers. at 253 . at 704–705 (“[A]ctions of the defendant may amount to a legal submission to the jurisdiction of the court”).. the possibility of a lawsuit there cannot come as a surprise.” 480 U. J. Inc. Thornton. 779. It must be remembered. each with its own direct relationship. the undesirable consequences of Justice Brennan’s approach are no less significant for domestic producers.” Id. however. That would be an exceptional case.” Hanson.” for “[a]s long as a participant in this process is aware that the final product is being marketed in the forum State. 131 L. supra. The defendant’s transmission of goods permits the exercise of jurisdiction only where the defendant can be said to have targeted the forum. a litigant may have the requisite relationship with the United States Government but not with the government of any individual State. the farmer could be sued in Alaska or any number of other States’ courts without ever leaving town.. citations omitted). so that the sovereign has the power to subject the defendant to judgment concerning that conduct. v. or sovereign-by-sovereign. First. that empower a State’s courts to subject him to judgment. it is not enough that the defendant might have predicted that its goods will reach the forum State. That opinion stated: “The ‘substantial connection’ between the defendant and the forum State necessary for a finding of minimum contacts must come about by an action of the defendant purposefully directed toward the forum State. 1026 (opinion concurring in part and concurring in judgment). its own privity. Ours is “a legal system unprecedented in form and design. at 112 (emphasis deleted.S. It was the premise of the concurring opinion that the defendant’s ability to anticipate suit renders the assertion of jurisdiction fair. 514 U. 107 S.Ct.
So I think it unwise to announce a rule of broad applicability without full consideration of the modern-day consequences. the Supreme Court of New Jersey relied most heavily on three primary facts as providing constitutionally sufficient “contacts” with New Jersey. *** Due process protects petitioner’s right to be subject only to lawful authority. and San Francisco. Mr. in common-law fashion. On that basis. after discovery the trial court found that the “defendant does not have a single contact with New Jersey short of the machine in question ending up in this state. a British firm that manufactures scrap-metal machines in Great Britain and sells them through an independent distributor in the United States (American Distributor). The Supreme Court of New Jersey adopted a broad understanding of the scope of personal jurisdiction based on its view that “[t]he increasingly fast-paced globalization of the world economy has removed national borders as barriers to trade. I do not doubt that there have been many recent changes in commerce and communication.J. nor sent any employees to. 130a. I agree with the plurality that the contrary judgment of the Supreme Court of New Jersey should be reversed.” Id. to Pet. its independent American Distributor to sell its machines to anyone in America willing to buy them. Curcio..defendant to judgment depends on purposeful availment. I In asserting jurisdiction over the British Manufacturer. Nicastro’s employer. Indeed. consistent with Justice O’Connor’s opinion in Asahi. Mr. McIntyre engaged in conduct purposefully directed at New Jersey. these facts do not provide contacts between the British firm and the State of New Jersey constitutionally sufficient to support New Jersey’s assertion of jurisdiction in this case. None of our precedents finds that a single isolated 4 . In my view. for Cert. and its exercise of jurisdiction would violate due process. but they do not show that J. New Orleans. At no time did petitioner engage in any activities in New Jersey that reveal an intent to invoke or benefit from the protection of its laws. The defendant’s conduct and the economic realities of the market the defendant seeks to serve will differ across cases. 52 (2010). and (3) representatives of the British Manufacturer attended trade shows in “such cities as Chicago. indeed wanted. and it neither advertised in. McIntyre purposefully availed itself of the New Jersey market. McIntyre officials attended trade shows in several States but not in New Jersey. respondent Robert Nicastro failed to meet his burden to demonstrate that it was constitutionally proper to exercise jurisdiction over petitioner J. many of which are not anticipated by our precedents. McIntyre Machinery.” Nicastro v. San Diego. McIntyre Machinery America. the outcome of this case is determined by our precedents.S. with whom Justice ALITO joins. These facts may reveal an intent to serve the U. at 54–55 . Based on the facts found by the New Jersey courts. and judicial exposition will. Ltd. market. namely. New Jersey is without power to adjudge the rights and liabilities of J. it neither paid taxes nor owned property there. Justice BREYER. The contrary judgment of the New Jersey Supreme Court is Reversed. (2) the British Manufacturer permitted. 48. The British manufacturer had no office in New Jersey. Orlando. thereby making it fundamentally fair to hale the British Manufacturer before its courts: (1) The American Distributor on one occasion sold and shipped one machine to a New Jersey customer. does not by itself resolve many difficult questions of jurisdiction that will arise in particular cases. clarify the contours of that principle. Las Vegas. (British Manufacturer). the State. III Respondent has not established that J. and up to four machines ended up in New Jersey. J. concurring in the judgment. 201 N.. Ltd. McIntyre.” App. McIntyre’s machines in the United States. Recall that respondent’s claim of jurisdiction centers on three facts: The distributor agreed to sell J. But this case does not present any of those issues. In my view.
I cannot agree.. the relevant facts found by the New Jersey Supreme Court show no “regular . A The plurality seems to state strict rules that limit jurisdiction where a defendant does not “inten[d] to submit to the power of a sovereign” and cannot “be said to have targeted the forum. even if that defendant places his goods in the stream of commerce. focusing upon the relationship between “the defendant. Solano Cty. concurring in part and concurring in judgment) (jurisdiction should lie where a sale in a State is part of “the regular and anticipated flow” of commerce into the State. a company consigns the products through an intermediary (say. 444 U.. has shown no specific effort by the British Manufacturer to sell in New Jersey. World–Wide Volkswagen. He has introduced no list of potential New Jersey customers who might. concurring in part and concurring in judgment) (indicating that “the volume. II I would not go further.) (requiring “something more” than simply placing “a product into the stream of commerce. flow” or “regular course” of sales in New Jersey. this Court’s previous holdings suggest the contrary.” Ante. to adopt this view would abandon the heretofore accepted inquiry of whether. and there is no “something more.” i. Rather. v. And the Court. J. I am not persuaded by the absolute approach adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court and urged by respondent and his amici. 112 (1987) (opinion of O’Connor. Because the incident at issue in this case does not implicate modern concerns.S. 111.. 102. v.S. id. on the record present here. the forum. the value. have regularly attended trade shows. Nicastro. The Court has held that a single sale to a customer who takes an accident-causing product to a different State (where the accident takes place) is not a sufficient basis for asserting jurisdiction.2d. a producer is subject to jurisdiction for a products-liability action so long as it “knows or reasonably should know that its products are distributed through a nationwide distribution system that might lead to those products being sold in any of the fifty states. at 297–298 (internal quotation marks omitted). J. B But though I do not agree with the plurality’s seemingly strict no-jurisdiction rule. at 76– 77. supra. In the context of this case. an isolated occurrence). in light of the 5 .J.com) who then receives and fulfills the orders? And what if the company markets its products through popup advertisements that it knows will be viewed in a forum? Those issues have serious commercial consequences but are totally absent in this case. For one thing..” it is fair. Under that view.” 201 N. or anything else. has strongly suggested that a single sale of a product in a State does not constitute an adequate basis for asserting jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant. Mr. id.. at 2788. But what do those standards mean when a company targets the world by selling products from its Web site? And does it matter if.. Superior Court of Cal. 286 (1980). even if accompanied by the kind of sales effort indicated here. is sufficient.. See Asahi Metal Industry Co. Accordingly. Woodson.e. advertising. at 122 (Stevens. J. who here bears the burden of proving jurisdiction.sale. in separate opinions. 480 U. marketing. for example.. but not where that sale is only an “edd[y]. this is an unsuitable vehicle for making broad pronouncements that refashion basic jurisdictional rules. at 592 (emphasis added). at 117 (Brennan. Here. 987 A. instead of shipping the products directly. See World–Wide Volkswagen Corp.. resolving this case requires no more than adhering to our precedents. and because the factual record leaves many open questions.. and the litigation. advice. And he has not otherwise shown that the British Manufacturer “purposefully avail[ed] itself of the privilege of conducting activities” within New Jersey. or that it delivered its goods in the stream of commerce “with the expectation that they will be purchased” by New Jersey users.” such as special state-related design. fully aware (and hoping) that such a sale will take place. Amazon.” even if defendant is “awar[e]” that the stream “may or will sweep the product into the forum State”). and the hazardous character” of a good may affect the jurisdictional inquiry and emphasizing Asahi’s “regular course of dealing”).
of Justice. even those in respect to which the foreign firm has no connection at all but the sale of a single (allegedly defective) good. For another. distributor to ship its machines stateside. but also the wide variance in the way courts within different States apply that law. whom Justice KAGAN join. To that end. and no matter how few the number of items that end up in the particular forum at issue. 444 U. to respond to products-liability tort suits in virtually every State in the United States. 559. or. But manufacturers come in many shapes and sizes. But this Court has rejected the notion that a defendant’s amenability to suit “travel[s] with the chattel.defendant’s contacts with that forum. with SOTOMAYOR and Justice dissenting. at 291. 559. ranging from 17. Wis.S. selling to American distributors to understand not only the tort law of every State. I do not think we can find jurisdiction in this case. Justice GINSBURG.. 186 (1977) (emphasis added). e. large or small. A foreign industrialist seeks to develop a market in the United States for machines it manufactures. at 296. who resells a single item (a coffee mug) to a buyer from a distant State (Hawaii). It may be fundamentally unfair to require a small Egyptian shirt maker.)). A rule like the New Jersey Supreme Court’s would permit every State to assert jurisdiction in a products-liability suit against any domestic manufacturer who sells its products (made anywhere in the United States) to a national distributor.” each of which rest upon a particular notion of defendantfocused fairness. v. Where in the United States buyers reside does not matter to this manufacturer. to subject the defendant to suit there.Ct. C At a minimum. Heitner. wherever it can. it engages a U. Accordingly. I would not work such a change to the law in the way either the plurality or the New Jersey Supreme Court suggests without a better understanding of the relevant contemporary commercial circumstances. Tort Trials and Verdicts in Large Counties. Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin. 100 S. See. p. 2001.Ct. And a rule like the New Jersey Supreme Court suggests would require every product manufacturer.1% (Milwaukee. or expects..) to 69. severing its connection with the State. Dept. Washington. I cannot reconcile so automatic a rule with the constitutional demand for “minimum contacts” and “purposefu[l] avail[ment].9% (Worcester. Its goal is simply to sell as much as it can. Mass. I concur only in the judgment of that opinion and not its reasoning. passing the expected costs on to customers. It hopes to derive substantial revenue from sales it makes to United States purchasers. no matter how distant the forum. What might appear fair in the case of a large manufacturer which specifically seeks. 100 S. or a Kenyan coffee farmer. But. 297. a Brazilian manufacturing cooperative. 11 (reporting percentage of plaintiff winners in tort trials among 46 populous counties. It may be that a larger firm can readily “alleviate the risk of burdensome litigation by procuring insurance. It excludes no region or State from the market it wishes to reach. 310 6 . It would ordinarily rest jurisdiction instead upon no more than the occurrence of a product-based accident in the forum State. . supra. This case presents no such occasion. .” World–Wide Volkswagen. all things considered. . an equal-sized distributor to sell its product in a distant State might seem unfair in the case of a small manufacturer (say. if the risks are too great.S. And on those grounds. at 297.Ct. 433 U.g. and so I again reiterate that I would adhere strictly to our precedents and the limited facts found by the New Jersey Supreme Court.” World–Wide Volkswagen.S. I know too little about the range of these or in-between possibilities to abandon in favor of the more absolute rule what has previously been this Court’s less absolute approach. selling its products through international distributors. no matter how large or small the manufacturer. Has it succeeded in escaping personal jurisdiction in a State where one of its products is sold and causes injury or even death to a local user? Under this Court’s pathmarking precedent in International Shoe Co. Id. though I agree with the plurality as to the outcome of this case. 559 (internal quotation marks omitted).S. it prefers to avoid products liability litigation in the United States. an Appalachian potter) who sells his product (cups and saucers) exclusively to a large distributor.. 326 U. Shaffer v. 100 S.
see App. The instruction manual advises .” the 640 Shear’s design guarantees serviceability “wherever [its customers] may be based. In 2008. The Scrap–Heap Rollup Hits New Jersey. McIntyre UK represented in the brochure that. and other metals—more than any other State—outpacing Kentucky.000 potential buyers of scrap processing and recycling equipment attend its annual conventions. McIntyre UK’s president. at 31a. McIntyre Machinery America. conventions were held 1990–2005 in New Orleans. 43a. The event attracts “owners [and] managers of scrap processing companies” and others “interested in seeing—and purchasing—new equipment. 115a. by nearly 30 percent. Ibid.McIntyre UK representatives attended every ISRI convention from 1990 through 2005. furnaces. According to McIntyre UK’s product brochure. at 48a–49a.” Id.. Id.C.” sold in the United States for $24.” id. steel.. Ltd. Nicastro operated the 640 Shear in the course of his employment at Curcio Scrap Metal (CSM) in Saddle Brook.” But instead.J. in divergent opinions.730 tons of scrap iron. 201 N. 531. He attended ISRI’s Las Vegas convention the year CSM’s owner first learned of. and subsequent decisions. 78a. where [McIntyre UK] was an exhibitor.” App. at 78a–79a. 6a–8a (Complaint). the splintered majority today “turn[s] the clock back to the days before modern long-arm statutes when a manufacturer.Rev. at 48a–49a. New Jersey.” Id.. the 640 Shear..” including “the American National Standards Institute Regulations (USA) for the use of Scrap Metal Processing Equipment. at 43a. at 22a. at 44a. tell us that the manufacturer has avoided the jurisdiction of our state courts. “owner[s] and operators of a 640 Shear [to] make themselves aware of [applicable health and safety regulations].. 577 (2010). in addition to Las Vegas. develops and manufactures a complete range of equipment for metal recycling. J.” Id. 1. Von Haaren. 53. the world’s best aluminium dross processing and cooling system.2d 575. as advertised on McIntyre UK’s Web site.. McIntyre UK exhibited its products at ISRI trade shows. casting equipment and . 2001. A Map Out of the Personal Jurisdiction Labyrinth. and headquartered in Nottingham. June 1... & Goldstein. and San Francisco. Oct.. at 47a. Exhibitors who are ISRI members pay $3.” Ibid. “first heard of [McIntyre UK’s] machine while attending an Institute of Scrap Metal Industries [ (ISRI) ] convention in Las Vegas in 1994 or 1995. Business News New Jersey.(1945). p. 1998.. Id.” Id. (McIntyre UK). Ibid. cable and can recycling equipment. 33a. The machine that injured Nicastro. more than 3.000 for 10’ x 10’ booth space. Michael Pownall. one would expect the answer to be unequivocally. CSM’s owner. 987 A. six Justices of this Court. “No. McIntyre Machinery Ltd. its nearest competitor. Orlando. “New Jersey has long been a hotbed of scrap-metal businesses . at 47a.. “primarily because th[e] exposition provides them with the most comprehensive industry-related shopping experience concentrated in a single. 48. at 7a. balers. Id.” Ibid. These annual expositions were held in diverse venues across the United States. regularly attended ISRI conventions. McIntyre UK holds both United States and European patents on its technology. the machine is “use[d] throughout the [w]orld.” Id. and saw. Id. ISRI “presents the world’s largest scrap recycling industry trade show each year. McIntyre UK “designs. at 46a. BioCycle. id. England. Themelis. 19. includes “metal shears.. a three-ton metal shearing machine severed four fingers on Robert Nicastro’s right hand. Frank Curcio. Established in 1872 as a United Kingdom corporation. p. Alleging that the machine was a dangerous product defectively made..” Id. *2796 According to ISRI. Nicastro sought compensation from the machine’s manufacturer. Inconceivable as it may have seemed yesterday. 2010. except perhaps in States where its products are sold in sizeable quantities. Davis L. to avoid being haled into court where a user is injured. New Jersey recycling facilities processed 2. at 55. and features a “massive cutting capacity.” Weintraub. need only Pilate-like wash its hands of a product by having independent distributors market it. a “McIntyre Model 640 Shear. 28 U. 201 N. at 114a–115a. the company acknowledged. hoping to reach “anyone interested in 7 I On October 11.013.J... Nicastro v. aluminum. The company’s product line. 555 (1995)... by “incorporat[ing] off-the-shelf hydraulic parts from suppliers with international sales outlets. The State of Garbage in America.” See Drake. San Antonio. convenient location..900 in 1995..
S. McIntyre UK never instructed its distributor to avoid certain States or regions of the country. McIntyre UK’s Managing Director.S. to Gary and Mary Gaither. at 97. at 95. 78a.” App.” Nicastro v. 945 A. McIntyre UK’s president spoke plainly about the manufacturer’s objective in authorizing the exclusive distributorship: “All we wish to do is sell our products in the [United] States—and get paid!” Id. customers. In response to interrogatories. App. 108a.J. 1999)). McIntyre UK noted that the manufacturer had products liability insurance coverage.” Id. Ibid. Nicastro’s suit. Answering jurisdictional interrogatories. The machine arrived in Nicastro’s New Jersey workplace not randomly or fortuitously.. the manufacturer engaged McIntyre America to attract customers “from anywhere in the United States. Though similarly named. McIntyre America was concerned about U.Super. McIntyre UK counseled McIntyre America to respond personally to the litigation.2008). but reassured its distributor that “the product was built and designed by McIntyre Machinery in the UK and the buck stops here—if there’s something wrong with the machine. at 136a (Letter from Sally Johnson.” ibid. connections and distribution system that McIntyre UK deliberately arranged. Id. 945 A..2d. the two companies were separate and independent entities with “no commonality of ownership or management. Notably. in which the distributor had been named as a defendant. In invoices and other written communications.J. To achieve McIntyre UK’s objective. and can machines. at 129a. and Washington. McIntyre Machinery America. 13. 161a. I would hold. And in correspondence with McIntyre America..” At least as purposeful was McIntyre UK’s engagement of McIntyre America as the conduit for sales of McIntyre UK’s machines to buyers “throughout the United States.” Id.2d. He alleges that McIntyre UK’s shear machine was defectively designed or manufactured and. Over the years. earnings from sales of McIntyre UK products in the United States “ha[d] been good” in comparison to “the rest of the world. In sum. at 548. at 123a–128a. Kentucky. sales figures are not in the record. 945 A.. i. 104 (App. officers of McIntyre UK’s exclusive distributor in the United States (Jan. at 119a. Ltd. Id.. has been brought in a forum entirely appropriate for the adjudication of his claim. rather. McIntyre UK stated that it had been named as a defendant in lawsuits in Illinois. 1999 letter to McIntyre America. Ltd. “to sell [its] machines to customers throughout the United States. McIntyre UK stated that its commissioning engineer had installed the company’s equipment in several States—Illinois. at 134a. Virginia. 43a.. at 161a. in addition to the 640 Shear. McIntyre Machinery America.” Given McIntyre UK’s endeavors to reach and profit from the United States market as a whole. at 545. From at least 1995 until 2001. and West Virginia. In promoting McIntyre UK’s products at conventions and demonstration sites and in trade journal advertisements. Although McIntyre UK’s U. caused injury to him at his workplace... “as its exclusive distributor for the entire United States. McIntyre America described itself as McIntyre UK’s national distributor. wire strippers. McIntyre UK retained an Ohio-based company. “America’s Link” to “Quality Metal Processing Equipment” from England. (McIntyre America).Super.. as a result.S.” Id.the machine from anywhere in the United States. at 98a. McIntyre America looked to McIntyre UK for direction and guidance.2d 92.. Iowa.S.. 399 N. Kentucky. On what sensible view of the allocation of adjudicatory authority could the place of Nicastro’s injury within the United States be deemed off limits for his products liability claim against a foreign manufacturer who targeted the United States (including all the States that constitute the Nation) as the territory it sought to develop? *** III 8 .” Id. In a November 23. but as a result of the U.. 558. McIntyre UK’s “Niagara” and “Tardis” systems. at 129a–130a. litigation involving McIntyre UK products. “the two companies [were acting] closely in concert with each other. Id. Massachusetts. it appears that for several years in the 1990’s. as just noted.e. Id.” 399 N. including. McIntyre UK’s regular attendance and exhibitions at ISRI conventions was surely a purposeful step to reach customers for its products “anywhere in the United States. McIntyre America distributed several McIntyre UK products to U. 539.
2799. While I dissent from the Court’s judgment. the manufacturer will have liability insurance covering personal injuries caused by its products.V... by its actions targeting a national market. 5. not a market in a single State or a discrete collection of States.J. IV B The Court’s judgment also puts United States plaintiffs at a disadvantage in comparison to similarly situated complainants elsewhere in the world. Ibid.” Council Reg. that it would undermine principles of fundamental fairness to insulate the foreign manufacturer from accountability in court at the place within the United States where the manufacturer’s products caused injury. in which the United Kingdom is a participant. The modern approach to jurisdiction over corporations and other legal entities. but rather with its subjection to suit anywhere in the United States.” Burger King. The product proves defective and injures a user in the State where the user lives or works. ushered in by International Shoe. confronting facts similar to those here. *** For the reasons stated. The European Court of Justice has interpreted this prescription to authorize jurisdiction either where the harmful act occurred or at the *2804 place of injury. 1976 E.. But see ante.” this Court has explained. at 475. not in any particular State. 9 . v. I would hold McIntyre UK answerable in New Jersey for the harm Nicastro suffered at his workplace in that State using McIntyre UK’s shearing machine.R. “Th[e] ‘purposeful availment’ requirement. Bier B. The European Regulation on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments provides for the exercise of specific jurisdiction “in matters relating to tort . In sum. A. Like most foreign manufacturers. but anywhere and everywhere in the United States the distributor can attract purchasers. 1735. Courts. McIntyre UK. for that opinion would take a giant step away from the “notions of fair play and substantial justice” underlying International Shoe. as here.Ct.C. McIntyre UK thereby availed itself of the market of all States in which its products were sold by its exclusive distributor. 44/2001. “purposefully availed itself “ of the United States market nationwide. n. gave prime place to reason and fairness. See Handelskwekerij G. McIntyre UK dealt with the United States as a single market. Adjudicatory authority is appropriately exercised where “actions by the defendant himself ” give rise to the affiliation with the forum. Of particular note. it was concerned not with the prospect of suit in State X as opposed to State Y. They have held. 1748–1749. including the State where its defective product is distributed and causes injury. 2174. 105 S. A foreign-country manufacturer engages a U. 2001 O.This case is illustrative of marketing arrangements for sales in the United States common in today’s commercial world.S. have rightly rejected the conclusion that a manufacturer selling its products across the USA may evade jurisdiction in any and all States.S.. instead. the jurisdiction New Jersey would have exercised is not at all exceptional. Often.’ or ‘attenuated’ contacts.. Mines de Potasse d’Alsace S. in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred. (L. simply “ensures that a defendant will not be haled into a jurisdiction solely as a result of ‘random. I take heart that the plurality opinion does not speak for the Court. company to promote and distribute the manufacturer’s products. 471 U. Art. How could McIntyre UK not have intended.J.12) 4.. to sell products in the fourth largest destination for imports among all States of the United States and the largest scrap metal market? See supra. both state and federal. 6. relevant” to the personal jurisdiction inquiry). at 2790 –2791 (plurality opinion) (manufacturer’s purposeful efforts to sell its products nationwide are “not . by engaging McIntyre America to promote and sell its machines in the United States.’ ‘fortuitous. within the European Union. at 2795 – 2796.
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