141 S. Ct. 1017
The 2021 Supreme Court case Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court dealt with a dispute over personal jurisdiction. Two plaintiffs from Montana and Minnesota sued Ford, claiming that defects in its cars caused their injuries. Although Ford was not incorporated in those states and the specific cars involved were not made, designed, or sold there, the company did market, sell, and service other similar vehicles in those states.
Ford argued that having jurisdiction in Montana and Minnesota would violate due process, but the Supreme Court disagreed. They found that the plaintiffs' claims were related to Ford's activities in those states since they involved the same types of vehicles. The Court used a flexible approach, stating that a causal link between the company's activities and the plaintiffs' claims didn't have to be proven.
This case clarified when out-of-state defendants can be subjected to jurisdiction based on their connections to the forum state. It reinforced the idea that a connection is required, but not necessarily a causal one, and it depends on the specific facts of the case.
The justices unanimously agreed on the flexible approach to specific jurisdiction, with Justice Kagan writing the majority opinion. The Court didn't address whether the same result would apply if the plaintiffs were not residents of the forum states or if the claims were about a different kind of product.
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