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Due Process and Personal Jurisdiction

The Fifth Amendment requires “due process of law” in disputes that impact someone’s freedom, life, or property. Due process encompasses a lot of different things, one of which is the authority courts have to hear different cases. Due process requires that the court where the legal action is filed must have “personal jurisdiction” over the parties involved. There are many different ways personal jurisdiction can be established, explained in more detail below.

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What the Fifth Amendment Says

“No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;”

Personal Jurisdiction Under the Due Process Clause

United States Library of Congress, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation

Jurisdiction may be defined as the power of a government to create legal interests, and the Court has long held that the Due Process Clause limits the abilities of states to exercise this power.1 In the famous case of Pennoyer v. Neff,2 the Court enunciated two principles of jurisdiction respecting the states in a federal system3:

First, every state possesses exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty over persons and property within its territory, and second, no state can exercise direct jurisdiction and authority over persons or property without its territory.4 Over a long period of time, however, the mobility of American society and the increasing complexity of commerce led to attenuation of the second principle of Pennoyer, and consequently, the Court established the modern standard of obtaining jurisdiction based upon the nature and the quality of contacts that individuals and corporations have with a state.5 This minimum contacts test, consequently, permits state courts to obtain power over out-of-state defendants.

In Personam Proceedings Against Individuals

How jurisdiction is determined depends on the nature of the suit being brought. If a dispute is directed against a person, not property, the proceedings are considered in personam, and jurisdiction must be established over the defendant’s person in order to render an effective decree.6 Generally, presence within the state is sufficient to create personal jurisdiction over an individual, if process is served.7 In the case of a resident who is absent from the state, domicile alone is deemed to be sufficient to keep him within reach of the state courts for purposes of a personal judgment, and process can be obtained by means of appropriate, substituted service or by actual personal service on the resident outside the state.8 However, if the defendant, although technically domiciled there, has left the state with no intention to return, service by publication, as compared to a summons left at his last and usual place of abode where his family continued to reside, is inadequate, because it is not reasonably calculated to give actual notice of the proceedings and opportunity to be heard.9

With respect to a nonresident, it is clearly established that no person can be deprived of property rights by a decree in a case in which he neither appeared nor was served or effectively made a party.10 The early cases held that the process of a court of one state could not run into another and summon a resident of that state to respond to proceedings against him, when neither his person nor his property was within the jurisdiction of the court rendering the judgment.11 This rule, however, has been attenuated in a series of steps.

Consent has always been sufficient to create jurisdiction, even in the absence of any other connection between the litigation and the forum. For example, the appearance of the defendant for any purpose other than to challenge the jurisdiction of the court was deemed a voluntary submission to the court’s power,12 and even a special appearance to deny jurisdiction might be treated as a consensual submission to the court.13 The concept of constructive consent was then seized upon as a basis for obtaining jurisdiction. For instance, with the advent of the automobile, States were permitted to engage in the fiction that the use of their highways was conditioned upon the consent of drivers to be sued in state courts for accidents or other transactions arising out of such use. Thus, a state could designate a state official as a proper person to receive service of process in such litigation, and establishing jurisdiction required only that the official receiving notice communicate it to the person sued.14

Although the Court approved of the legal fiction that such jurisdiction arose out of consent, the basis for jurisdiction was really the state’s power to regulate acts done in the state that were dangerous to life or property.15 Because the state did not really have the ability to prevent nonresidents from doing business in their state,16 this extension was necessary in order to permit states to assume jurisdiction over individuals doing business within the state. Thus, the Court soon recognized that doing business within a state was itself a sufficient basis for jurisdiction over a nonresident individual, at least where the business done was exceptional enough to create a strong state interest in regulation, and service could be effectuated within the state on an agent appointed to carry out the business.17

The culmination of this trend, established in International Shoe Co. v. Washington,18 was the requirement that there be minimum contacts with the state in question in order to establish jurisdiction. The outer limit of this test is illustrated by Kulko v. Superior Court,19 in which the Court held that California could not obtain personal jurisdiction over a New York resident whose sole relevant contact with the state was to send his daughter to live with her mother in California.20 The argument was made that the father had caused an effect in the state by availing himself of the benefits and protections of California’s laws and by deriving an economic benefit in the lessened expense of maintaining the daughter in New York. The Court explained that, [l]ike any standard that requires a determination of ‘reasonableness,’ the ‘minimum contacts’ test is not susceptible of mechanical application; rather, the facts of each case must be weighed to determine whether the requisite ‘affiliating circumstances’ are present.21 Although the Court noted that the effects test had been accepted as a test of contacts when wrongful activity outside a state causes injury within the state or when commercial activity affects state residents, the Court found that these factors were not present in this case, and any economic benefit to Kulko was derived in New York and not in California.22 As with many such cases, the decision was narrowly limited to its facts and does little to clarify the standards applicable to state jurisdiction over nonresidents.

Walden v. Fiore further articulated what minimum contacts are necessary to create jurisdiction as a result of the relationship between the defendant, the forum, and the litigation.23 In Walden, the plaintiffs, who were residents of Nevada, sued a law enforcement officer in federal court in Nevada as a result of an incident that occurred in an airport in Atlanta as the plaintiffs were attempting to board a connecting flight from Puerto Rico to Las Vegas. The Court held that the court in Nevada lacked jurisdiction because of insufficient contacts between the officer and the state relative to the alleged harm, as no part of the officer's conduct occurred in Nevada. In so holding, the Court emphasized that the minimum contacts inquiry should not focus on the resulting injury to the plaintiffs; instead, the proper question is whether the defendant's conduct connects him to the forum in a meaningful way.24

Suing Out-of-State (Foreign) Corporations

A curious aspect of American law is that a corporation has no legal existence outside the boundaries of the state chartering it.25 Thus, the basis for state court jurisdiction over an out-of-state (foreign) corporation has been even more uncertain than that with respect to individuals. Before International Shoe Co. v. Washington,26 it was asserted that, because a corporation could not carry on business in a state without the state’s permission, the state could condition its permission upon the corporation’s consent to submit to the jurisdiction of the state’s courts, either by appointment of someone to receive process or in the absence of such designation, by accepting service upon corporate agents authorized to operate within the state.27 Further, by doing business in a state, the corporation was deemed to be present there and thus subject to service of process and suit.28 This theoretical corporate presence conflicted with the idea of corporations having no existence outside their state of incorporation, but it was nonetheless accepted that a corporation doing business in a state to a sufficient degree was present for service of process upon its agents in the state who carried out that business.29

Presence alone, however, does not expose a corporation to all manner of suits through the exercise of general jurisdiction. Only corporations, whose continuous and systematic affiliations with a forum make them essentially at home there, are broadly amenable to suit.30 While the paradigmatic examples of where a corporate defendant is at home are the corporation's place of incorporation and principal place of business,31 the Court has recognized that in exceptional cases general jurisdiction can be exercised by a court located where the corporate defendant's operations are so substantial as to render the corporation at home in that state.32 Nonetheless, insubstantial in-state business, in and of itself, does not suffice to permit an assertion of jurisdiction over claims that are unrelated to any activity occurring in a state.33 Without the protection of such a rule, foreign corporations would be exposed to the manifest hardship and inconvenience of defending, in any state in which they happened to be carrying on business, suits for torts wherever committed and claims on contracts wherever made.34 And if the corporation stopped doing business in the forum state before suit against it was commenced, it might well escape jurisdiction altogether.35

In early cases, the issue of the degree of activity and, in particular, the degree of solicitation that was necessary to constitute doing business by a foreign corporation, was much disputed and led to very particularistic holdings.36 In the absence of enough activity to constitute doing business, the mere presence of an agent, officer, or stockholder, who could be served, within a state's territorial limits was not sufficient to enable the state to exercise jurisdiction over the foreign corporation.37 The touchstone in jurisdiction cases was recast by International Shoe Co. v. Washington and its minimum contacts analysis.38 International Shoe, an out-of-state corporation, had not been issued a license to do business in the State of Washington, but it systematically and continuously employed a sales force of Washington residents to solicit therein and thus was held amenable to suit in Washington for unpaid unemployment compensation contributions for such salesmen. The Court deemed a notice of assessment served personally upon one of the local sales solicitors, and a copy of the assessment sent by registered mail to the corporation's principal office in Missouri, sufficient to apprise the corporation of the proceeding.

To reach this conclusion, the Court not only overturned prior holdings that mere solicitation of business does not constitute a sufficient contact to subject a foreign corporation to a state’s jurisdiction,39 but also rejected the presence test as begging the question to be decided. The terms ‘present’ or ‘presence,’ according to Chief Justice Stone, are used merely to symbolize those activities of the corporation’s agent within the State which courts will deem to be sufficient to satisfy the demands of due process. Those demands may be met by such contacts of the corporation with the State of the forum as make it reasonable, in the context of our federal system, to require the corporation to defend the particular suit which is brought there; [and] that the maintenance of the suit does not offend 'traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice'. An ‘estimate of the inconveniences' which would result to the corporation from a trial away from its ‘home’ or principal place of business is relevant in this connection.40 As to the scope of application to be accorded this fair play and substantial justice doctrine, the Court concluded that so far as [corporate] obligations arise out of or are connected with activities within the State, a procedure which requires the corporation to respond to a suit brought to enforce them can, in most instances, hardly be said to be undue.41

Extending this logic, a majority of the Court ruled that an out-of-state association selling mail-order insurance had developed sufficient contacts and ties with Virginia residents so that the state could institute enforcement proceedings under its Blue Sky Law by forwarding notice to the company by registered mail, notwithstanding that the Association solicited business in Virginia solely through recommendations of existing members and was represented therein by no agents whatsoever.42 The Due Process Clause was declared not to forbid a State to protect its citizens from such injustice of having to file suits on their claims at a far distant home office of such company, especially in view of the fact that such suits could be more conveniently tried in Virginia where claims of loss could be investigated.43

Likewise, the Court reviewed a California statute which subjected foreign mail-order insurance companies engaged in contracts with California residents to suit in California courts, and which had authorized the petitioner to serve a Texas insurer by registered mail only.44 The contract between the company and the insured specified that Austin, Texas, was the place of making and the place where liability should be deemed to arise. The company mailed premium notices to the insured in California, and he mailed his premium payments to the company in Texas. Acknowledging that the connection of the company with California was tenuous—it had no office or agents in the state and no evidence had been presented that it had solicited anyone other than the insured for business—the Court sustained jurisdiction on the basis that the suit was on a contract which had a substantial connection with California. The contract was delivered in California, the premiums were mailed there and the insured was a resident of that State when he died. It cannot be denied that California has a manifest interest in providing effective means of redress for its residents when their insurers refuse to pay claims.45

In making this decision, the Court noted that [l]ooking back over the long history of litigation a trend is clearly discernible toward expanding the permissible scope of state jurisdiction over foreign corporations and other nonresidents.46 However, in Hanson v. Denckla, decided during the same Term, the Court found in personam jurisdiction lacking for the first time since International Shoe Co. v. Washington, pronouncing firm due process limitations. In Hanson,47 the issue was whether a Florida court considering a contested will obtained jurisdiction over corporate trustees of disputed property through use of ordinary mail and publication. The will had been entered into and probated in Florida, the claimants were resident in Florida and had been personally served, but the trustees, who were indispensable parties, were resident in Delaware. Noting the trend in enlarging the ability of the states to obtain in personam jurisdiction over absent defendants, the Court denied the exercise of nationwide in personam jurisdiction by states, saying that it would be a mistake to assume that th[e] trend [to expand the reach of state courts] heralds the eventual demise of all restrictions on the personal jurisdiction of state courts.48

The Court recognized in Hanson that Florida law was the most appropriate law to be applied in determining the validity of the will and that the corporate defendants might be little inconvenienced by having to appear in Florida courts, but it denied that either circumstance satisfied the Due Process Clause. The Court noted that due process restrictions do more than guarantee immunity from inconvenient or distant litigation, in that [these restrictions] are consequences of territorial limitations on the power of the respective States. However minimal the burden of defending in a foreign tribunal, a defendant may not be called upon to do so unless he has the ‘minimum contacts’ with that State that are a prerequisite to its exercise of power over him. The only contacts the corporate defendants had in Florida consisted of a relationship with the individual defendants. The unilateral activity of those who claim some relationship with a nonresident defendant cannot satisfy the requirement of contact with the forum State. The application of that rule will vary with the quality and nature of the defendant’s activity, but it is essential in each case that there be some act by which the defendant purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws. The settlor’s execution in Florida of her power of appointment cannot remedy the absence of such an act in this case.49

The Court continued to apply International Shoe principles in diverse situations. Thus, circulation of a magazine in a state was an adequate basis for that state to exercise jurisdiction over an out-of-state corporate magazine publisher in a libel action. The fact that the plaintiff did not have minimum contacts with the forum state was not dispositive since the relevant inquiry is the relations among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation.50 Or, damage done to the plaintiff’s reputation in his home state caused by circulation of a defamatory magazine article there may justify assertion of jurisdiction over the out-of-state authors of such article, despite the lack of minimum contact between the authors (as opposed to the publishers) and the state.51 Further, though there is no per se rule that a contract with an out-of-state party automatically establishes jurisdiction to enforce the contract in the other party’s forum, a franchisee who has entered into a franchise contract with an out-of-state corporation may be subject to suit in the corporation’s home state where the overall circumstances (contract terms themselves, course of dealings) demonstrate a deliberate reaching out to establish contacts with the franchisor in the franchisor’s home state.52

The Court has continued to wrestle over when a state may adjudicate a products liability claim for an injury occurring within it, at times finding the defendant's contacts with the place of injury to be too attenuated to support its having to mount a defense there. In World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson,53 the Court applied its minimum contacts test to preclude the assertion of jurisdiction over two foreign corporations that did no business in the forum state. Plaintiffs had sustained personal injuries in Oklahoma in an accident involving an alleged defect in their automobile. The car had been purchased the previous year in New York, the plaintiffs were New York residents at time of purchase, and the accident had occurred while they were driving through Oklahoma on their way to a new residence in Arizona. Defendants were the automobile retailer and its wholesaler, both New York corporations that did no business in Oklahoma. The Court found no circumstances justifying assertion by Oklahoma courts of jurisdiction over defendants. The Court found that the defendants (1) carried on no activity in Oklahoma, (2) closed no sales and performed no services there, (3) availed themselves of none of the benefits of the state’s laws, (4) solicited no business there either through salespersons or through advertising reasonably calculated to reach the state, and (5) sold no cars to Oklahoma residents or indirectly served or sought to serve the Oklahoma market. Although it might have been foreseeable that the automobile would travel to Oklahoma, foreseeability was held to be relevant only insofar as the defendant’s conduct and connection with the forum State are such that he should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.54 The Court in World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. contrasted the facts of the case with the instance of a corporation deliver[ing] its products into the stream of commerce with the expectation that they will be purchased by consumers in the forum State.55

In Asahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court,56 the Court addressed more closely how jurisdiction flows with products downstream. The Court identified two standards for limiting jurisdiction even as products proceed to foreseeable destinations. The more general standard harked back to the fair play and substantial justice doctrine of International Shoe and requires balancing the respective interests of the parties, the prospective forum state, and alternative fora. All the Justices agreed with the legitimacy of this test in assessing due process limits on jurisdiction.57 However, four Justices would also apply a more exacting test: A defendant who placed a product in the stream of commerce knowing that the product might eventually be sold in a state will be subject to jurisdiction there only if the defendant also had purposefully acted to avail itself of the state's market. According to Justice O’Connor, who wrote the opinion espousing this test, a defendant subjected itself to jurisdiction by targeting or serving customers in a state through, for example, direct advertising, marketing through a local sales agent, or establishing channels for providing regular advice to local customers. Action, not expectation, is key.58 In Asahi, the state was found to lack jurisdiction under both tests cited.

Doctrinal differences on the due process touchstones in stream-of-commerce cases became more critical to the outcome in J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro.59 Justice Kennedy, writing for a four-Justice plurality, asserted that it is a defendant's purposeful availment of the forum state that makes jurisdiction consistent with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. The question is not so much the fairness of a state reaching out to bring a foreign defendant before its courts as it is a matter of a foreign defendant having acted within a state so as to bring itself within the state's limited authority. Thus, a British machinery manufacturer who targeted the U.S. market generally through engaging a nationwide distributor and attending trade shows, among other means, could not be sued in New Jersey for an industrial accident that occurred in the state. Even though at least one of its machines (and perhaps as many as four) were sold to New Jersey concerns, the defendant had not purposefully targeted the New Jersey market through, for example, establishing an office, advertising, or sending employees.60 Concurring with the plurality, Justice Breyer emphasized the outcome lay in stream-of-commerce precedents that held isolated or infrequent sales could not support jurisdiction. At the same time, Justice Breyer cautioned against adoption of the plurality's strict active availment of the forum rule, especially because the Court had yet to consider due process requirements in the context of evolving business models, modern e-commerce in particular.61

Nonetheless, in order for a state court to exercise specific jurisdiction, the suit must arise out of or relate to the defendant's contacts with the forum,62 and when there is no such connection, specific jurisdiction is lacking regardless of the extent of a defendant's unconnected activities in the State.63 As a result, the Court, in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, concluded that the California Supreme Court erred in employing a relaxed approach to personal jurisdiction by holding that a state court could exercise specific jurisdiction over a corporate defendant who was being sued by non-state residents for out-of-state activities solely because the defendant had extensive forum contacts unrelated to the claims in question.64 Concluding that California's approach was a loose and spurious form of general jurisdiction,65 the Court held that without a connection between the forum and the specific claims at issue, California courts lacked jurisdiction over the corporate defendant.66

Actions in Rem: Proceeding Against Property

In an in rem action, which is an action brought directly against a property interest, a state can validly proceed to settle controversies with regard to rights or claims against tangible or intangible property within its borders, notwithstanding that jurisdiction over the defendant was never established.67 Unlike jurisdiction in personam, a judgment entered by a court with in rem jurisdiction does not bind the defendant personally but determines the title to or status of the only property in question.68 Proceedings brought to register title to land,69 to condemn70 or confiscate71 real or personal property, or to administer a decedent’s estate72 are typical in rem actions. Due process is satisfied by seizure of the property (the res) and notice to all who have or may have interests therein.73 Under prior case law, a court could acquire in rem jurisdiction over nonresidents by mere constructive service of process,74 under the theory that property was always in possession of its owners and that seizure would afford them notice, because they would keep themselves apprized of the state of their property. It was held, however, that this fiction did not satisfy the requirements of due process, and, whatever the nature of the proceeding, that notice must be given in a manner that actually notifies the person being sought or that has a reasonable certainty of resulting in such notice.75

Although the Court has now held that all assertions of state-court jurisdiction must be evaluated according to the [‘minimum contacts’] standards set forth in International Shoe Co. v. Washington,76 it does not appear that this will appreciably change the result for in rem jurisdiction over property. [T]he presence of property in a State may bear on the existence of jurisdiction by providing contacts among the forum State, the defendant, and the litigation. For example, when claims to the property itself are the source of the underlying controversy between the plaintiff and the defendant, it would be unusual for the State where the property is located not to have jurisdiction. In such cases, the defendant’s claim to property located in the State would normally indicate that he expected to benefit from the State’s protection of his interest. The State’s strong interests in assuring the marketability of property within its borders and in providing a procedure for peaceful resolution of disputes about the possession of that property would also support jurisdiction, as would the likelihood that important records and witnesses will be found in the State.77 Thus, for true in rem actions, the old results are likely to still prevail.

Quasi in Rem: Attachment Proceedings

If a defendant is neither domiciled nor present in a state, he cannot be served personally, and any judgment in money obtained against him would be unenforceable. This does not, however, prevent attachment of a defendant’s property within the state. The practice of allowing a state to attach a non-resident’s real and personal property situated within its borders to satisfy a debt or other claim by one of its citizens goes back to colonial times. Attachment is considered a form of in rem proceeding sometimes called quasi in rem, and under Pennoyer v. Neff78 an attachment could be implemented by obtaining a writ against the local property of the defendant and giving notice by publication.79 The judgment was then satisfied from the property attached, and if the attached property was insufficient to satisfy the claim, the plaintiff could go no further.80

This form of proceeding raised many questions. Of course, there were always instances in which it was fair to subject a person to suit on his property located in the forum state, such as where the property was related to the matter sued over.81 In others, the question was more disputed, as in the famous New York Court of Appeals case of Seider v. Roth,82 in which the property subject to attachment was the contractual obligation of the defendant’s insurance company to defend and pay the judgment. But, in Harris v. Balk,83 the facts of the case and the establishment of jurisdiction through quasi in rem proceedings raised the issue of fairness and territoriality. The claimant was a Maryland resident who was owed a debt by Balk, a North Carolina resident. The Marylander ascertained, apparently adventitiously, that Harris, a North Carolina resident who owed Balk an amount of money, was passing through Maryland, and the Marylander attached this debt. Balk had no notice of the action and a default judgment was entered, after which Harris paid over the judgment to the Marylander. When Balk later sued Harris in North Carolina to recover on his debt, Harris argued that he had been relieved of any further obligation by satisfying the judgment in Maryland, and the Supreme Court sustained his defense, ruling that jurisdiction had been properly obtained and the Maryland judgment was thus valid.84

Subsequently, Harris v. Balk was overruled by Shaffer v. Heitner,85 in which the Court rejected the Delaware state court’s jurisdiction, holding that the minimum contacts test of International Shoe applied to all in rem and quasi in rem actions. The case involved a Delaware sequestration statute under which plaintiffs were authorized to bring actions against nonresident defendants by attaching their property within Delaware, the property here consisting of shares of corporate stock and options to stock in the defendant corporation. The stock was considered to be in Delaware because that was the state of incorporation, but none of the certificates representing the seized stocks were physically present in Delaware. The reason for applying the same test as is applied for in personam cases, the Court said, is simple and straightforward. It is premised on recognition that ‘[t]he phrase ‘judicial jurisdiction’ over a thing,’ is a customary elliptical way of referring to jurisdiction over the interests of persons in a thing.86 Thus,[t]he recognition leads to the conclusion that in order to justify an exercise of jurisdiction in rem, the basis for jurisdiction must be sufficient to justify exercising ‘jurisdiction over the interests of persons in a thing.’87

A further tightening of jurisdictional standards occurred in Rush v. Savchuk.88 The plaintiff was injured in a one-car accident in Indiana while a passenger in a car driven by the defendant. Plaintiff later moved to Minnesota and sued the defendant, still resident in Indiana, in state court in Minnesota. There were no contacts between the defendant and Minnesota, but the defendant’s insurance company did business there and the plaintiff garnished the insurance contract, signed in Indiana, under which the company was obligated to defend the defendant in litigation and indemnify him to the extent of the policy limits. The Court refused to permit jurisdiction to be grounded on the contract; the contacts justifying jurisdiction must be those of the defendant engaging in purposeful activity related to the forum.89 Rush thus resulted in the demise of the controversial Seider v. Roth doctrine, which lower courts had struggled to save after Shaffer v. Heitner.90

Actions in Rem: Estates, Trusts, Corporations

Generally, probate will occur where the decedent was domiciled, and, as a probate judgment is considered in rem, a determination as to assets in that state will be determinative as to all interested persons.91 Insofar as the probate affects real or personal property beyond the state’s boundaries, however, the judgment is in personam and can bind only parties thereto or their privies.92 Thus, the Full Faith and Credit Clause would not prevent an out-of-state court in the state where the property is located from reconsidering the first court’s finding of domicile, which could affect the ultimate disposition of the property.93

The difficulty of characterizing the existence of the res in a particular jurisdiction is illustrated by the in rem aspects of Hanson v. Denckla.94 As discussed earlier,95 the decedent created a trust with a Delaware corporation as trustee,96 and the Florida courts had attempted to assert both in personam and in rem jurisdiction over the Delaware corporation. Asserting the old theory that a court’s in rem jurisdiction is limited by the extent of its power and by the coordinate authority of sister States,97 i.e., whether the court has jurisdiction over the thing, the Court thought it clear that the trust assets that were the subject of the suit were located in Delaware and thus the Florida courts had no in rem jurisdiction. The Court did not expressly consider whether the International Shoe test should apply to such in rem jurisdiction, as it has now held it generally must, but it did briefly consider whether Florida’s interests arising from its authority to probate and construe the domiciliary’s will, under which the foreign assets might pass, were a sufficient basis of in rem jurisdiction and decided they were not.98 The effect of International Shoe in this area is still to be discerned.

The reasoning of the Pennoyer99 rule, that seizure of property and publication was sufficient to give notice to nonresidents or absent defendants, has also been applied in proceedings for the forfeiture of abandoned property. If all known claimants were personally served and all claimants who were unknown or nonresident were given constructive notice by publication, judgments in these proceedings were held binding on all.100 But, in Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co.,101 the Court, while declining to characterize the proceeding as in rem or in personam, held that a bank managing a common trust fund in favor of nonresident as well as resident beneficiaries could not obtain a judicial settlement of accounts if the only notice was publication in a local paper. Although such notice by publication was sufficient as to beneficiaries whose interests or addresses were unknown to the bank, the Court held that it was feasible to make serious efforts to notify residents and nonresidents whose whereabouts were known, such as by mailing notice to the addresses on record with the bank.102

Notice: Service of Process

Before a state may legitimately exercise control over persons and property, the state's jurisdiction must be perfected by an appropriate service of process that is effective to notify all parties of proceedings that may affect their rights.103 Personal service guarantees actual notice of the pendency of legal action and has traditionally been deemed necessary in actions styled in personam.104 But certain less rigorous notice procedures have enjoyed substantial acceptance throughout our legal history; in light of this history and the practical obstacles to providing personal service in every instance, the Court in some situations has allowed the use of procedures that do not carry with them the same certainty of actual notice that inheres in personal service.105 But, whether the action be in rem or in personam, there is a constitutional minimum; due process requires notice reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections.106

The use of mail to convey notice, for instance, has become quite established,107 especially for assertion of in personam jurisdiction extraterritorially upon individuals and corporations having minimum contacts with a forum state, where various long-arm statutes authorize notice by mail.108 Or, in a class action, due process is satisfied by mail notification of out-of-state class members, giving such members the opportunity to opt out but with no requirement that inclusion in the class be contingent upon affirmative response.109 Other service devices and substitutions have been pursued and show some promise of further loosening of the concept of territoriality even while complying with minimum due process standards of notice.110

More on the Fifth Amendment


1.    Scott v. McNeal, 154 U.S. 34, 64 (1894).

2.    95 U.S. 714 (1878).

3.    Although these two principles were drawn from the writings of Joseph Story refining the theories of continental jurists, Hazard, A General Theory of State-Court Jurisdiction, 1965 Sup. Ct. Rev. 241, 252–62, the constitutional basis for them was deemed to be in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714, 733–35 (1878). The Due Process Clause and the remainder of the Fourteenth Amendment had not been ratified at the time of the entry of the state-court judgment giving rise to the case. This inconvenient fact does not detract from the subsequent settled use of this constitutional foundation. Pennoyer denied full faith and credit to the judgment because the state lacked jurisdiction.

4.    95 U.S. at 722. The basis for the territorial concept of jurisdiction promulgated in Pennoyer and modified over the years is two-fold: a concern for fair play and substantial justice involved in requiring defendants to litigate cases against them far from their home or place of business. International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 317 (1945)Travelers Health Ass’n v. Virginia ex rel. State Corp. Comm., 339 U.S. 643, 649 (1950)Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 204 (1977), and, more important, a concern for the preservation of federalism. International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 319 (1945)Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 251 (1958). The Framers, the Court has asserted, while intending to tie the States together into a Nation, also intended that the States retain many essential attributes of sovereignty, including, in particular, the sovereign power to try causes in their courts. The sovereignty of each State, in turn, implied a limitation on the sovereignty of all its sister States—a limitation express or implicit in both the original scheme of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment. World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 293 (1980). Thus, the federalism principle is preeminent. [T]he Due Process Clause ‘does not contemplate that a state may make binding a judgment in personam against an individual or corporate defendant with which the state has no contacts, ties, or relations.’ . . . Even if the defendant would suffer minimal or no inconvenience from being forced to litigate before the tribunals of another State; even if the forum State has a strong interest in applying its law to the controversy; even if the forum State is the most convenient location for litigation, the Due Process Clause, acting as an instrument of interstate federalism, may sometimes act to divest the State of its power to render a valid judgment. 444 U.S. at 294 (internal quotation from International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 319 (1945)).

5.    International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945)). As the Court explained in McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., 355 U.S. 220, 223 (1957), [w]ith this increasing nationalization of commerce has come a great increase in the amount of business conducted by mail across state lines. At the same time modern transportation and communication have made it much less burdensome for a party sued to defend himself in a State where he engages in economic activity. See World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 293 (1980)). The first principle, that a State may assert jurisdiction over anyone or anything physically within its borders, no matter how briefly there—the so-called transient rule of jurisdiction—McDonald v. Mabee, 243 U.S. 90, 91 (1917), remains valid, although in Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 204 (1977), the Court’s dicta appeared to assume it is not.

6.    National Exchange Bank v. Wiley, 195 U.S. 257, 270 (1904)Iron Cliffs Co. v. Negaunee Iron Co., 197 U.S. 463, 471 (1905).

7.    McDonald v. Mabee, 243 U.S. 90, 91 (1917)Cf. Michigan Trust Co. v. Ferry, 228 U.S. 346 (1913). The rule has been strongly criticized but persists. Ehrenzweig, The Transient Rule of Personal Jurisdiction: The ‘Power’ Myth and Forum Conveniens, 65 Yale L. J. 289 (1956). But in Burnham v. Superior Court, 495 U.S. 604 (1990), the Court held that service of process on a nonresident physically present within the state satisfies due process regardless of the duration or purpose of the nonresident’s visit.

8.    Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457 (1940).

9.    McDonald v. Mabee, 243 U.S. 90 (1917).

10. Rees v. City of Watertown, 86 U.S. (19 Wall.) 107 (1874)Coe v. Armour Fertilizer Works, 237 U.S. 413, 423 (1915)Griffin v. Griffin, 327 U.S. 220 (1946).

11. Sugg v. Thornton, 132 U.S. 524 (1889)Riverside Mills v. Menefee, 237 U.S. 189, 193 (1915)Hess v. Pawloski, 274 U.S. 352, 355 (1927)See also Harkness v. Hyde, 98 U.S. 476 (1879)Wilson v. Seligman, 144 U.S. 41 (1892).

12. Louisville & Nashville R.R. v. Schmidt, 177 U.S. 230 (1900)Western Loan & Savings Co. v. Butte & Boston Min. Co., 210 U.S. 368 (1908)Houston v. Ormes, 252 U.S. 469 (1920)See also Adam v. Saenger, 303 U.S. 59 (1938) (plaintiff suing defendants deemed to have consented to jurisdiction with respect to counterclaims asserted against him).

13. State legislation which provides that a defendant who comes into court to challenge the validity of service upon him in a personal action surrenders himself to the jurisdiction of the court, but which allows him to dispute where process was served, is constitutional and does not deprive him of property without due process of law. In such a situation, the defendant may ignore the proceedings as wholly ineffective, and attack the validity of the judgment if and when an attempt is made to take his property thereunder. If he desires, however, to contest the validity of the court proceedings and he loses, it is within the power of a state to require that he submit to the jurisdiction of the court to determine the merits. York v. Texas, 137 U.S. 15 (1890)Kaufman v. Wooters, 138 U.S. 285 (1891)Western Life Indemnity Co. v. Rupp, 235 U.S. 261 (1914).

14. Hess v. Pawloski, 274 U.S. 352 (1927)Wuchter v. Pizzutti, 276 U.S. 13 (1928)Olberding v. Illinois Cent. R.R., 346 U.S. 338, 341 (1953).

15. Hess v. Pawloski, 274 U.S. 352, 356–57 (1927).

16. 274 U.S. at 355. See Flexner v. Farson, 248 U.S. 289, 293 (1919).

17. Henry L. Doherty & Co. v. Goodman, 294 U.S. 623 (1935).

18. 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945).

19. 436 U.S. 84 (1978).

20. Kulko had visited the state twice, seven and six years respectively before initiation of the present action, his marriage occurring in California on the second visit, but neither the visits nor the marriage was sufficient or relevant to jurisdiction. 436 U.S. at 92–93.

21. 436 U.S. at 92.

22. 436 U.S. at 96–98.

23. 571 U.S. 277 (2014). This type of jurisdiction is often referred to as specific jurisdiction.

24. Id. at 283–86.

25. Cf. Bank of Augusta v. Earle, 38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 519, 588 (1839).

26. 326 U.S. 310 (1945).

27. Lafayette Ins. Co. v. French, 59 U.S. (18 How.) 404 (1855)St. Clair v. Cox, 106 U.S. 350 (1882)Commercial Mutual Accident Co. v. Davis, 213 U.S. 245 (1909)Simon v. Southern Ry., 236 U.S. 115 (1915)Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co. v. Gold Issue Mining Co., 243 U.S. 93 (1917).

28. Presence was first independently used to sustain jurisdiction in International Harvester Co. v. Kentucky, 234 U.S. 579 (1914), although the possibility was suggested as early as St. Clair v. Cox, 106 U.S. 350 (1882)See also Philadelphia & Reading Ry. v. McKibbin, 243 U.S. 264, 265 (1917) (Justice Brandeis for Court).

29. E.g.Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co. v. Gold Issue Mining & Milling Co., 243 U.S. 93 (1917)St. Louis S.W. Ry. v. Alexander, 227 U.S. 218 (1913).

30. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 127 (2014) (quoting Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 920 (2011)) (holding Daimler Chrysler, a German public stock company, could not be subject to suit in California with respect to acts taken in Argentina by Argentinian subsidiary of Daimler, notwithstanding the fact that Daimler Chrysler had a U.S. subsidiary that did business in California).

31. Id. at 136–38.

32. Id. at 139 n.19. For example, the Court held that an Ohio court could exercise general jurisdiction over a defendant corporation that was forced to relocate temporarily from the Philippines to Ohio, making Ohio the center of the corporation's activities. See Perkins v. Benguet Consol. Mining Co., 342 U.S. 437, 447–48 (1952).

33. See BNSF R.R. Co. v. Tyrrell, 137 S. Ct. 1549, 1559 (2017) (holding that Montana courts could not exercise general jurisdiction over a railroad company that had over 2,000 miles of track and more than 2,000 employees in the state because the company was not incorporated or headquartered in Montana and the overall activity of the company in Montana was not so substantial as to render the corporation at home in the state).

34. E.g.Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408 (1984)Davis v. Farmers Co-operative Co., 262 U.S. 312 (1923)Rosenberg Bros. & Co. v. Curtis Brown Co., 260 U.S. 516 (1923)Simon v. S. Ry., 236 U.S. 115, 129–30 (1915)Green v. Chicago, B. & Q. Ry., 205 U.S. 530 (1907)Old Wayne Life Ass'n v. McDonough, 204 U.S. 8 (1907). Continuous operations were sometimes sufficiently substantial and of a nature to warrant assertions of jurisdiction. St. Louis S.W. Ry. Co. v. Alexander, 227 U.S. 218 (1913)see also Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 922 (2011) (distinguishing application of stream-of-commerce analysis in specific cases of in-state injury from the degree of presence a corporation must maintain in a state to be amenable to general jurisdiction there).

35. Robert Mitchell Furn. Co. v. Selden Breck Constr. Co., 257 U.S. 213 (1921)Chipman, Ltd. v. Thomas B. Jeffery Co., 251 U.S. 373, 379 (1920). Jurisdiction would continue, however, if a state had conditioned doing business on a firm's agreeing to accept service through state officers should it and its agent withdraw. Washington ex rel. Bond & Goodwin & Tucker v. Superior Court, 289 U.S. 361, 364 (1933).

36. Solicitation of business alone was inadequate to constitute doing business, Green, 205 U.S. at 534, but when connected with other activities could suffice to confer jurisdiction. Int'l Harvester Co. v. Kentucky, 234 U.S. 579 (1914)Hutchinson v. Chase & Gilbert, 45 F.2d 139, 141–42 (2d Cir. 1930) (Hand, J.) (providing survey of cases).

37. E.g.Riverside Mills v. Menefee, 237 U.S. 189, 195 (1915)Conley v. Mathieson Alkali Works, 190 U.S. 406 (1903)Goldey v. Morning News, 156 U.S. 518 (1895)but see Conn. Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Spratley, 172 U.S. 602 (1899).

38. 326 U.S. 310 (1945).

39. This departure was recognized by Justice Rutledge subsequently in Nippert v. City of Richmond, 327 U.S. 416, 422 (1946). Because International Shoe, in addition to having its agents solicit orders, also permitted them to rent quarters for the display of merchandise, the Court could have used International Harvester Co. v. Kentucky, 234 U.S. 579 (1914), to find it was present in the state.

40. International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316–17 (1945).

41. 326 U.S. at 319.

42. Travelers Health Ass’n v. Virginia ex rel. State Corp. Comm’n, 339 U.S. 643 (1950). The decision was 5-to-4 with one of the majority Justices also contributing a concurring opinion. Id. at 651 (Justice Douglas). The possible significance of the concurrence is that it appears to disagree with the implication of the majority opinion, id. at 647–48, that a state’s legislative jurisdiction and its judicial jurisdiction are coextensive. Id. at 652–53 (distinguishing between the use of the state’s judicial power to enforce its legislative powers and the judicial jurisdiction when a private party is suing). See id. at 659 (dissent).

43. 339 U.S. at 647–49. The holding in Minnesota Commercial Men’s Ass’n v. Benn, 261 U.S. 140 (1923), that a similar mail order insurance company could not be viewed as doing business in the forum state and that the circumstances under which its contracts with forum state citizens, executed and to be performed in its state of incorporation, were consummated could not support an implication that the foreign company had consented to be sued in the forum state, was distinguished rather than formally overruled. 339 U.S. at 647. In any event, Benn could not have survived McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., 355 U.S. 220 (1957), below.

44. McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., 355 U.S. 220 (1957).

45. 355 U.S. at 223. The Court also noticed the proposition that the insured could not bear the cost of litigation away from home as well as the insurer. See also Perkins v. Benguet Consolidating Mining Co., 342 U.S. 437 (1952), a case too atypical on its facts to permit much generalization but which does appear to verify the implication of International Shoe that in personam jurisdiction may attach to a corporation even where the cause of action does not arise out of the business done by defendant in the forum state, as well as to state, in dictum, that the mere presence of a corporate official within the state on business of the corporation would suffice to create jurisdiction if the claim arose out of that business and service were made on him within the state. 342 U.S. at 444–45. The Court held that the state could, but was not required to, assert jurisdiction over a corporation owning gold and silver mines in the Philippines but temporarily (because of the Japanese occupation) carrying on a part of its general business in the forum state, including directors’ meetings, business correspondence, banking, and the like, although it owned no mining properties in the state.

46. McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., 355 U.S. 220, 222 (1957). An exception exists with respect to in personam jurisdiction in domestic relations cases, at least in some instances. E.g.Vanderbilt v. Vanderbilt, 354 U.S. 416 (1957) (holding that sufficient contacts afforded Nevada in personam jurisdiction over a New York resident wife for purposes of dissolving the marriage but Nevada did not have jurisdiction to terminate the wife’s claims for support).

47. 357 U.S. 235 (1958). The decision was 5-to-4. See 357 U.S. at 256 (Justice Black dissenting), 262 (Justice Douglas dissenting).

48. 357 U.S. at 251. In dissent, Justice Black observed that of course we have not reached the point where state boundaries are without significance and I do not mean to suggest such a view here. 357 U.S. at 260.

49. 357 U.S. at 251, 253–54. Upon an analogy of choice of law and forum non conveniens, Justice Black argued that the relationship of the nonresident defendants and the subject of the litigation to Florida made Florida the natural and constitutional basis for asserting jurisdiction. 357 U.S. at 251, 258–59. The Court has numerous times asserted that contacts sufficient for the purpose of designating a particular state’s law as appropriate may be insufficient for the purpose of asserting jurisdiction. See Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 215 (1977)Kulko v. Superior Court, 436 U.S. 84, 98 (1978)World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 294–95 (1980). On the due process limits on choice of law decisions, see Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hague, 449 U.S. 302 (1981).

50. Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, 465 U.S. 770 (1984) (holding as well that the forum state may apply single publication rule making defendant liable for nationwide damages).

51. Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984) (jurisdiction over reporter and editor responsible for defamatory article which they knew would be circulated in subject’s home state).

52. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462 (1985)But cf. Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408 (1984) (purchases and training within state, both unrelated to cause of action, are insufficient to justify general in personam jurisdiction).

53. 444 U.S. 286 (1980).

54. 444 U.S. at 297.

55. 444 U.S. at 298.

56. 480 U.S. 102 (1987). In Asahi, a California resident sued, inter alia, a Taiwanese tire tube manufacturer for injuries caused by a blown-out motorcycle tire. After plaintiff and the tube manufacturer settled the case, which had been filed in California, the tube manufacturer sought indemnity in the California courts against Asahi Metal, the Japanese supplier of the tube's valve assembly.

57. All the Justices also agreed that due process considerations foreclosed jurisdiction in Asahi, even though Asahi Metal could have foreseen that some of its valve assemblies would end up incorporated into tire tubes sold in the United States. Three of the Asahi Justices had been dissenters in World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson. Of the three dissenters, Justice Brennan had argued that the minimum contacts test was obsolete and that jurisdiction should be predicated upon the balancing of the interests of the forum state and plaintiffs against the actual burden imposed on defendant, 444 U.S. at 299, while Justices Marshall and Blackmun had applied the test and found jurisdiction because of the foreseeability of defendants that a defective product of theirs might cause injury in a distant state and because the defendants had entered into an interstate economic network. 444 U.S. at 313.

58. 480 U.S. at 109–113 (1987). Agreeing with Justice O’Connor on this test were Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Powell and Scalia.

59. 564 U.S. 873 (2011).

60. 564 U.S. 873 (2011) (Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas).

61. 564 U.S. 873 (2011) (Breyer and Alito concurring).

62. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 127 (2014).

63. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., San Francisco Cty., 137 S. Ct. 1773, 1781 (2017).

64. Id. at 1781.

65. Id. A court may exercise general jurisdiction for any claim—even if all the incidents underlying the claim occurred in a different state—against an individual in that person's domicile or against a corporation where the corporation is fairly regarded as at home, such as the company's place of incorporation or headquarters. See Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919–24 (2011).

66. See Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 137 S. Ct. at 1781.

67. Accordingly, by reason of its inherent authority over titles to land within its territorial confines, a state court could proceed to judgment respecting the ownership of such property, even though it lacked a constitutional competence to reach claimants of title who resided beyond its borders. Arndt v. Griggs, 134 U.S. 316, 321 (1890)Grannis v. Ordean, 234 U.S. 385 (1914)Pennington v. Fourth Nat’l Bank, 243 U.S. 269, 271 (1917).

68. Boswell’s Lessee v. Otis, 50 U.S. (9 How.) 336, 348 (1850).

69. American Land Co. v. Zeiss, 219 U.S. 47 (1911)Tyler v. Judges of the Court of Registration, 175 Mass. 71, 76, 55 N.E. 812, 814 (Chief Justice Holmes), appeal dismissed, 179 U.S. 405 (1900).

70. Huling v. Kaw Valley Ry. & Improvement Co., 130 U.S. 559 (1889).

71. The Confiscation Cases, 87 U.S. (20 Wall.) 92 (1874).

72. Clarke v. Clarke, 178 U.S. 186 (1900)Riley v. New York Trust Co., 315 U.S. 343 (1942).

73. Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714 (1878). Predeprivation notice and hearing may be required if the property is not the sort that, given advance warning, could be removed to another jurisdiction, destroyed, or concealed. United States v. James Daniel Good Real Property, 510 U.S. 43 (1993) (notice to owner required before seizure of house by government).

74. Arndt v. Griggs, 134 U.S. 316 (1890)Ballard v. Hunter, 204 U.S. 241 (1907)Security Savings Bank v. California, 263 U.S. 282 (1923).

75. Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306 (1950)Walker v. City of Hutchinson, 352 U.S. 112 (1956)Schroeder v. City of New York, 371 U.S. 208 (1962)Robinson v. Hanrahan, 409 U.S. 38 (1972).

76. 433 U.S. 186 (1977).

77. 433 U.S. at 207–08 (footnotes omitted). The Court also suggested that the state would usually have jurisdiction in cases such as those arising from injuries suffered on the property of an absentee owner, where the defendant’s ownership of the property is conceded but the cause of action is otherwise related to rights and duties growing out of that controversy. Id.

78. 95 U.S. 714 (1878). Cf. Pennington v. Fourth Nat’l Bank, 243 U.S. 269, 271 (1917)Corn Exch. Bank v. Commissioner, 280 U.S. 218, 222 (1930)Endicott Co. v. Encyclopedia Press, 266 U.S. 285, 288 (1924).

79. The theory was that property is always in possession of an owner, and that seizure of the property will inform him. This theory of notice was disavowed sooner than the theory of jurisdiction. See Actions in Rem: Proceedings Against Property, supra.

80. Other, quasi in rem actions, which are directed against persons, but ultimately have property as the subject matter, such as probate, Goodrich v. Ferris, 214 U.S. 71, 80 (1909), and garnishment of foreign attachment proceedings, Pennington v. Fourth Nat’l Bank, 243 U.S. 269, 271 (1917)Harris v. Balk, 198 U.S. 215 (1905), might also be prosecuted to conclusion without requiring the presence of all parties in interest. The jurisdictional requirements for rendering a valid divorce decree are considered under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, Art. I, § 1.

81. Atkinson v. Superior Court, 49 Cal. 2d 338, 316 P. 2d 960 (1957), appeal dismissed, 357 U.S. 569 (1958) (debt seized in California was owed to a New Yorker, but it had arisen out of transactions in California involving the New Yorker and the California plaintiff).

82. 17 N.Y. 2d 111, 269 N.Y.S. 2d 99, 216 N.E. 2d 312 (1966).

83. 198 U.S. 215 (1905).

84. Compare New York Life Ins. Co. v. Dunlevy, 241 U.S. 518 (1916) (action purportedly against property within state, proceeds of an insurance policy, was really an in personam action against claimant and, claimant not having been served, the judgment is void). But see Western Union Tel. Co. v. Pennsylvania, 368 U.S. 71 (1961).

85. 433 U.S. 186 (1977).

86. 433 U.S. at 207 (internal quotation from Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws 56, Introductory Note (1971)).

87. 433 U.S. at 207. The characterization of actions in rem as being not actions against a res but against persons with interests merely reflects Justice Holmes’ insight in Tyler v. Judges of the Court of Registration, 175 Mass. 71, 76–77, 55 N.E., 812, 814, appeal dismissed, 179 U.S. 405 (1900).

88. 444 U.S. 320 (1980).

89. 444 U.S. at 328–30. In dissent, Justices Brennan and Stevens argued that what the state courts had done was the functional equivalent of direct-action statutes. Id. at 333 (Justice Stevens); World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 299 (1980) (Justice Brennan). The Court, however, refused so to view the Minnesota garnishment action, saying that [t]he State’s ability to exert its power over the ‘nominal defendant’ is analytically prerequisite to the insurer’s entry into the case as a garnishee. Id. at 330–31. Presumably, the comment is not meant to undermine the validity of such direct-action statutes, which was upheld in Watson v. Employers Liability Assurance Corp., 348 U.S. 66 (1954), a choice-of-law case rather than a jurisdiction case.

90. See O’Conner v. Lee-Hy Paving Corp., 579 F.2d 194 (2d Cir. 1978)cert. denied, 439 U.S. 1034 (1978).

91. Goodrich v. Ferris, 214 U.S. 71, 80 (1909)McCaughey v. Lyall, 224 U.S. 558 (1912).

92. Baker v. Baker, Eccles & Co., 242 U.S. 394 (1917)Riley v. New York Trust Co., 315 U.S. 343 (1942).

93. 315 U.S. at 353.

94. 357 U.S. 235 (1957).

95. The in personam aspect of this decision is considered supra.

96. She reserved the power to appoint the remainder, after her reserved life estate, either by testamentary disposition or by inter vivos instrument. After she moved to Florida, she executed a new will and a new power of appointment under the trust, which did not satisfy the requirements for testamentary disposition under Florida law. Upon her death, dispute arose as to whether the property passed pursuant to the terms of the power of appointment or in accordance with the residuary clause of the will.

97. 357 U.S. at 246.

98. 357 U.S. at 247–50. The four dissenters, Justices Black, Burton, Brennan, and Douglas, believed that the transfer in Florida of $400,000 made by a domiciliary and affecting beneficiaries, almost all of whom lived in that state, gave rise to a sufficient connection with Florida to support an adjudication by its courts of the effectiveness of the transfer. 357 U.S. at 256, 262.

99. See discussion of Pennoyersupra.

100. Hamilton v. Brown, 161 U.S. 256 (1896)Security Savings Bank v. California, 263 U.S. 282 (1923)See also Voeller v. Neilston Co., 311 U.S. 531 (1941).

101. 339 U.S. 306 (1950).

102. A related question is which state has the authority to escheat a corporate debt. See Western Union Tel. Co. v. Pennsylvania, 368 U.S. 71 (1961)Texas v. New Jersey, 379 U.S. 674 (1965). Where a state seeks to escheat intangible corporate property such as uncollected debt, the Court found that the multiplicity of states with a possible interest made a contacts test unworkable. Citing ease of administration rather than logic or jurisdiction, the Court held that the authority to take the uncollected claims against a corporation by escheat would be based on whether the last known address on the company’s books for the each creditor was in a particular state.

103. An elementary and fundamental requirement of due process in any proceeding which is to be accorded finality is notice reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections. Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 314 (1950). There must be a basis for the defendant’s amenability to service of summons. Absent consent, this means there must be authorization for service of summons on the defendant. Omni Capital Int’l v. Rudolph Wolff & Co., 484 U.S. 97 (1987).

104. McDonald v. Mabee, 243 U.S. 90, 92 (1971).

105. Greene v. Lindsey, 456 U.S. 444, 449 (1982)See Dusenbery v. United States, 534 U.S. 161 (2001) (upholding a notice of forfeiture that was delivered by certified mail to the mailroom of a prison where the individual to be served was incarcerated, even though the individual himself did not sign for the letter).

106. Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 314 (1950). Thus, in Jones v. Flowers, 547 U.S. 220 (2006), the Court held that, after a state's certified letter, intended to notify a property owner that his property would be sold unless he satisfied a tax delinquency, was returned by the post office marked unclaimed, the state should have taken additional reasonable steps to notify the property owner, as it would have been practicable for it to have done so. And, in Greene v. Lindsey, 456 U.S. 444 (1982), the Court held that, in light of substantial evidence that notices posted on the doors of apartments in a housing project in an eviction proceeding were often torn down by children and others before tenants ever saw them, service by posting did not satisfy due process. Without requiring service by mail, the Court observed that the mails provide an 'efficient and inexpensive means of communication' upon which prudent men will ordinarily rely in the conduct of important affairs. Id. at 455 (citations omitted). See also Mennonite Bd. of Missions v. Adams, 462 U.S. 791 (1983) (personal service or notice by mail is required for mortgagee of real property subject to tax sale, Tulsa Professional Collection Servs. v. Pope, 485 U.S. 478 (1988) (notice by mail or other appropriate means to reasonably ascertainable creditors of probated estate).

107. E.g.McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., 355 U.S. 220 (1957)Travelers Health Ass’n ex rel. State Corp. Comm’n, 339 U.S. 643 (1950).

108. See, e.g.G.D. Searle & Co. v. Cohn, 455 U.S. 404, 409–12 (1982) (discussing New Jersey’s long-arm rule, under which a plaintiff must make every effort to serve process upon someone within the state and then, only if after diligent inquiry and effort personal service cannot be made within the state, service may be made by mailing, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, a copy of the summons and complaint to a registered agent for service, or to its principal place of business, or to its registered office.). Cf. Velmohos v. Maren Engineering Corp., 83 N.J. 282, 416 A.2d 372 (1980)vacated and remanded, 455 U.S. 985 (1982).

109. Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Shutts, 472 U.S. 797 (1985).

110. E.g.Watson v. Employers Liability Assurance Corp., 348 U.S. 66 (1954) (authorizing direct action against insurance carrier rather than against the insured).

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