The Trial Lawyer Winter 2018 - Page 30

PRODUCTWATCH CUTTING THROUGH THE DEFENSE ARGUMENTS ON PERSONAL JURISDICTION By Will Ourand, Esq. • Newsome Melton, PA Personal jurisdiction has recently reemerged as a favorite vehicle for motion practice by the products liability defense bar. This is due to a recent line of SCOTUS cases ranging from the 2011 decisions in Goodyear Dunlop Tires v. Brown and J. Mcintyre Machinery v. Nicastro to the 2017 decision in Bristol-Meyers Squibb v. Superior Court. The typical defense motion citing these cases may leave you with the impression that everything you learned about personal jurisdiction during 1L Civil Procedure, from International Shoe to World-Wide Volkswagen, is no longer good law. Thankfully, that’s simply not true. This article will provide necessary background context as to the big picture jurisdictional issues in products liability cases, will then proceed to analyze the recent SCOTUS decisions and explain why those cases are entirely distinguishable from the vast majority of products liability lawsuits, and will conclude by analyzing recent decisions from across the country rejecting defense motions on this issue. 28 x The Trial Lawyer