Patrick Hammon Previews Personal Jurisdiction Issue Pending Before U.S. Supreme Court

Partner Patrick Hammon recently spoke with Law360 to discuss the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court. The Court will hear arguments on Oct. 7 to decide an issue involving the application of long-arm personal jurisdiction.

The main issue before the Court is “whether the ‘arise out of or relate to’ requirement of the 14th Amendment’s due process clause is met when none of the defendant’s forum contacts caused the plaintiff’s claims, such that the plaintiff’s claims would be the same even if the defendant had no forum contacts.”  Although the accident occurred in Montana and a Montana resident was injured, the vehicle originally was purchased in Oregon.

Patrick explores Ford’s rationale that “jurisdiction in Montana for accidents involving that particular car would be inappropriate — though not for a nearly identical case involving the exact same accident, the exact same parties and the exact same car, provided that that specific vehicle happened to have been purchased or manufactured in Montana.”

Patrick believes Ford’s most significant hurdle will be to convince the court to impose a rule that would force plaintiffs to litigate in a foreign jurisdiction, instead of the one where plaintiff lives and where the accident occurred.

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