On March 25, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld state courts’ exercise of specific personal jurisdiction over automobile manufacturers in personal injury cases where that state’s residents assert claims relating to in-state accidents.
In two cases — Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court and Ford Motor Co. v. Bandemer — Ford was sued in Minnesota and Montana for injuries in those states suffered in accidents involving Ford vehicles bought on the used-vehicle market. The Supreme Court had previously held that a corporation is not subject to a lawsuit in states where it is not incorporated or headquartered unless the suit “arise[s] out of or relate[s] to the defendant’s contacts” with that state. Ford argued that personal jurisdiction was lacking because the specific vehicles in the accidents were not designed, manufactured, or originally sold in Minnesota or Montana, and Ford’s in-state business activity therefore did not cause the injuries.
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