The Exercise Of Jurisdiction Over Foreign Defendants Is Decided Again

in New-jersey
If you reside in New Jersey and suffer damages from the conduct of a foreign, non-resident defendant, this may interest you.

The Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause to the Constitution permits a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant under some circumstances. That means that a New Jersey resident who has claims against a foreign defendant may sue here and require the defendant to answer for his conduct here.

There are limitations, and these limitations have been the subject of many, many reported decisions in both the federal and state courts for many years.

Suffice it to say, many of the decisions are fact-sensitive, that is, the decision to exercise jurisdiction depends on the nature of the defendants conduct.

In Nicastro v. McIntyre Machinery America, Ltd., 201 N.J. 48 (2010), defendant manufactured metal recycling machines in England, which were shipped to an independent exclusive distributor in Ohio. The products were then resold nationwide. A New Jersey company purchased a machine from the distributor after attending a trade show in Las Vegas. Later, one of the New Jersey companys employees suffered personal injuries in using the machine, allegedly because of safety defects.

The defendant conducted no activity itself in New Jersey and had no direct contacts with New Jersey.

YOU BE THE JUDGE: Is it constitutionally permissible to exercise personal jurisdiction in New Jersey over a defendant with no workforce, no offices, and no direct activity here?

The Supreme Court found that in a product liability action for personal injuries,New Jersey may exercise personal jurisdiction. A manufacturer that knows, or reasonably should know, that its products are distributed nationally, must expect to be subject to New Jersey jurisdiction if one of its products is sold here and causes injury. The use of a middleman was not a shield for the manufacturer because the focus is not the manufacturers control of the distribution scheme, but its knowledge that the scheme yielded economic benefits from this State. To avoid the exercise of such jurisdiction, the manufacturer must take reasonable steps to prevent the distribution of its products in New Jersey.

The decision points out that a courtroom can bring justice and may be the only way to protect your rights. Our Firm knows courtrooms; we have harnessed the power of the law in courtrooms to bring justice for our clients for decades in West Paterson, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Hackensack, Norwood, Closter, Freehold, West Orange, West New York, Paterson, Morristown, Pequannock, Butler, Newark and throughout Bergen County, Morris County, Passaic County, Essex County and Hudson County. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you protect your rights in a new lawsuit or provide a Asecond opinion@ about your pending lawsuit. There is no obligation for the initial consultation. Copyright Samuel D. Bornstein, P.A. 2008-2010.

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Author, Samuel D. Bornstein, is associated with the law firm (and has 40 years of experience in representing individuals and a wide variety of businesses from Fortune 100 companies that need specialized assistance to smaller companies that look to the firm as their "in house" lawyer for general day-to-day advice. The firm is experienced with transactional work and litigation, emphasizing corporate and partnership operations, employment.

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The Exercise Of Jurisdiction Over Foreign Defendants Is Decided Again

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This article was published on 2011/01/19