Civil Procedure—Ninth Circuit Focuses on Importance of Subsidiary Rather Than Control to Impose General Jurisdiction over Foreign Corporation—Bauman v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 644 F.3d 909 (9th Cir. 2011)

PdfPDF by Andrew T. StarkApril-5-2012

Category: Case Comments, Number 2, Print Edition, Volume 45

The Supreme Court of the United States has established that general personal jurisdiction allows a forum to exercise authority over a defendant to adjudicate claims that do not arise from the defendant’s contacts within the forum state.  Since the advent of the modern corporation, plaintiffs have attempted to establish jurisdiction over a foreign corporation because of its subsidiary’s contacts with a forum state.  In Bauman v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit considered whether a state may exercise general jurisdiction over a foreign corporation because it has a subsidiary with extensive contacts in the United States.  The Ninth Circuit held that a subsidiary is a foreign corporation’s agent for jurisdictional purposes if the subsidiary’s services are sufficiently important to the parent corporation and the parent has the right to substantially control the subsidiary’s activities.

In 2004, twenty-three persons (Plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler Aktiengesellschaft (DCAG) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  Plaintiffs alleged that DCAG’s wholly owned subsidiary, Mercedes-Benz Argentina, collaborated with the Argentinean government to kidnap, torture, or kill the Plaintiffs or their relatives during Argentina’s “Dirty War.”  In response to the Plaintiffs’ complaint, DCAG moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process and lack of personal jurisdiction. . .

Read the full Case Comment here.

Author: Andrew T. Stark

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