Jurisdiction -- 2017

BNSF Ry. Co. v. Tyrrell   (U.S. Supreme Court)

Clarifying "at home" provision of general jurisdiction

This case addresses the State of Montana exercising jurisdiction on parties which are not “at home” in the state of Montana. The Montana Supreme Court held that the “at home” language in previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions such as Daimler AG v. Bauman only applied to foreign companies and not to U.S. companies located outside Montana.

The NAM filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to accept the case and arguing that the Montana Supreme Court’s application of the “at home” provision for jurisdiction was incorrect. After the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, the NAM filed a second brief on the merits. On May 30, 2017, the Court ruled in favor of BNSF and held that Montana's exercise jurisdiction does not comport with the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause.

If the Court did not address this issue, it could have resulted in state courts around the country narrowly applying this provision, thus expanding their jurisdiction and subjecting American companies to additional burdensome lawsuits. This is particularly important as manufacturers continue to expand their distribution chains and change the ways they operate in the modern economy.

Related Documents:
NAM amicus brief  (March 6, 2017)
NAM amicus brief  (October 28, 2016)


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