Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Case of the Day: Mitsui Sumitomo Ins. USA, Inc. v. Kyocera Mita Corp., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96747 (C.D. Cal. July 25, 2016)


Plaintiff insurer sued a Japanese copier manufacturer and its American distributor, for selling defective copiers that caught on fire. The copier caused a fire in Chatsworth, California; the insurer paid the claims, and sued the manufacturer for indemnification. 

The court dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction, finding that the manufacturer was not subject to either general or specific jurisdiction in California.


This is another progeny of Nicastro, the Supreme Court decision that found the plaintiff's contact with the defendant alone cannot serve as the basis for specific jurisdiction. Seeing more of these cases make me doubt the wisdom of Nicastro. 

Another curious part is that the opinion did not mention at all where the insurance agreement was made. If the agreement was made in the U.S., why wouldn't the court have jurisdiction over it? Which leads to another question: why did the plaintiff think it would be more advantageous to sue in the U.S., rather than in Japan?

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