Friday, June 30, 2017

Case of the Day: Kemp v. ABC Ins. Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80901 (E.D. La. May 24, 2017)


Plaintiff was injured on a ship docked in New Orleans when a large steel bar sprung from its case and fell on her. Hyundai Steel, a South Korean corporation produced the steel bar. Plaintiff sued Hyundai Steel; defendant moved to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction.

The court denied the motion to dismiss. The court found Louisiana had no general personal jurisdiction over the defendant because the state was neither the place of incorporation nor the principal place of business for Hyundai. However, the court found Louisiana had specific jurisdiction over the defendant because the defendant specifically directed the shipment to the state. The court decided this although Hyundai contracted with a separate shipper who arranged for the transportation and care of the steel bars.


One of the joys of running this blog is coming across a case like this one--a case that so flagrantly goes against the prevailing legal trend that you end up doing a double-take to make sure you are reading it correctly.

The facts of the case is reminiscent of Palsgraf, the staple of 1L tort course. Then the judge finds specific jurisdiction based on the stream-of-commerce theory, which the Supreme Court has disavowed over and over again, most recently in Nicastro! If you find yourself on the side of a plaintiff who needs to find jurisdiction over a foreign defendant, you would clutch these cases like a precious pearl necklace.

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