Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Case of the Day: Cardona v. Hitachi Koki Co. 2019 Del. Super. LEXIS 67 (Del. Super. Ct. Feb. 5, 2019)


Plaintiff sued a Japanese manufacturer of a nail gun, which caused him severe injuries. Plaintiff is a Maryland resident who was employed by a contracting company in Delaware, and was injured at a construction site in Delaware. The defendant manufacturer operates principally in Japan, designed the nail gun in Japan, and manufactured it in Taiwan. After a jurisdictional discovery, the defendant moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

The court denied the motion. The court found that there were at least two theories through which it could exercise long-arm jurisdiction over the defendant: (1) the defendant solicited business from the whole of U.S. market, including Delaware, through its U.S. subsidiary incorporated in Delaware (and doing business in Georgia); (2) the defendant could anticipate its products being sold in Delaware, as its U.S. subsidiary was in Delaware. In doing so, the court explicitly noted that Nicastro did not have a controlling majority, and Bristol-Myers did not apply because there was a clear nexus between the plaintiff and Delaware.


Delaware state court's assault against the U.S. Supreme Court's personal jurisdiction doctrine continues! Along with Hedger (which I previously covered here), Delaware state courts have been defying the U.S. Supreme Court's tendency to reduce the reach of long arm jurisdiction, and instead explicitly adopted the "stream of commerce" theory disavowed in Nicastro and Bristol-Myers. It's a trend that bears watching.

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