Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Specific Personal Jurisdiction

Posted by Ted A. Schmidt | Jul 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

Davis v. Cranefield Aerospace Solutions Ltd, No. 22-35099 (9th Cir. June 23, 2023) (J.Bumatay)


Representatives of three decedents (two residents of Indiana and one resident of Louisiana)who died in a plane crash in Indiana brought this wrongful death action against defendant, an English corporation, as a diversity action in Idaho Federal District Court. Appellants alleged Tamarack Active Winglet Load System caused the crash and that the defendant helped Tamarack obtain Federal Aviation certification for the system. Tamarack resides in Idaho.  The district court dismissed the action for lack of personal jurisdiction and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

There is a three part test for determining whether specific personal jurisdiction exists:

  1. The non-resident defendant must purposefully direct his activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or resident thereof; or perform some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conduction activities in the forum, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws;
  2. The claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the defendant's forum-related activities; and
  3. The exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice, i.e. it must be reasonable.

Here plaintiffs did not allege they were injured in Idaho and there was no evidence the defendant “purposefully availed itself of the benefits and protections of Idaho law.” While defendant's employees made two trips to Idaho to consult with Tamarack these visits were too attenuated to create specific jurisdiction. Defendant did not seek out or benefit from Tamarack's Idaho residency and their contractual relationship did not form a “substantial” relationship with Idaho. Plaintiffs therefore failed to establish “minimum contacts” between the defendant and Idaho and the action is properly dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.

About the Author

Ted A. Schmidt

Ted's early career as a trial attorney began on the other side of the fence, in the offices of a major insurance defense firm. It was there that Ted acquired the experience, the skills and the special insight into defense strategy that have served him so well in the field of personal injury law. Notable among his successful verdicts was the landmark Sparks vs. Republic National Life Insurance Company case, a $4.5 million award to Ted's client. To this day, it is the defining case for insurance bad faith, and yet it is only one of several other multi-million dollar jury judgments won by Ted during his career. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in "wrongful death and bodily injury litigation".


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