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ATRA Cheers SCOTUS Term’s Jurisdiction-Case ‘Trifecta’

Urges High Court to Leave State Courts No Wiggle Room in Future

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 19, 2017 – With today’s announced decision of a third significant jurisdictional case by the U.S. Supreme Court this term, the American Tort Reform Association applauded the “trifecta,” calling the decisions “welcomed relief for corporate defendants targeted by personal injury lawyers, with plenty of help from plaintiff-friendly courts in California, Missouri, Montana, Texas and elsewhere.

ATRA president Tiger Joyce observed that, “For too long, too many lower courts have encouraged ‘litigation tourism’ by ignoringboth ample Supreme Court precedent and corporate defendants’ Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.

“For seven decades the high court has made it clear that only lawsuits filed where a plaintiff resides or was injured, or where a defendant is headquartered or does much of its business comply with the Constitution,” Joyce continued.  “Yet some lower courts have continually sought to invent new ways around this body of precedent intended to keep plaintiffs’ lawyers from dragging corporate defendants across the country and forcing them to defend themselves in what ATRA calls ‘Judicial Hellholes.’”

Today’s 8-1 decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California for San Francisco County makes clear that state courts have no jurisdiction over plainly out-of-state defendants being sued by out-of-state plaintiffs for injuries that allegedly occurred out-of-state.

“It is particularly encouraging that the court is strongly unified in these important decisions,” Joyce said, referring to another 8-1 decision in BNSF Railway Company v. Tyrell and a unanimous 8-0 decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, both announced last month.

“ATRA members hope that the high court majority’s message will settle this issue once and for all, and that the justices won’t hesitate to rebuke promptly those state judges who refuse to get with the program,” he concluded.


The American Tort Reform Association, based in Washington, D.C., is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to tort and liability reform through public education and the enactment of legislation.  Its members include nonprofit organizations and small and large companies, as well as trade, business and professional associations from the state and national level.  The American Tort Reform Foundation is a sister organization dedicated primarily to research and public education.

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