Barrett v. Union Pacific R.R. Co.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 03-02-2017
  • Case #: S063914
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Kistler, J., for the Court; En Banc; Walters, J., dissenting, joined by Brewer, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Foreign corporations are subject to general jurisdiction of Oregon courts when "substantial and continues business presence" in Oregon is so "'continuous and systematic" as to render" the corporation "essentially at home" in Oregon. Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011).

Union Pacific, incorporated in Delaware with its principal place of business in Nebraska, petitioned for a writ of mandamus, arguing that the trial court did not have personal jurisdiction over the railroad. Generally, corporations are only subject to general jurisdiction in their place of incorporation and principal place of business. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014). A corporation’s “substantial and continuous business presence” in a state does not sufficiently establish general jurisdiction. Id. at 761-62. However, a corporation’s actions within a state can be so “‘continuous and systematic’ as to render them essentially at home in the forum State.” Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011). The Court held that Oregon could not exercise general jurisdiction over Union Pacific because Union Pacific’s activity in Oregon was a very small part of its operation; Union Pacific’s “substantial and continuous business presence” in Oregon was not enough to establish general jurisdiction. The Court further held that the Federal Employees Liability Act did not establish Oregon’s personal or general jurisdiction over Union Pacific because the statute only addresses venue and subject matter jurisdiction. Peremptory writ issued.

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