DaimlerChrysler AG v. Bauman

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: April 22, 2013
  • Case #: 11-965
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 644 F.3d 909 (9th Cir. 2011).
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation based solely on its relationship to a subsidiary in the forum state.

Respondent filed suit against Petitioner under the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim’s Protection Act for various human right abuses committed during Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Respondent argued that personal jurisdiction existed because one of Petitioner's subsidiaries was indisputably subject to general personal jurisdiction of the forum. The court concluded that the subsidiary was not an agent of Petitioner, and therefore the court lacked personal jurisdiction. The court also concluded that an exercise of personal jurisdiction would not be reasonable due to adequate alternative fora.

On appeal the court reversed. The court concluded that that the subsidiary was Petitioner’s agent because the services provided were “sufficiently important” to Petitioner. Additionally, Petitioner exercised sufficient control over the subsidiary.

Petitioner appealed to the Supreme Court. Petitioner argues that the lower court's opinion exacerbates a split in the circuits regarding the imputation of jurisdictional contacts from a subsidiary to its parent corporation. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation based solely on its relationship to a subsidiary in the forum state.

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