US Sup Ct Sticks it to Individuals and Small Business again

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Two recent US Sup Ct cases (McIntyre and Goodyear) released in late June of this year have stuck it to individuals and small business again.  Both are significant procedure cases involving a state’s right to acquire jurisdiction over large corporations that hurt its citizens.

Both of these cases were personal injury cases.  Both involved non-US corporations that were selling their products in the US.  In McIntyre, a New Jersey worker lost much of his hand in a job accident which he alleged was caused by McIntyre machinery.  In Goodyear, two 13 year old North Carolina boys lost their lives in a bus accident in Paris France.  The Supreme Court told both Plaintiffs that they could not sue in their home states and for both it means going to court in Europe.

Once again there is no justice for American workers and individuals who are the victims of international corporations and the Court’s opinions will do nothing but encourage overseas production in order to avoid liability in the US.  Think of it as offshoreing your right to sue.

But the Goodyear case has substantial implications for large domestic corporations as well.  It has always been very difficult to sue a corporation anywhere but its “home” state, i.e. the state of incorporation or state where the corporation’s principal place of business is located.  The trend over the past 50 years has been to relax the requirement that a corporation be sued in its home state.  In Goodyear, in a 9-0 decision, the court reverted to the old doctrine of requiring corporations to be sued in their home states for many/most things.

This will be a real blow to injured people who have to go to the Defendant’s home state to sue it.  It will be a real blow to small businesses to have to go to the Defendant’s home to sue it.  It will be a real blow to my clients and to me.  I presently have pending in TN about 100 lawsuits that according to Goodyear can not be brought in TN.  Probably all will be dismissed.  My client’s business, which is a commercial collection business, will probably be wrecked.  We depended on bringing suit against non-paying mega-corporations in a single convenient location.  No longer.  We will now be forced to sue these mega corporations in nearly every state.


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  1. Defender of the mega corporation.

  2. …1) Troy Davis

    …2) Don Siegelman

    …3) Mumia Abu Jamal

    Along with the truly guilty war criminals, like:

    …Dick Cheney

    …John Yoo

    …Jay Bibee

    …David Addington

    …Condi Rice

    …Aw heck, the entire BushCo Administration with maybe a couple of abstentions.

  3. incorporated overseas (say China) and its product is

    defective causing injury in Calif, that the plaintiff cannot sue anywhere in the U.S.?  

  4. Had a think.

    Is there a flip side to this, where corporations that previously, could go to court in their wholly owned state of DE or whatever over claimed home loans or credit cards — now have to go to potentially less friendly environs?

    Or is this somehow a one way thing?

  5. A couple of my colleagues think that I have interpreted what the court has said to be grimmer than it is.  I hope they are right.  So for now, we will continue suing in TN on behalf of these victims of corporate chicanery.  Time will tell if we get away with it or get sanctioned.

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