Friday, August 24, 2012

CAFC does stream of commerce jurisdiction case

From the decision:

The Supreme Court recently revisited the stream-of-commerce theory in McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro, 131 S. Ct. 2780 (2011). The Court, however, declined to resolve its long-standing split on that theory.
In McIntyre, the Court was asked to revisit questions left open in Asahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court of California, Solano County, 480 U.S. 102 (1987). In Asahi, the Court’s members disagreed whether a defendant could be subject to personal jurisdiction in a forum merely because the defendant had placed a product in the stream of commerce. Justice Brennan, writing for four Justices, evaluated personal jurisdiction under the stream-of-commerce theory by relying on considerations of foreseeability. Justice Brennan wrote that “jurisdiction premised on the placement of a product into the stream of commerce is consistent with the Due Process Clause,” for “[a]s long as a participant in this process is aware that the final product is being marketed in the forum State, the possibility of a lawsuit there cannot come as a surprise.” Asahi, 480 U.S. at 117 (opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment).
Justice O’Connor and three other Justices rejected Justice Brennan’s approach. In their view, mere foresee-ability or awareness that “the stream of commerce may or will sweep the product into the forum State” is insuffi-cient. Id. at 112.

And, what to do when there is no Supreme Court majority opinion?

Because McIntyre did not produce a majority opinion, we must follow the narrowest holding among the plurality opinions in that case. Marks v. United States, 430 U.S. 188, 193 (1977). The narrowest holding is that which can be distilled from Justice Breyer’s concurrence—that the law remains the same after McIntyre.


Because we must proceed on the premise that McIn-tyre did not change the Supreme Court’s jurisdictional framework, we must apply our precedent that interprets the Supreme Court’s existing stream-of-commerce prece-dents. That precedent is Beverly Hills Fan Co. v. Royal Sovereign Corp., 21 F.3d 1558 (Fed. Cir. 1994).


Here, we adhere to the Beverly Hills Fan line of cases and decline to take a position on the stream-of-commerce theory, because the result is clear and would not change under any articulation of that theory. The paltry allega-tions in the complaint cannot support the exercise of personal jurisdiction in Wyoming.

link AFTG-TG v. Nuvoton


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