Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

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SwampRat88
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Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby SwampRat88 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:10 pm

This hypothetical is modeled after Calder v. Jones.

Hypo: Suppose that two National Enquirer employee's wrote a libelous article in Florida. The article derived most of it's source material from California, and the majority of the newspapers are published there. The target of the article was Sarah Palin, who's domicile in Alaska. She has no significant relationship with the state of California, aside from some media events over the years. Furthermore, the National Enquirer publishes no papers in the state of Alaska, and, assume for the sake of argument, there is no internet. She heard about the allegations in the article through friends in the state.

It seems clear that she can bring suit under specific jurisdiction in Florida or California. I'm not so sure about establishing specific jurisdiction in Alaska, however. I am unclear if the defendant's purposefully availed themselves of conducting activities within the forum State of Alaska, thus invoking the benefits and protection of its laws.

Any insight is appreciated, many thanks!

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kalvano
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:18 pm

How would they have purposefully availed themselves? They don't publish there, have an office there, or have anything to do with Alaska.

If I recall right, the court found JD in Calder because the paper published a ton of papers in the state.

SwampRat88
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby SwampRat88 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:25 pm

kalvano wrote:How would they have purposefully availed themselves? They don't publish there, have an office there, or have anything to do with Alaska.

If I recall right, the court found JD in Calder because the paper published a ton of papers in the state.


Well, they do have something to do with Alaska, even if was published in California. They wrote a libelous article of a resident of the Alaska, and the allegations within the article will affect the relationships of the plaintiff with others in that state.

random5483
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby random5483 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:31 pm

Calder brough about the Calder Effects Test. In Calder (if I recall right) the combination of a large subscriber base and in California and the fact that it was directed at a person in California was sufficient to show purposeful availment. Here, if a significant portion of the Enquirer's subscription base is from Alaska, then there might be purposeful availement.

In an exam, argue both sides regarding whether there was purposeful availment. Mention Calder and the Calder effects test. Your conclusion should either be that there is purposeful availment due to Calder or that there is no purposeful availment (and distinguish from Calder...e.g. not a significant subscription base from Alaska).

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kalvano
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:35 pm

SwampRat88 wrote:
kalvano wrote:How would they have purposefully availed themselves? They don't publish there, have an office there, or have anything to do with Alaska.

If I recall right, the court found JD in Calder because the paper published a ton of papers in the state.


Well, they do have something to do with Alaska, even if was published in California. They wrote a libelous article of a resident of the Alaska, and the allegations within the article will affect the relationships of the plaintiff with others in that state.


As to the bolded, so what?


Do they have subscribers in Alaska? If so, how many? That will be key.

SwampRat88
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby SwampRat88 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:44 pm

kalvano wrote:
SwampRat88 wrote:
kalvano wrote:How would they have purposefully availed themselves? They don't publish there, have an office there, or have anything to do with Alaska.

If I recall right, the court found JD in Calder because the paper published a ton of papers in the state.


Well, they do have something to do with Alaska, even if was published in California. They wrote a libelous article of a resident of the Alaska, and the allegations within the article will affect the relationships of the plaintiff with others in that state.


As to the bolded, so what?


Do they have subscribers in Alaska? If so, how many? That will be key.


A gunman in Nevada resident shoots and injures a resident of California across the state line. In this case, the victim could establish specific jurisdiction over the gunman based on his purposeful availment to harm the California resident. In most cases, an accident or injury within the state of the injured party usually shows such a substantial contact.

In the Alaska hypo, Palin was also similarly injured from the intentional actions of an out-of-state actor--it's just more abstract.

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kalvano
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:51 pm

I don't think you understand what "purposeful availment" means.

SwampRat88
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby SwampRat88 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:13 pm

kalvano wrote:I don't think you understand what "purposeful availment" means.


Defined: "The purposeful availment inquiry . . . focuses on the defendant's intentionality. This prong is only satisfied when the defendant purposefully and voluntarily directs his activities toward the forum so that he should expect, by virtue of the benefit he receives, to be subject to the court's jurisdiction based on [his contacts with the forum]"

The defendant's in this hypothetical purposefully availed themselves to Alaska, even if it was published primarily in California, and there were no magazines published in Alaska. They intentionally wrote a libelous article aimed at harming a resident of Alaska. More importantly, their contacts with Alaska are such that they "could reasonably expect to be haled into court" in that state.

The question is did the purposefully avail themselves of "the benefits and protections of Alaska?" By publishing no issues of the National Enquirer in the state of Alaska, I think this is where the plaintiff's claim against defendant's would fall apart.

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kalvano
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:22 pm

kalvano wrote:I don't think you understand what "purposeful availment" means.

SwampRat88
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby SwampRat88 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:51 pm

kalvano wrote:
kalvano wrote:I don't think you understand what "purposeful availment" means.


How are the defendant's not purposefully and voluntarily directing their activities towards Alaska, when they wrote a libelous article specifically and only targeting a resident of the state? Where the article was published makes no difference. Once again, the real question is if they purposefully availed themselves of "the benefits and protections of Alaska."

Anyone else out there have an opinion on this?

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GeePee
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby GeePee » Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:29 pm

Okay, let's set this straight.

Calder is a three-part test. It requires a purposeful/intentional tort, which is trivial here because libel was found to be sufficient in Calder. Second, it requires that harm occur mainly in the forum state. On one hand, Sarah Palin is an Alaska resident with a significant positive reputation within that state. However, Sarah Palin is also a national figure who is considering running for President in 2012. Due to the importance of a Presidential candidate's national reputation, the harm suffered in Alaska may not be sufficiently concentrated to uphold this prong. In any case, the third prong on Calder clearly fails: the publisher must have intended to harm Palin within that jurisdiction. Since the Enquirer publishes no papers in Alaska and there is no internet, the paper clearly did not intend to harm Palin in Alaska. The mere coincidence that someone found out that this article had been published is much more akin to another IPJ case: Volkswagen.

Conclusion: no personal jurisdiction in Alaska, and in fairly clear-cut fashion.

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kalvano
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Re: Specific Jurisdiction Hypo

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:09 pm

SwampRat88 wrote:
kalvano wrote:
kalvano wrote:I don't think you understand what "purposeful availment" means.


How are the defendant's not purposefully and voluntarily directing their activities towards Alaska, when they wrote a libelous article specifically and only targeting a resident of the state? Where the article was published makes no difference. Once again, the real question is if they purposefully availed themselves of "the benefits and protections of Alaska."

Anyone else out there have an opinion on this?



You're talking about a tort within the state, not purposeful availment. Purposeful availment requires the defendant undertake some beneficial action within the state to reap some reward, and thus fairly subjecting themselves to being haled into court.




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