U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms That Corporate Defendants Are Subject to General Personal Jurisdiction Only Where They Are “At Home”

May 31, 2017

On May 30, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court strongly reaffirmed the Daimler rule that a corporate defendant is typically subject to general personal jurisdiction only in its place of incorporation and its principal place of business.

Ruling 8-1 in BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell, the Court also indicated that any exceptions to this rule will be construed very narrowly. The decision sends a strong message to state courts that the exercise of general jurisdiction based on a traditional “doing business” standard will not withstand the more exacting Daimler rule. However, the Court left open the question whether a corporation’s registration to do business in a state can constitute consent to general jurisdiction, and corporate defendants should expect continued litigation on this issue until the Court resolves it.

This alert memo was republished by Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.