Civil Rights Law
Camilla Cohen

Ms. Cohen

In first-year civil procedure, students spend a great deal of time parsing an “answer” to a deceptively simple question: When may a state exercise its adjudicatory authority over an out-of-state defendant? Since Pennoyer v. Neff, the United States Supreme Court has addressed the issue of personal jurisdiction in at least thirty-five cases spanning three centuries. Following the Court’s decision in International Shoe Co. v. Washington, a state’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over a foreign defendant must satisfy two requirements. First, the state must have a statutory basis for asserting adjudicatory authority over a foreign defendant. Second, if the claims satisfy the statutory requirements for jurisdiction, the state must further determine whether the foreign defendant has established “minimum contacts” with the forum “such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.’” Rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, this second inquiry places a limit on the state’s adjudicatory authority in order to ensure the “fair and orderly administration of the laws.”