The Supreme Court of Missouri recently restricted the extent to which Missouri courts have general personal jurisdiction over corporations. Plaintiffs can no generally longer use Missouri courts to sue out-of-state companies that operate significant portions of their business in Missouri for suits unrelated to Missouri (albeit relatively small portion in relation to their overall operations) even if they have registered agent in Missouri. A copy of the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision in State ex rel. Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. Dolan can be found here.
The plaintiff sued Norfolk Southern Railway Company, a Virginia corporation, in St. Louis County, Missouri. The plaintiff was an Indiana resident, seeking recovery for a personal injury that occurred in Indiana. The action was unrelated to Missouri, but the plaintiff argued, among other things, that: (1) Norfolk Southern’s substantial and continuous contacts in Missouri were sufficient to establish general personal jurisdiction; and (2) Norfolk Southern consented to personal jurisdiction by complying with Missouri’s foreign corporation registration statutes. The Court soundly rejected the plaintiff’s arguments in the 6-0 decision.
In Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014), the U.S. Supreme Court clarified that under the Due Process Clause a state may only exercise general jurisdiction (personal jurisdiction over a defendant for actions unrelated to the defendant’s activities in the state) over a corporate defendant in three situations: (1) when the corporation is incorporated in that state; (2) when the corporation’s principal place of business is in that state; or (3) in exceptional circumstances, when the corporation’s activities are “so substantial and of such a nature as to render the corporation at home in that State.” To determine whether a corporation is “essentially at home,” the court must appraise the corporation’s nationwide and worldwide activities and determine how the forum activities compare. Continuous and systematic business activities in a state are not enough for general personal jurisdiction when those activities only comprise a small portion of the defendant’s business overall.
Following Daimler, the Missouri Supreme Court found that Norfolk Southern’s $232 million in Missouri revenue, 590 Missouri employees, and 400 miles of Missouri railroad tracks were not enough to establish general jurisdiction in Missouri. The Court noted that despite these substantial operations, Norfolk Southern’s Missouri business only accounts for approximately 2 percent of its employees, 2 percent of its revenue, and 2 percent of the tracks it owns or operates. Norfolk Southern had more substantial operations in several other states, so it could not reasonably be considered “at home” in Missouri.
The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that Norfolk Southern consented to personal jurisdiction over any case filed against it in Missouri when it complied with Missouri’s foreign corporation registration statutes to do business in the state of Missouri and appointed a registered agent for service of process. The court stated that a “broad inference of consent based on registration would allow national corporations to be sued in every state, rendering Daimler pointless.” The court concluded that merely registering in a state does not open a corporation to lawsuits unrelated to that state.
Attorney Andrew G. Toennies will be speaking at an upcoming seminar titled “Running a Business Is Hard” presented by AdviCoach Business Advisors. Andy will use his over 23 years of legal knowledge to explain “How Not to Get Sued and Other Useful Legal Knowledge.” The three-part series will include other local business professionals who will be presenting on finance, marketing, and employment issues. The speakers will discuss the topics listed below and many more.
The sessions will be held on March 31st, April 28th, and May 11th. All sessions will be from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and held at the St. Clair Country Club, Belleville, IL. A light breakfast and refreshments will be served. For the complete event flyer click here.
Get registered today on Eventbrite!! Seats will go fast!!
To register for March 31st, follow this link:
To register for April 28th, follow this link:
To register for May 11th, follow this link:
*** If you register for a 3-part series pack before March 10th at midnight, you will receive special pricing***
For more information, contact Teresa A. Pedigo at 217-433-6809 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenneth C. Brostron successfully defended a surgeon in a jury trial ending January, 26 2017. The 11-1 verdict came after the jury deliberated for one and half hours. The Plaintiff claimed that the surgeon was negligent in cutting her common and hepatic ducts during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The physician recognized the injury immediately and obtained assistance to repair. The doctor maintained such an injury is a reported complication of the surgery and was the result of the peculiar anatomy of the plaintiff.
Andrew G. Toennies recently won an appeal in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals when they overturned a verdict at the District Court level on a Spoliation case against Brand Energy Services LLC and Dynegy Inc. The appellate court reversed the District Court’s decision dismissing the case and sent the case back to the US District Court in Benton, IL for a trial on the merits. Mr. Toennies also was able to secure a judgment for the same client against the employer before the Illinois Industrial Commission on two separate occasions. He is now seeking sanctions and attorney’s fees against the employer Brand in state court in Randolph County, IL.
Congratulation to Lashly & Baer, P.C. for being ranked “Best In Customer Service” by the readers of St. Louis Small Business Monthly. The award will be featured in their February, 2017 issue. Click here to view the complete list of businesses recognized.
Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney Stuart J. Vogelsmeier represented Resource Optimization & Innovation in its negotiation with HPS, which resulted in HPS becoming the newest member of ROi’s supply chain partnership.
HPS, a group purchasing organization (GPO) with more than 3,600 members, including 144 acute care and 1,466 non-acute care facilities, in 20 states, has signed an agreement with Resource Optimization & Innovation (ROi), a provider-owned supply chain organization, for access to ROi’s comprehensive cost management and supply chain services. Through the 10-year agreement, effective January 13, 2017, ROi will serve as the exclusive GPO for HPS’ national contract portfolio.
Congratulations to Kenneth C. Brostron and Wendy J. Wolf for being recognized as one of Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2017 Top Verdicts & Settlements Award Honorees. Missouri Lawyers Weekly announced recently that Brostron and Wolf of Lashly and Baer will be recognized for securing one of the largest reported defense wins of 2016 in the state of Missouri.
Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2017 Missouri Lawyers Awards on January 27 will honor attorneys for their achievments in 2016. The winners received the largest verdicts, judgments and settlements reported by the news staff to their Verdicts & Settlements database.
The official ranking will be announced during the awards event at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark and published in the Top V&S edition of Missouri Lawyers Weekly on February 6th. To read the full announcement click here.