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Civil Procedure—General Jurisdiction Over Foreign Corporation Doing Business in State

Posted by Ted A. Schmidt | May 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Civpro_20walmart

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. LeMaire,  764 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 29 (App. Div. I, May 11, 2017) (J. Swann)

FOREIGN CORPORATION MUST BE INCORPORATED IN STATE, HAVE PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS IN STATE OR CONSENT TO JURISDICTION IN STATE IN ORDER FOR THERE TO BE GENERAL JURISDICTION FOR EVENT OCCURRING OUTSIDE STATE

Plaintiffs sued Walmart Stores Inc. [Walmart] in Maricopa County Superior Court for a slip and fall injury that occurred in an Oregon store.  Walmart is incorporated in Delaware with its principal place of business in Arkansas.  Wal-Mart filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, and the superior court  denied it, finding Wal-Mart was subject to general jurisdiction in Arizona. Wal-Mart then brought this special action and the Arizona Court of Appeals accepted jurisdiction and granted Wal-Mart relief.

Because the facts of the case have no connection to Arizona, Wal-Mart can be sued here only if the Arizona courts have general jurisdiction over it. [plaintiff] maintains that Wal-Mart's pervasive presence and substantial business activities in Arizona are sufficient to create general jurisdiction, and any claim against Wal-Mart is therefore cognizable in Arizona. We disagree. In keeping with Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915 (2011), and Daimler AG v.

Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014), we hold that the magnitude of a corporation's business activities in Arizona is not sufficient to create general jurisdiction when that corporation is neither incorporated nor has its principal place of business in Arizona. We further hold that foreign corporations do not impliedly consent to general jurisdiction in Arizona merely by registering as foreign corporations and appointing agents for service of process under A.R.S. §§10-1501 to -1510. Wal-Mart therefore is subject only to specific jurisdiction in Arizona, and actions against it in the Arizona courts must relate to its activities in the state.

About the Author

Ted A. Schmidt

Ted's early career as a trial attorney began on the other side of the fence, in the offices of a major insurance defense firm. It was there that Ted acquired the experience, the skills and the special insight into defense strategy that have served him so well in the field of personal injury law. Notable among his successful verdicts was the landmark Sparks vs. Republic National Life Insurance Company case, a $4.5 million award to Ted's client. To this day, it is the defining case for insurance bad faith, and yet it is only one of several other multi-million dollar jury judgments won by Ted during his career. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in "wrongful death and bodily injury litigation".

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