Ca. Litig. Rev. 2018

Civil Procedure

Khai LeQuang & Kristopher R. Wood

The Doctrine of Pendant Personal Jurisdiction in Light of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court


California practitioners are familiar with the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California1 (hereafter Bristol-Myers). In Bristol-Myers, the court held that a state court cannot exercise specific personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant based on claims that do not arise out of the defendant’s contacts with the forum state. This is true even if the plaintiffs asserting those claims are joined with other plaintiffs whose claims provide an independent basis for specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant, and all claims arise out of a common nucleus of facts. In reaching this conclusion, however, the Supreme Court limited its holding to the exercise of personal jurisdiction by state courts and expressly left "open the question whether the Fifth Amendment imposes the same restrictions on the exercise of personal jurisdiction by a federal court."2

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