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Legal Memorandum: Assertion of Personal Jurisdiction in DC

Issue: Did the decision in Mouzavires v. Baxter modify the ‘doing business’ standard for asserting personal jurisdiction D.C. Code Ann.  13‑334(a)?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Personal jurisdiction; "Doing business" standard; Mouzavires v. Baxter
Jurisdiction: District of Columbia
Cited Cases: 428 A.2d 849; 458 A.2d 1187; 510 A.2d 1032; 385 A.2d 153; 614 F. Supp. 255; 814 F.2d 758; 259 U.S. App. D.C. 229; 454 F. Supp. 407; 444 U.S. 286; 603 F. Supp. 1337; 434 A.2d 988
Cited Statutes: D.C. Code Ann. 13‑334(a), § 13‑423(a)
Date: 03/01/2005

           Neither AMAF Int’l Corp. v. Ralston Purina Co., 428 A.2d 849 (D.C. 1981) nor Ramamurti v. Rolls-Royce, Ltd., 454 F. Supp. 407, 409 n.2 (D.D.C. 1978) is affected by the decision in Mouzavires v. Baxter, 434 A.2d 988 (D.C. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1006 (1982).  Mouzavires, and the cases which cite it, presented classic long-arm cases.  The significance of Mouzavires lies in its statement that, at least in some instances, a long-arm statute and the due process clause may be co-extensive,*FN1 and therefore the traditional two-step analysis of statutory applicability and consistency with due process could be collapsed into a single step defining the scope of the "transacting business" provision of § 13‑423(a).  Id. at 992.  Because the Mouzavires opinion, although labeled a "per curiam" decision, actually represents a 4-4 split of the court on the scope of § 13-423(a)(1), see 434 A.2d at 998 (dissent) and Reiman v. First Union Real Estate Equity & Mortgage Inv., 614 F. Supp. 255, 256 (D.D.C. 1985), the opinion should not be strained beyond its explicit holdings.  Mouzavires does not address whether a traditional general jurisdictional statute such as § 13-334 comports with due process;*FN2 and in any case, International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945) and its progeny have clearly resolved that issue in plaintiffs’ favor.  See AMAF, 428 A.2d at 851 (corporation which purposely […]

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