Legal Memorandum: Due Process Claim in TN

Issue: In Tennessee, when does a plaintiff state a due process claim upon which relief can be granted?

Area of Law: Constitutional Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Due process claim; Personal jurisdiction
Jurisdiction: Tennessee
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 08/01/2000

The relevant decisional law interpreting Fourteenth Amendment due process limitations on jurisdiction which are binding on Tennessee courts include, of course, United States Supreme Court decisions.

Under the relevant decisional law, certain procedural safeguards must be afforded nonresident plaintiff class members in a state class action to establish or maintain personal jurisdiction and satisfy the mandate of due process:

If the forum State wishes to bind an absent plaintiff concerning a claim for money damages or similar relief at law, it must provide minimal procedural due process protection.  The plaintiff must receive notice plus an opportunity to be heard and participate in the litigation, whether in person or through counsel.  The notice must be the best practicable, “reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections.”  The notice should describe the action and the plaintiffs’ rights in it.  Additionally, we hold that due process requires at a minimum that an absent plaintiff be provided with an opportunity to remove himself from the class by executing and returning an “opt out” or “request for exclusion” form to the court.  Finally, the Due Process Clause of course requires that the named plaintiff at all times adequately represent the interests of the absent class members.

Phillips Petroleum v. Shutts, 472 U.S. 797, 811-12 (1985) (citations omitted); see Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corp., 527 U.S. 815, 846-48 (1999); Hansberry v. Lee, 311 U.S. […]

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