Legal Memorandum: Jurisdiction in a Wrongful Death Action in MN

Issue: In a wrongful death action in Minnesota, can a Minnesota court permissibly exercise jurisdiction over non-resident corporate and/or individual defendant(s)?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Wrongful death action; Jurisdiction; Non-resident corporate
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 358 N.W.2d 117; 474 N.W.2d 829; 352 N.W.2d 59; 240 N.W.2d 814; 354 N.W.2d 95; 343 F.2d 187
Cited Statutes: Minn. R. Civ. P. 4.03(c); Minn. Stat. § 543.19; Minn. Stat. § 543.19(1)(a), (b), (c)
Date: 04/01/2001

           Officers of a corporation who are physically present within the state of Minnesota may be served with process, thereby compelling the corporation to appear before a Minnesota court.  Minn. R. Civ. P. 4.03(c) (service may be made by delivering a copy to an officer, managing agent, or any other agent, authorized expressly or impliedly or designated by statute, to receive service of summons within the state).  Minnesota’s long-arm statute, § 543.19, gives Minnesota courts jurisdiction over foreign corporations to the maximum extent that constitutional due process allows.  Minn. Stat. § 543.19 (2000); Mid-West Med., Inc. v. Kremmling Med.-Surgical Assocs., 352 N.W.2d 59, 60 (Minn. Ct. App. 1984).

A corporation may be required to defend an action brought in a Minnesota court by virtue of Minn. Stat. § 543.19(1)(b) and (d), as well as other relevant provisions of the long‑arm statute.[1]  Under subd. (1)(b), the court will sustain jurisdiction over a foreign corporation that transacts any business within the state, as long as the business transacted in the state bears a reasonable relationship to the cause of action.  A corporation thus has subjected itself to personal jurisdiction unless either of the following exceptions applies:  (1) Minnesota has no substantial interest in providing a forum; or (2) the burden placed on the corporation by being brought under the state’s jurisdiction would violate fairness and substantial justice. 

Apart from long-arm jurisdiction for transacting business in Minnesota, under subd. (1)(d) a Minnesota court may exercise personal jurisdiction over […]

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