Legal Memorandum: Long-arm Statute and DC Personal Jurisdiction

Issue: Under the laws of Washington D.C., is D.C. Code 13-334(a) still a valid basis for general jurisdiction notwithstanding the adoption of the long-arm statute?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Jurisdictional statute; Long-arm statutes; Expanded bases of jurisdiction
Jurisdiction: District of Columbia
Cited Cases: 428 A.2d 849; 269 U.S. App. D.C. 355; 590 F. Supp. 1187; 539 A.2d 1107; 345 F.2d 105; 603 F. Supp. 677; 636 F. Supp. 852; 217 U.S. App. D.C. 365; 385 A.2d 153; 312 Md. 330; 198 U.S. App. D.C. 92; 612 F.2d 587; 845 F.2d 1100; 53 N.Y.2d 305; 787 F.2d 599; 814 F.2d 758; 425 F. Supp. 376; 726 F.2d 1209; 715 F.2d 757; 454 F. Supp. 407; 342 U.S. 437; 466 U.S. 408; 252 U.S. App. D.C. 43; 434 N.E.2d 692; 652 F.2d 1032; 490 A.2d 1140
Cited Statutes: D.C. Code § 13-334(a), § 13-401, § 13-423, § 13-334; Federal Practice and Procedure §§ 1066-1069
Date: 03/01/2005

           Section 13-334 did not lose its force as a jurisdictional statute*FN1 merely because Congress in 1970 added long-arm provisions to the District of Columbia courts’ personal jurisdictional arsenal.  This is clear from the legislative history of the long-arm statute, which states that "Chapter 4 more specifically grants expanded bases of jurisdiction and modes of service identical to or reciprocal with those provided under" Maryland law and substantially similar to the law of Virginia and other states.  S. Rep. No. 405, 91st Cong., 1st Sess. 35 (1969)(emphasis added); see also H. Rep. No. 907, 91st Cong., 2d Sess. 61 (1970)(also referring to "expanded bases of jurisdiction").  Congress unquestionably intended to provide the District of Columbia courts with long-arm jurisdiction comparable to Maryland’s.  Id.

It does not follow, however, that Congress intended to abandon all then-existing District of Columbia statutory bases for personal jurisdiction.  To the contrary, Congress explicitly directed that "[e]xcept in cases of irreconcilable conflict, this chapter shall be construed to augment, and not to repeal, any other law of the District of Columbia authorizing another basis of jurisdiction."  D.C. Code § 13-401.

Similarly, just because § 13-334 was the chronological "predecessor" to the long-arm statutes, it does not follow that its provisions were superseded by the long-arm statute.  Ramamurti v. Rolls-Royce, Ltd., 454 F. Supp. 407, 409 n.2 (D.D.C. 1978) (actually states that § 13-334 was the predecessor of the long-arm statute and continues to exist as a basis […]

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