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Legal Memorandum: Personal jurisdiction over a Corporate Officer

Issue: What is required to establish personal jurisdiction over a corporate officer?

Area of Law: Corporate & Securities, Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Personal jurisdiction; Corporate officer
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 833 F. Supp. 437; 557 F. Supp. 2d 494
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2008

The fact that a defendant is an officer of a corporation offers no shield rom personal jurisdiction. See Mobil Oil Corp. v. Advanced Envtl. Recycling Techs. Inc., 833 F. Supp. 437, 443-44 (D. Del. 1993) (where the individual defendant’s telephone contacts with the forum state were connected to the litigation and allegedly caused tortious injury there, the fact that the contacts were made in his or her corporate or employment capacity is no bar to exercise of personal jurisdiction over individual defendant).  The present case is distinguishable from the case in which “the plaintiff is attempting to secure jurisdiction over a corporate employee who played no part in the alleged tortious conduct.”  Advanced Envtl., 833 F. Supp. at 446 (finding exercise of personal jurisdiction over corporate officers where they “were the primary actors involved”). 

In Gerald Chamales v. Oki Data Americas, 557 F. Supp. 2d 494 (D.N.J. 2008), the federal district court found that there were sufficient contacts between the corporate chairperson and New Jersey, the forum state.  557 F. Supp. 2d at 500.  The court specifically made this finding “even though many of those contacts were made by Chamales in his role as an officer of [the corporation].”  Id.  Applying New Jersey law, the court reasoned “that actions taken by an individual within New Jersey in his ‘corporate capacity’ may be imputed to a defendant corporate officer individually.”  Id.  The individual counterclaim defendant was the sole owner of one corporation and 85% […]

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