For well over a century, state courts have exercised personal jurisdiction over foreign corporations if they engage in commerce within the state “not occasionally or casually, but with a fair measure of permanence and continuity.” This assertion of judicial power, referred to as general jurisdiction and also as the corporate presence doctrine, permitted courts to entertain claims that had no nexus with the forum state against foreign companies “doing business” within that state. The United States Supreme Court, however, sent this line of cases “careening into the abyss” in Daimler AG v. Bauman , wherein the Court held that “the exercise of general jurisdiction in every State in which a corporation ‘engages in a substantial, continuous, and systematic course of business’ . . . is unacceptably grasping.” Redefining general jurisdiction, the Court ruled that a foreign corporation may be sued on a claim arising outside the forum state only where the foreign corporation can be said to be “at home” in the forum state. Absent exceptional circumstances, “at home” means the state of incorporation or the state of defendant’s principal place of business.

First Page