What Ford Ruling Clarifies About Personal Jurisdiction

By Reeves Anderson, David Weiner and Sam Callahan (April 2, 2021, 4:21 PM EDT) -- On March 25, the U.S. Supreme Court held, in Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, that Montana and Minnesota courts could exercise jurisdiction over the global auto manufacturer for certain in-state vehicle accidents, even if Ford sold, designed and manufactured the allegedly defective automobiles outside those forums.[1]

The Ford decision sparked immediate questions about the direction of the court's personal jurisdiction jurisprudence, especially after a decade of decisions restricting the exercise of jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants.

Does Ford signal a return to the days of expansive jurisdiction, or was it simply a tried-and-true application of existing principles? In...

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