Foreign plaintiffs, Argentinian nationals, attempted to sue foreign defendant Daimler, as owner of its Argentinian subsidiary, for war crime participation by that subsidiary. They brought suit in California by service on the US subsidiary, which was incorporated in Delaware but had substantial business contacts and properties in California. The trial court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, but the Ninth Circuit reversed on grounds substantially similar to a purposeful availment theory. Appealed to SCOTUS.
Questions of law
When does a corporation’s contacts with a forum rise to a level granting personal jurisdiction over matters unrelated to those contacts?
Ginsburg, writing for the majority, argued that the Ninth Circuit had erred both in permitting to allow the US subsidiary to stand as agent for defendant and in extending general jurisdiction over events and plaintiffs not only outside the forum state, but on an entirely different continent. The subsidiary’s contacts with the forum would have been sufficient to establish specific jurisdiction, but were not enough to show that it was “at home” in the state.