Where a case is filed can sometimes be as important as the facts of the case itself. The Washington Court of Appeals, recently revisited specific jurisdiction in the context of consent in Bradley v. Globus Medical, Inc.

In February 2021, Rachel Bradley filed suit in Spokane County Superior Court against Globus Medical, Inc. alleging that hardware and screws designed by Globus were defective and caused her injury after being implanted in her body during surgery. Globus filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction, arguing that Ms. Bradley failed to assert any facts supporting general or specific jurisdiction., Globus maintained that Ms. Bradley alleged no facts supporting any purposeful minimum contacts with Washington or that her injuries related to those contacts. Ms. Bradley argued in response that because Globus was authorized to do business in Washington and had a registered agent, specific jurisdiction was satisfied.  The lower court granted Globus’ motion and Ms. Bradley appealed.

The Washington Court of Appeals, reviewing the case de novo, upheld the trial court’s ruling, noting that under Washington law, a defendant does not consent to jurisdiction simply by registering to do business in Washington. Rather, for the court to have personal jurisdiction: (1) purposeful ‘minimum contacts’ [must] exist between the defendant and the forum state; (2) the plaintiff’s injuries [must] ‘arise out of or relate to’ those minimum contacts; and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction [must] be reasonable, that is, that jurisdiction be consistent with notions of ‘fair play and substantial justice.’” At a minimum, Plaintiff is required to provide a prima facie demonstration of the first two requirements and Ms. Bradley did neither here. Her complaint did not allege that Globus purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities in Washington and did not allege that her claim arose out of or related to Globus’ contacts with Washington.

Ms. Bradley did not allege her surgery took place in Washington or that the hardware or screws allegedly designed by Globus “came to be used in her surgery through some deliberate reaching out into Washington.” The fact Globus is registered to do business in Washington “ does not fill that gap” nor does it mean a corporation “has activities in Washington or any presence beyond its registered agent.”

This decision is significant in affirming that personal jurisdiction in Washington does not automatically exist simply by registering to do business in the state.

The case is Bradley v. Globus Med., Inc., No. 38490-0-III, 2022 WL 2373441, at *1 (Wash. Ct. App. June 30, 2022).

Mallory v. Norfolk S. R.R. Co., Civ. A. No. 3 EAP 2021, Slip. Op. J-49-2021 (Pa. Dec. 22, 2021) may be one of the most cited decisions in Pennsylvania state courts these days, as defendants file an array of motions seeking dismissal of their clients for lack of personal jurisdiction in cases where the only nexus between the defendant and Pennsylvania is the defendant’s registration to do business in the Commonwealth. We previously blogged on this issue here and here, and we were hopeful that the bold statement made in Mallory would clarify the previously murky law on point, but the battle regarding consent jurisdiction rages on.

Continue Reading General jurisdiction by consent continues to divide as the Supreme Court takes on Mallory.

New York’s Court of Appeals recently reversed a $16,500,000 asbestos jury verdict in a case brought by decedent Florence Nemeth and her husband, who alleged that Mrs. Nemeth’s cancer was caused by her use of Desert Flower Talcum Powder. In Nemeth v. Brenntag North America, et al., 2022 WL 1217464 (Ct. App. NY Apr. 26, 2022), the state’s highest court overturned the decision on the grounds that the plaintiff’s experts failed to present sufficient evidence to prove that the talc-based cosmetic powder caused decedent’s peritoneal mesothelioma.

Continue Reading If Only All Asbestos Cases Were Pending in New York… Nemeth v. Brenntag North America

An Alameda County Judge set a hearing on a motion for protective order in a pending asbestos case in which the plaintiffs sought to prevent the defendants of unapproved genetic testing. In the case of John C. Lohmann and Suzanne L. Lohmann vs. Aaon, Inc., et al., the plaintiffs filed suit in Alameda Superior Court against several defendants alleging that Mr. Lohmann developed mesothelioma as a result of his career working in the refrigeration maintenance field from 1970 to 2021 in California. The defense experts sought to use the plaintiff’s medical data for non-litigation purposes without the plaintiffs’ permission because they believed the information will advance science and no pathologist/associated scientist would ethically agree to limitations. As part of the case, defense counsel moved for discovery of Mr. Lohmann’s original pathology material and subpoenaed the providers. The court ordered production of those materials. The plaintiffs contend that production of pathology and genetic material in litigation does not permit outside, personal research and analysis. Multiple defendants, on the other hand, argue that evidence produced in litigation enters the public domain and is not protected by discovery law. Continue Reading No Decision on Genetic Testing Dispute in Asbestos Case in Alameda County, California

On March 2, 2022, a Wisconsin federal judge dismissed Burton v. Am. Cyanamid Co., No. 07-C-0303, 2022 WL 623895 (E.D. Wis. Mar. 2, 2022), a lingering fifteen-year personal injury litigation against lead-based paint manufacturers The Sherwin-Williams Co., E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., and Armstrong Containers Inc. In granting the manufacturers’ summary judgment motions, District Judge Lynn Adelman relied upon the procedural issues that arose throughout the lawsuit and the 2021 reversal of a $6 million award in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Continue Reading Federal Court Tosses Fifteen-Year-Old Lead Paint Personal Injury Lawsuit

On March 28, 2022, the Supreme Court of Delaware settled a 15-year battle between asbestos plaintiffs and defendants by affirming the burden-shifting framework provided in a 2006 Superior Court decision. This decision affirms once and for all that where a company manufactured Continue Reading The Impact of Droz on Evidentiary Standards in Delaware

Under the Tennessee Products Liability Act, plaintiffs used to be required to identify a specific defect or condition that made the product unreasonably dangerous and proximately caused the alleged injuries. But in Hill v. Kia Motors America, Inc., et al., the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals turned this requirement on its head and held that plaintiffs could meet the specific defect element by circumstantial evidence merely supporting an inference of an unspecified defective condition.

Continue Reading The Sixth Circuit Tosses the Specific Defect Requirement under Tennessee Law

Recently, in Moore v. Elec. Boat Corp., No. 21-1566, 2022 WL 278535 (1st Cir. Jan. 31, 2022), a government contractor-defendant successfully appealed remand based on 28 U.S.C. § 1442, the so-called Federal Officer Removal Statute.

Moore serves as a reminder – especially to asbestos defendants – that contractors acting under the direction of a branch of the military (or any U.S. agency) should determine the extent of the government’s involvement.  A fact-intensive inquiry, such evidence may be sufficient Continue Reading Submarine Manufacturer Successfully Dives into Federal Waters with Effective Removal of Asbestos Case in the First Circuit

We previously blogged on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Mallory v. Norfolk S. R.R. Co., Civ. A. No. 3 EAP 2021, Slip. Op. J-49-2021 (Pa. Dec. 22, 2021),  which put an end to general jurisdiction based solely on registration to do business in the Commonwealth.  Since the issuance of this landscape-shifting decision, courts in the Commonwealth have seen a flurry of ”Mallory motions” coming in all shapes and sizes. So far, plaintiff’s response has been uniform – Mallorys holding is limited and does not apply to defendants whose dealings are entirely “interstate” and who have no “footprint” in the Commonwealth. This attempt to minimize the impact of Mallory was recently rejected by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in Emery v. U.S. Steel Corp. giving a glimpse of hope to foreign defendants haled to court in Pennsylvania.

Continue Reading Mallory enforced by Philadelphia Court – There Is No General Jurisdiction Based on Registration to Do Business