The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum.
Pennoyer v. Neff
95 U.S. 714 (1878)
Pennoyer lost in the trial court then filed appeal.
Is the judgment of the sheriff to recover some land in behalf of Pennoyer a valid judgement?
No, this is not a valid judgement.
Neff was a non-resident of the state of Oregon but owned land in the State. In a contest over the land, Pennoyer received judgement that he would have ownership of the land. Neff was summoned in a local newspaper, didn’t show, and by default lost the land.
* Adjustments during class
This story occurs in two parts
First, Neff was a client of Mitchell who was an attorney in Oregon. Neff failed to pay attorney fees. Therefore, Mitchell sued Neff in Oregon to obtain compensation for his services. Neff is living in California, but has property in Oregon. So, Mitchell, knowing Neff had property in Oregon sought an order to obtain the property to pay the debts. The court gave him that order, obtained the property, auctioned it off, and Pennoyer purchased some of that property.
Next, Neff showed up and says the court had no authority to execute the judgement. Neff claims he needed to be notified in “service of process.” The service was done by publication where the summons is done through a newspaper.
The state has the power and a duty to its citizens. This power can cause a state to make a claim over a resident in another state. However, the state must either summon a non-resident personally or have them come voluntarily. Without this summon, the judgement executed by that state may be questioned.
The essential part to understand here is that the court did not have control over Neff’s property. So, they couldn’t enforce a judgement. If they later came into possession of the property, that judgement would still be void and a new trial would need to be conducted.
Why should we care?
Pennoyer has two main rules: 1. You need to provide proper notice (in person) and 2. that notice has to occur within the state (personal jurisdiction). If the court did not provide proper notice or have personal jurisdiction over the person, the judgement should be questioned.
In between cases
In Hess v. Pawloski we learned that implied consent applies to things that may be considered dangerous and thus the state has power to exercise action against parties to “consent” to it. This all depends on the forum of the act being performed (i.e. driving an automobile over state lines).
In Milliken v. Meyer, the court says that being domicile in a state is sufficient to claim personal jurisdiction. So, the state can cross borders to deliver summons, expect the party to be at court, and authorize good judgement.
International Shoe Co. v. Washington
326 U.S. 310 (1945)
International Shoe Co.
International Shoe Co lost in the state courts, the case now being brought before the Supreme Court.
- Whether International Shoe Company rendered itself to personal jurisdiction because of it’s activities in the state of Washington
- Whether the state can exact contributions from the defendant. (we will not address this point in the brief)
Yes, International Shoe Co developed contacts which showed that the state had specific jurisdiction over the company.
International Shoe Co. did not have an office or conduct manufacturing in the state of Washington. However, there were several salesmen who were employed by the company who would collect orders and send them to the company headquarters in St. Louis, who would then fulfill those orders. Washington sought to claim unemployment taxes from the company for these salesman. The company filed suit arguing that there was no personal jurisdiction because the company did not maintain a “presence” there.
A company can have a “presence” in a state because of the contacts within the state. These contacts must be related to the claim that is being brought. Because these contacts are collecting orders in Washington, and the claim arrises from Washington, Washington can exercise personal jurisdiction over the company in another state.
Why should we care?
This shows how specific personal jurisdiction and general personal jurisdiction functions. I don’t really understand the difference between the two in theory (it makes sense in practice) and more notes will come.
For now, it is important to realize that Pennoyer is practically overturned by this case. A service could now be given over state boundaries, to an individual not domiciled in that state, and did not consent to be sued in that state. However, there are principles of Pennoyer that remains good law (such as maintaining a presence)
Personal Jurisdiction is one of the requirements for a court to hear a case (personal jurisdiction, subject matter, venue). This lecture will be focusing on that process.
Due process is ratified twice in the Constitution, the fifth and fourteenth Amendments. If the case relates to the federal government it falls under the due process clause of the fifth Amendment. Additionally, if the case relates to the State governments, it falls under the due process clause of fourteenth Amendment.
Pennoyer is an attempt of the government to understand how due process relates to the states.
Personal Jurisdiction is the power and authority of the court over the parties in the case. However, the focus is always going to be on the defendant because the defendant will be the one to try and refute the personal jurisdiction.
A couple of terms that we need to know is In Personam and In Rem
- In Personam is jurisdiction over the person and all their assets (including property)
- In Rem which is just jurisdiction over the property that is within the jurisdiction of the court.
Today, notice is not restricted to a limited jurisdiction anymore. The other thing to note is that Pennoyer v. Neff is still the law of the land today.
Forum state is where the case was filed.