Brief Fact Summary.
Husband and wife divorce and the wife moves across the country to California. The wife waits until the husband visits California in order to serve him with the divorce papers. The husband objects to personal jurisdiction in California, believing it improper for him to be served just because he was physically present in the state.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A non-resident defendant is properly served if the defendant is physically located in the forum state and the forum state may exercise personal jurisdiction over them without violating due process.
Justice Brennan agrees that the Due Process Clause generally permits a state court to exercise jurisdiction over a defendant if he is served with process while voluntarily present in the forum state.View Full Point of Law
Dennis and Francie Burnham got married in West Virginia in 1976 and moved to New Jersey a year later. A few years later Francie Burnham moved with the couple’s kids to California. Francie then commences divorce proceedings in a California state court and waits until Plaintiff Dennis visits California to see their kids and to conduct business to serve him with process.
Does service on a transient defendant offend the notions of fair play and substantial justice and due process?
Yes. Due process allows personal jurisdiction over a transient defendant.
1. Justice White concurring
2. Justice White concurring
3. Justice Brennan with Justices Marshall, Blackmun, and O’Connor concurring
4. Justice Stevens concurring