Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment that a book published by them did not infringe upon the copyright of a rival company’s book.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Specific jurisdiction exists where the suit arises over the defendant’s activities in the forum state. General jurisdiction arises when a Defendant’s contacts with the state are so continuous and systematic that the Defendant may be subject to suit for causes of action unrelated to its in-state activities.
The casual presence of the corporate agent or even his conduct of single or isolated items of activities in a state in the corporation's behalf are not enough to subject it to suit on causes of action unconnected with the activities there.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether a state’s long-arm statute permits jurisdiction over a non-resident corporation whose only business within the state is advertising and soliciting business on its internet website.
Held. Plaintiff’s motion for discovery related to personal jurisdiction was granted, while the Defendant’s motion to dismiss was taken under advisement pending the outcome of the discovery. Without proof that a non-resident company transacted business relevant to the cause of action in Virginia, there is no specific jurisdiction over the Defendant.
Discussion. The key to understanding the court’s decision here is recognizing the distinction between specific and general jurisdiction. Specific jurisdiction exists where the suit arises over the Defendant’s activities in the forum state. General jurisdiction arises when a Defendant’s contacts with the state are so continuous and systematic that the defendant may be subject to suit for causes of action unrelated to its in-state activities. Thus in denying specific jurisdiction the court noted that Defendant had never sold any copies of their Safety Zone publication in Florida. More importantly, the Plaintiff’s action did not arise from the sale of Defendant’s publication. Thus, there was no legal arrangement that bound Defendant to the forum state.