Brief Fact Summary. Two American purchasers of rubber thread brought an antitrust action suing various foreign manufacturers and distributors of the thread alleging an international conspiracy to restrain trade in, and fix prices of the thread in the U.S.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Venue is proper in any federal judicial district for alien corporations so long as the alien corporation is first subject to federal court personal jurisdiction.
Plaintiffs Dee-K and Asheboro were Virginia and North Carolina corporations that bought rubber thread from the Defendants to make bungee cords. Plaintiffs sued a number of corporations producing the rubber thread, which corporations were located in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Plaintiffs alleged a broad conspiracy among the Defendants to fix prices and restrain competition in rubber thread. Defendants challenged jurisdiction and venue.
Issue. Whether there was United States personal jurisdiction over an Indonesian manufacturer that consummates its sales of thread in Indonesia. Whether venue was proper in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Held. Yes. The Supreme Court of the United States held that due process was satisfied by the Defendants’ appointment of exclusive U.S. sales agents and its customizing of its products for the U.S. market. Yes. The Supreme Court has held that aliens may be sued in any federal judicial district.
Discussion. Points of Law - for Law School Success
The district court noted that to bar such a claim would overextend Keogh's reach and could produce a rule that one who pays for services governed by ICC tariffs is foreclosed from asserting that antitrust violations prevented use of a less expensive, equivalent service. View Full Point of Law
Students should realize here that the mere fact that a Defendant is a foreign corporation does not automatically escape Federal court jurisdiction. The Supreme Court points out that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k) (2) provides that a Defendant who is not subject to the jurisdiction of any state court that is served with process is subject to personal jurisdiction in the Federal courts as long as the assertion of jurisdiction is consistent with federal law and does not offend the United States Constitution. Thus, so long as the actual method of service of process complied with existing federal law, jurisdiction over a foreign corporation is appropriate where the Constitutional test of fair play and substantial justice in asserting jurisdiction is satisfied.