Brief Fact Summary. Defendant Mrs. Brown was injured in an auto accident in a car driven by her husband, due to faulty directions given by the other passenger, Plaintiff Gibbons. Following Plaintiff’s Florida lawsuit against Mr. Brown, Defendant filed suit in Florida against Plaintiff to recover for her own injuries.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Merely bringing a suit in a particular jurisdiction does not act indefinitely to expose that party to defending a future suit in the same jurisdiction.
A current defendant's prior decision to bring a suit in Florida should not act indefinitely as a sword of Damocles hanging perilously over the head of that defendant if it later challenges jurisdiction in a separate suit.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether by previously availing oneself of a jurisdiction as a Plaintiff automatically renders one subject to defending later suits in the same jurisdiction.
Held. No. The trial court was directed to dismiss Defendant’s complaint. The fact that a current Defendant previously brought a suit in the forum state does not constitute sufficient activities, without more, to subject the current defendant to personal jurisdiction in the state.
Discussion. The parties agreed that as a general rule in Florida, a Plaintiff, by bringing an action, subjects herself to the jurisdiction of the court and to subsequent lawful orders entered regarding the same subject matter of that action. However, the Court refused to hold that by filing a lawsuit in 1995, Plaintiff should have to automatically consent to Florida jurisdiction when she was named as a defendant in a related lawsuit two full years later.