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Perkins v. Benguiet Consolidated Mining Co.

    Brief Fact Summary. A Philippine Island mining company’s production is halted due to occupation of the islands by the Japanese.  The President conducts business from his home in Ohio.

     

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Federal due process is not violated in either taking or declining jurisdiction of a foreign corporation when the foreign corporation’s supervision of a business is carried on continuously and systematically within a state.

     

    Facts. The company’s mining properties were in the Philippine Islands.  During the occupation of the Islands by the Japanese operations were halted and the president returned to his home in Ohio.  He maintained an office where he conducted his affairs and conducted business of the company and its employees (drew salary checks, maintaining bank accounts, hosting Directors’ meetings, supervising policies to rehabilitate the properties in the Philippines etc.).

     

    Issue. At the constitutional level, the fairness to the corporation, and whether as a matter of federal due process, the business done in Ohio by the respondent mining company was sufficiently substantial and of such a nature as to permit Ohio to entertain a cause of action against a foreign corporation, where the cause of action arose from activities entirely distinct from its activities in Ohio.

     

    Held. Under these particular circumstances it would not violate federal due process for Ohio to either take or decline jurisdiction of the corporation.  Vacated and remanded.

     

    Dissent. Justice Minton and The Chief Justice dissented on the grounds that the U.S. Supreme Court was essentially issuing an advisory opinion to the Ohio Supreme Court.

    Concurrence  

     

    Discussion.  Although no mining properties were located in Ohio, the operations and supervision of the company and wartime activities being directed by the president in the State of Ohio are enough not to violate federal due process.

     


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