October 8, 2020 - Product Liability

Once More Into the Jurisdictional Morass: Supreme Court Grapples With Specific Jurisdiction at Oral Argument in Ford Cases

The Supreme Court heard roughly an hour of oral argument on Wednesday in a pair of cases against Ford Motor Company raising important questions about the scope of personal jurisdiction. In Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court and Ford Motor Co. v. Bandemer, the Court must decide whether the car manufacturer was properly subjected to specific personal jurisdiction in two states where plaintiffs alleged they were injured by manufacturing defects in Ford vehicles originally made and sold elsewhere. State courts in Minnesota and Montana had said that it was enough that Ford marketed and sold the same type of cars in those states, while Ford insisted that a defendant’s in-state activities must bear a closer causal relationship to a plaintiff’s particular claims.

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