Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ninth Circuit Issues En Banc Opinion Regarding Personal Jurisdiction in Yahoo v. LICRA Case

Last week the Ninth Circuit per Judge W. Fletcher issued an en banc opinion in Yahoo v. La Ligue Contre Le Racisime et L'Antisemitisme (LICRA) in which it held that California courts could exercise personal jurisdiciton over LICRA based on its sending of a cease and desist letter to Yahoo in California, serving process on Yahoo in California to commence its lawsuit against Yahoo in France, and obtaining and serving two interim orders from the French court. The majority acknowledged that these contacts/actions alone would be insufficient to confer jurisdiciton but reasoned that together they were enough under its interpretation of Calder v. Jones. Notwithstanding their view of the jurisdicitonal issue, the majority felt that the matter was not ripe and should thus be dismissed on those grounds.

A concurrence by Judge Ferguson argued that dismissal was appropriate based upon a lack of personal jurisdiction, arguing that LICRA in no way expressly aimed its French litigation activities at California as would be required to find jurisdiciton proper under Calder.

A separate concurrence by Judge O'Scannlain had the following to say: "The Supreme Court has never approved such a radical extension of personal jurisdiction as would sanction the majority’s holding that, by litigating a bona fide claim in a foreign court and receiving a favorable judgment, a foreign party automatically assents to being haled into court in the other litigant’s home forum." Judge O'Scannlain also took issue with the majority's determination that under Calder, the relevant forum contacts need not be wrongful; according to Judge O'Scannlain, it is clear that the Calder Court was pronouncing a rule of jurisdiction applicable to intentional tortious actions directed at the forum state.

The full set of opinions can be read by clicking here.


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