U.S. Supreme Court decides that manufacturer may be sued in state where accident occurred when manufacturer engages in activities in the state

March 25, 2021. In Ford Motor Co v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, 592 U.S. ___ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court revisited the issue of specific jurisdiction for manufacturers with national markets. Ford involved an appeal of two product liability cases involving vehicle accidents in Montana and Minnesota. In both cases, the vehicles were originally sold outside the forum state and later resold to individuals in Montana and Minnesota. Ford sought to dismiss both claims for lack of personal jurisdiction because it had not designed, manufactured, or sold the vehicles in the forum states. The Court concluded that “[w]hen a company like Ford serves a market for a product in a State and that product causes injury in the State to one of its residents, the State’s courts may entertain the resulting suit.” Based on this decision, a manufacturer may be subject to personal jurisdiction where the accident involving its product occurred even if the manufacturer did not manufacture or sell the specific product in that state. A manufacturer’s connections with the forum state may be sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction if the manufacturer regularly markets, sells, and services products in that state.

To read more about the Ford opinion, click here.

To read the Ford opinion, click here.

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