The World in U.S. Courts: Fall 2014 - Personal Jurisdiction
Plaintiff Tatung in this complicated and long-running case is a Chinese manufacturer that claims to have been defrauded by multiple defendants and defendant families. Various defendants sought to be dismissed from the case for a lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court stated that, in cases like this one alleging intentional torts, specific personal jurisdiction requires the commission of an intentional act "expressly aimed at the forum state" and causing harm, that the defendants knew such harm was likely to be suffered there, and that the claim arose from or was related to the acts.
Specific personal jurisdiction over the Houng family group was found based on uncontested allegations that these defendants orchestrated and managed a scheme to finance a business in the forum (California), which in turn was the device allegedly used to defraud Tatung as a result of statements made and actions taken in that state. The Court found that the claims alleged would not have arisen "but for" these actions, thus satisfying another requirement of specific personal jurisdiction.
Specific personal jurisdiction was found over defendant Hsu based on allegations that she intentionally directed and participated in a scheme to keep two California corporations ostensibly solvent, allowing them to entice Tatung into investing in them. That failed investment formed the basis for Tatung's claim.
[Editor's Note: The Tatung case is also discussed under the RICO heading of this report.]
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