The World in U.S. Courts: Summer 2017 - Personal Jurisdiction/Forum Non Conveniens
Plaintiffs were sellers of physical platinum and palladium and related financial instruments, all priced with reference to the daily benchmark prices set in London for those metals. They alleged that the benchmark prices were unlawfully depressed by the defendants and that their sales thus occurred at prices lower than would have existed in a competitive market. Antitrust claims were dismissed on prudential grounds, and the District Court in New York concluded that claims brought under the Commodities Exchange Act properly applied to the cross-border activity at issue.
The Court then addressed the question whether personal jurisdiction existed over three UK defendants alleged to have participated in the illegal scheme. The Court noted that the plaintiffs did not assert the availability of general personal jurisdiction—typically limited to corporations incorporated or having their principal places of business in the forum—but instead limited their arguments to specific personal jurisdiction based on the defendants’ alleged case-related contacts with the forum. Because the claims at issue arose under federal statutes providing for “nationwide service of process,” the Court concluded that the preliminary jurisdictional inquiry would focus on a defendant’s contacts with the US as a whole, and not its contacts with New York. The Court analyzed jurisdiction over each of the defendants as follows:
[Editor’s Note: The In re Platinum and Palladium Antitrust Litigation case is also discussed in the Securities Law section of this report.]
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