• August 20, 2013

Minnesota Litigator has previously lamented that constitutional analysis of personal jurisdiction may hinge on whether a litigant can “reasonably anticipate being haled into court” when few United States citizens can imagine being haled into anything, anywhere, at any time because the word, “to hale,” is archaic and obsure.  Few have any idea what the hale hale is supposed to mean.

When Dorminy Medical Center in Fitzgerald, Georgia entered into an equipment lease with Winthrop Resources Corporation, the medical center agreed to a Minnesota choice-of-law clause.  It agreed to do business with Winthrop.  It knew where Winthrop was located.  Granted, it is possible that no one from Dorminy Medical Center ever traveled north of Atlanta, much less set foot in Minnesota. (Well, actually, some employees did come to Minnesota for unrelated business, but let’s just imagine they did not.)  It is possible that folks at Dorminy Medical Center felt confident that any disputes would be in Georgia because they specifically negotiated for Winthrop to accept jurisdiction in Georgia and they got Winthrop to drop an exclusive jurisdiction provision calling for jurisdiction in Minnesota.

But for purposes of the constitutionality of forcing a Georgia business to litigate its dispute in Minnesota, shouldn’t these basis facts of the transaction be sufficient (i.e., the fact that you knowingly enter into a multi-year business relationship with a Minnesota company)?  I think so. So, it seems, does U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank (D. Minn.). (His order denying defendant’s motion to dismiss, venue challenge, request for transfer is here.)

(U.S. Mag. Judge Arthur J. Boylan recently decided a similar issue in the same way, in a report and recommendation adopted by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis (D. Minn.) yesterday.)

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