• June 4, 2010

Defendant FMI, a resident of California, was sued in Iowa.  At the outset FMI raised the defense of lack of personal jurisdiction and lost at the U.S District Court level (Bennett, J., U.S. Dist. Ct. N.D. Iowa).

As all experienced litigators know, this is not an immediately appealable final judgment.   Apparently highly confident that the Court of Appeals would find error on this threshold jurisdictional issue, FMI admitted the allegations in the complaint so judgment could be entered against it and there would then be an appealable judgment.

Notwithstanding a case with highly similar facts in which the Eighth Circuit found no personal jurisdiction, Judges Wollman, Bye, and Melloy distinguished the case and held that the U.S. federal court had personal jurisdiction over the California company.

Of course the opinion could not and does not give a peek at whether FMI had any viable defenses that it abandoned in order to get a quick appeal of the jurisdictional issue.  It could be that FMI had no defenses so stakes on the bet were low.  Whatever the wager, it obviously did not pan out.

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