GPO-CONAN-2017-10-15.pdf

944 mcgee v international life ins co 355 us 220 222

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944 McGee v. International Life Ins. Co., 355 U.S. 220, 222 (1957). An exception exists with respect to in personam jurisdiction in domestic relations cases, at least in some instances. E.g. , Vanderbilt v. Vanderbilt, 354 U.S. 416 (1957) (holding that sufficient contacts afforded Nevada in personam jurisdiction over a New York resi- dent wife for purposes of dissolving the marriage but Nevada did not have jurisdic- tion to terminate the wife’s claims for support). 945 357 U.S. 235 (1958). The decision was 5-to-4. See 357 U.S. at 256 (Justice Black dissenting), 262 (Justice Douglas dissenting). 2005 AMENDMENT 14—RIGHTS GUARANTEED
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puted property through use of ordinary mail and publication. The will had been entered into and probated in Florida, the claimants were resident in Florida and had been personally served, but the trustees, who were indispensable parties, were resident in Dela- ware. Noting the trend in enlarging the ability of the states to ob- tain in personam jurisdiction over absent defendants, the Court de- nied the exercise of nationwide in personam jurisdiction by states, saying that “it would be a mistake to assume that th[e] trend [to expand the reach of state courts] heralds the eventual demise of all restrictions on the personal jurisdiction of state courts.” 946 The Court recognized in Hanson that Florida law was the most appropriate law to be applied in determining the validity of the will and that the corporate defendants might be little inconvenienced by having to appear in Florida courts, but it denied that either cir- cumstance satisfied the Due Process Clause. The Court noted that due process restrictions do more than guarantee immunity from in- convenient or distant litigation, in that “[these restrictions] are con- sequences of territorial limitations on the power of the respective States. However minimal the burden of defending in a foreign tri- bunal, a defendant may not be called upon to do so unless he has the ‘minimum contacts’ with that State that are a prerequisite to its exercise of power over him.” The only contacts the corporate de- fendants had in Florida consisted of a relationship with the indi- vidual defendants. “The unilateral activity of those who claim some relationship with a nonresident defendant cannot satisfy the require- ment of contact with the forum State. The application of that rule will vary with the quality and nature of the defendant’s activity, but it is essential in each case that there be some act by which the defendant purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws . . . . The settlor’s execution in Florida of her power of appointment cannot remedy the absence of such an act in this case.” 947 946 357 U.S. at 251. In dissent, Justice Black observed that “of course we have not reached the point where state boundaries are without significance and I do not mean to suggest such a view here.” 357 U.S. at 260.
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