Monday, March 4, 2019

Word of the the Month for March 2019: Minimum Contacts

Clever people are sooooo screwed
You know what's funny?  People.  Specifically, people who think they're one step ahead of the game and that they are sooooooo clever that they'll never get caught - except when they are and then they get all indignant and angry and demand to see the manager.

So, picture it - Guy lives in Arizona.  He buys a car in California.  Guy drives the car to Arizona and there he stays.  Oh, I forgot to mention that Guy never pays for the car.  Dealership is a bit peeved and tries to retrieve the car, but guy is clever.  Guy moves the car around so dealer can't find the car.

Dealer decides to file suit for breach of contract.  Guy is clever.  Guy thinks that all he as to do is stay in Arizona and he's safe from a California lawsuit.

Guy is sooooo clever - until that one day when he makes a trip to Blythe, California (just over the Arizona border).  Little does Guy realize but, apparently, Dealership went the extra mile and paid someone to tail Guy.  As Guy is cooling his heals in Blythe, Dealer faxes complaint to Tail who then serves Guy.

Guy is angry.  Guy is indignant.  Guy demands to see the manager.  Guy is now standing in front of me saying that Dealer can't serve him because of the Minimum Contacts rule.

Wait, what?!  What does Minimum Contacts have to do with being served?  See, according to Black's Law Dictionary, Minimum Contacts refers to:
A nonresident defendant's forum-state connections, such as business activity or actions forseeably leading to business activity, that are substantial enough to bring the defendant within the forum-state court's personal jurisdiction without offending the traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.  International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 66 S.Ct. 154 (1945).  See Purposeful-Availment doctrine.
So, if I understand it right, Minimum Contacts deals with suing (as in filing a complaint against) a company or person that has reached into a forum state enough times to justify having personal jurisdiction over that person or party.  So, how does that relate to serving process on someone?

It doesn't.  But try telling that to someone who is adamant about trying to apply the wrong principle in their case.  Of course, I can't tell tell that to Guy (legal advice, and all), so best I can do is suggest he look at:
and off Guy went to prove that the whole world was wrong.

Yeah, sometimes you're the nutcracker, sometimes the nut and sometimes you get to deal with the nuts of the world.  

It's just that way.

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