January 31, 2008
Again with the 7th Circuit
Last week, in SEC v. Paul Jones, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to exercise personal jurisdiction over nonparties located outside the United States in a contempt hearing. The Court held that the exercise of jurisdiction over such nonparties is proper in a contempt proceeding, even when the nonparty has no other contacts with the U.S., so long as the party had actual knowledge of the court's order. The Court explained the reason for the rule.
This rule is simply an application of two basic principles that govern the application of in personam jurisdiction in the United States. It has been long-established that, when an individual undertakes activity designed to have a purpose and effect in the forum, the forum may exercise personal jurisdiction over that person with respect to those activities. There can be no doubt that Mr. Jones and Mr. Pollock undertook activities outside the United States that were designed to have the purpose and effect within the United States of frustrating the district court’s freeze order. More important, as citizens of the United States, Mr. Jones and Mr. Pollock were required, once they had adequate notice, to obey the order of a United States court directed at them and their activities. (internal citations omitted).
This might be a good case to use in CivPro as a more recent example of the principle Calder v. Jones sets out.--Counseller
January 30, 2008
More preclusion law from the 7th Circuit
A valid final judgment on the merits is claim preclusive, but does not bar claims that accrue after a previous suit was filed. The italicized word is important. For example, suppose the plaintiff's second suit involves claims that accrued after she filed the first suit but before judgment was rendered in the first suit. Addressing this issue, Judge Posner teaches his second preclusion lesson of the week in Smith v. Potter:
It is true that some of the alleged harassment that occurred after the plaintiff filed her first suit occurred before she dismissed the suit, and so, the government argues, she could have amended her complaint to add an allegation of that harassment. But ... there is no legal duty to amend rather than bring a fresh suit, especially since a plaintiff has a right to amend her complaint only once without leave of court. Suppose that a year into the case, with trial about to begin, the plaintiff experienced a fresh act of harassment. The judge might quite understandably not want to allow her to amend her complaint to add the new allegation, because that might require additional discovery and so force postponement of the trial. On the government's view, the judge would have to either allow the amendment, in order to prevent the bar of res judicata from cutting off the plaintiff's access to a remedy for the fresh harassment, or deny it and by doing so deny her any remedy. Neither alternative is attractive.
January 29, 2008
Worth a Read
You might want to take a look at Pritchett v. Cottrel, Inc from the Eighth Circuit. The Court held that unanimity of consent to removal existed even though one of the attorneys who consented was not licensed to practice law in the state from whose court the case was removed.--Counseller
January 28, 2008
WSJ: Don't Use Work E-mail to Discuss your Case
Today's WSJ.com contains an article that begins:
Allright, Civil Procedure students, today’s hypothetical: Plaintiff preparing to bring a lawsuit against his employer corresponds with his lawyer through his work email account. Defendant employer discovers the emails after litigation is filed, and forwards the messages to its in-house counsel. May the litigant rely on attorney-client privilege to keep the emails out of evidence?
Click here for the full article. --RR