Emory International Law Review


Peter Hay


In June 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court continued its revision of personal jurisdiction law, in this case by refining, thereby perhaps expanding, the law of when a court may exercise general personal jurisdiction – that is, jurisdiction over all claims – over a non-resident person or an out-of-state enterprise. In Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., it held in a 4+1:4 decision that, when a state requires a non-resident company to register to do business in the state and such registration constitutes consent to jurisdiction over all claims against it, such exercise is permitted. In reaching its conclusion, the Court applied a more than a century old (1917) precedent. The plurality of four Justices also compared the exercise of such jurisdiction to “tag jurisdiction” (general jurisdiction over persons present in the state at the time of service) and did not consider the Court’s much more recent cases on specific (claim-related) jurisdiction to be in contrast with (i.e., to overrule) the 1917 decision. The dissent disagreed and, in light of the majority’s new revision, considered specific jurisdiction now significantly deleted. Indeed, it does seem that the distinction between general and specific jurisdiction continues to become considerably blurred.