Justices' Ford Ruling Leaves Specific Jurisdiction Murky

March 31, 2021

New York Associate Christine Shang authored an article for Law360 examining the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in two consolidated Ford Motor product liability cases — Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court et al. and Ford Motor Co. v. Adam Bandemer — as many practitioners have waited to see whether the court would provide a precise test for when a product defendant's forum contacts can lead to the exercise of specific jurisdiction in the modern age. Shang writes that in the March 25 opinion, the Court declined to include a precise test, which leaves lower courts without a clear standard and is an anticlimactic outcome for those who had hoped for clarity.

Shang clarified, “The majority expressly cautioned against the broader application of its decision to other factual scenarios. ‘None of this is to say that any person using any means to sell any good in a State is subject to jurisdiction there if the product malfunctions after arrival,’ the court explained, for its decisions have ‘long treated isolated or sporadic transactions differently from continuous ones.’”

To read the full article, click here.