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Missouri Supreme Court Scales Back on Litigation Tourism

On Feb. 28, 2017, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a significant ruling reducing litigation tourism in Missouri related to products liability lawsuits.

The Court held in a railway accident case, State ex rel. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, No SC95514 (MO. Feb. 28, 2017) that “[t]he plain language of Missouri’s registration statutes does not mention consent to personal jurisdiction for unrelated claims, nor does it purport to provide an independent basis for jurisdiction over foreign corporations that register [to do business] in Missouri.” Id. at *17.

More simply put: the decision will limit Missouri courts’ jurisdiction over foreign corporations that do business in the state, unless Missouri is their primary place of business. The Supreme Court relied on the 2014 decision of the United States Supreme Court in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014), and found that unless a foreign corporation is “essentially at home” in Missouri, merely having a presence in the state will no longer afford jurisdiction over corporations that are neither incorporated nor have their principal place of business in Missouri. Id. at 6-7, 9.

The Court noted that the exception to this rule may occur when a foreign corporation’s “contacts with Missouri are so extensive and all-encompassing that Missouri, in effect, becomes another home state.” Id.at *2

This decision is favorable for defendants who have previously had to litigate cases in venues chosen by plaintiffs, with no connection to where the case was filed or the facts of the case.

© Copyright 2022 Armstrong Teasdale LLP. All rights reserved National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 65
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About this Author

Julie Fix Meyer, litigator
Of Counsel

Julie Fix Meyer is a member of the firm’s Litigation practice group working primarily on matters alleging personal or catastrophic injury and wrongful death. For large companies, manufacturers, utilities and their insureds, she handles alleged claims of physical harm due to asbestos exposure.

Committed to effective case management, Julie is well-versed in all phases of discovery, trial preparation and negotiation of settlements with opposing counsel. She has an extensive background in federal trial procedure and practice.

 

314.342.8034
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