United States Supreme Court to Weigh in on Consent-by-Registration Theory of Personal Jurisdiction
On April 25, 2022, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the plaintiff’s appeal in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, 266 A.3d 542 (Pa. 2021), in which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the increasingly contentious “consent-by-registration” theory of personal jurisdiction. The theory deems corporate defendants to have consented to general personal jurisdiction (also known as “all-purpose” jurisdiction) in a forum based solely on its registration to conduct business there. As we reported in our February 2022 article—Mitigating Risks of Consent-by-Registration Personal Jurisdiction—four state high courts recently weighed in on the constitutionality of this theory, with one endorsing the theory and three rejecting it. The United States Supreme Court will now have the opportunity to resolve this “broad and entrenched split among both state and federal courts on this fundamental and recurring question of federal constitutional law,” as the Mallory certiorari petition describes it, in the October 2022 Term.