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Burdick v. Superior Court - 233 Cal. App. 4th 8, 183 Cal. Rptr. 3d 1 (2015)

Rule:

When a defendant moves to quash service of process on jurisdictional grounds, the plaintiff has the initial burden of demonstrating facts justifying the exercise of jurisdiction. Once facts showing minimum contacts with the forum state are established, however, it becomes the defendant's burden to demonstrate that the exercise of jurisdiction would be unreasonable. The plaintiff must present facts demonstrating that the conduct of defendants related to the pleaded causes is such as to constitute constitutionally cognizable minimum contacts.

Facts:

Plaintiffs sued defendant Douglas Burdick, an Illinois resident, for defamation and other intentional torts, based on an allegedly defamatory posting made by Burdick on his personal Facebook page while he was in Illinois. Respondent court denied Burdick's motion to quash service of summons for lack of personal jurisdiction, and Burdick has challenged that ruling by petition for writ of mandate or prohibition.

Issue:

Is a nonresident defendant in a defamation suit subject to personal jurisdiction in California for posting allegedly defamatory statements about the plaintiff on his Facebook page while he was in his residence?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The appellate court granted nonresident defendant’s writ petition and held that California residents who alleged that a nonresident had defamed them by way of Internet social media posting failed to meet their burden of demonstrating facts justifying the exercise of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Code Civ. Proc., § 410.10, because the nonresident's knowledge that the allegedly defamatory posting might harm people in California did not satisfy the minimum contacts requirement under the effects test, absent evidence that the posting had a California audience and had been expressly aimed or intentionally targeted at California.

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