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The prerequisites for obtaining personal jurisdiction are well established. First, the plaintiff must point to a statute, usually a state's long-arm statute, or rule that authorizes service of process over the defendant. Second, the service of process pursuant to the specified statute or rule must comport with due process. That is, the defendant must have sufficient minimum contacts with the forum such that haling it into court there would not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.
The American purchasers alleged that the foreign manufacturers and distributors conducted an international conspiracy to restrain trade in, and fix prices of, extruded rubber thread in the United States. The foreign manufacturers and distributors moved to dismiss the action on several grounds, including lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.
Should the action be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction?
The Court held 1) that one manufacturer was properly served in the foreign country, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f)(2)(C)(ii) and the Clayton Act, and that the manufacturer had sufficient minimum contacts for personal jurisdiction because it purposely availed itself of the forum by choosing to employ an exclusive distributor for its product in the United States; 2) that it was unclear whether venue was proper in the district, but that the purchasers could show that venue was proper, or the action would be transferred to the proper district; 3) that the complaint contained allegations of communications and meetings from which to infer the existence of a conspiracy and sufficiently detailed the distributors' role in the conspiracy; and 4) that the purchasers alleged sufficient facts to indicate that the manufacturers owned the distributors to avoid the rule barring their claims as indirect purchasers.