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Before the activities of a foreign corporation can create a physical presence within Montana, those activities must be substantial, continuous, and systematic as opposed to isolated, casual, or incidental. The activities must comprise a significant component of the company's business, although the percentage as related to total business may be small.
This case is certified from U.S. District Court, the District of Montana, Missoula Division. Reed, a passenger, had filed a diversity action based upon the alleged negligence of American Airlines, Inc., in the handling and subsequent loss of Reed’s luggage in New York City. In that complaint, Reed affirmatively alleged that American Airlines was "found within Montana". American Airlines filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for the reason that the United States District Court lacked personal jurisdiction over American Airlines. The certification followed.
Could American Airlines be found in Montana for personal jurisdiction?
The court found that American Airlines solicited business in Montana by listings in telephone directories, by television advertising, and by furnishing material to Montana travel agents. Moreover, American Airlines occasionally sent personnel to Montana to train travel agents. There was no contention that traditional concepts of due process were offended by the assertion of jurisdiction in Montana. Therefore, the court determined American Airlines’ activities were so substantial, continuous, and systematic that they constituted a physical presence within Montana, such that the airline company could be "found in Montana."