Ins. Corp. of Ir. v. Compagnie Des Bauxites De Guinee

456 U.S. 694, 102 S. Ct. 2099 (1982)

 

RULE:

The requirement that a court have personal jurisdiction flows not from U.S. Const. art. III, but from the Due Process Clause. The personal jurisdiction requirement recognizes and protects an individual liberty interest. It represents a restriction on judicial power not as a matter of sovereignty, but as a matter of individual liberty. Thus, the test for personal jurisdiction requires that the maintenance of the suit not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

FACTS:

Petitioners provided excess business interruption insurance to cover respondent's operations in a foreign country. Respondent allegedly experienced mechanical problems, resulting in a business interruption loss. Respondent brought suit when all of the insurers refused to indemnify respondent. When petitioners failed to produce documents requested by respondent during discovery, the district court assumed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b) that petitioners were subject to in personam jurisdiction due to their business contacts with the state.

ISSUE:

Is it valid for personal jurisdiction to be found when a defendant does not follow court orders?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

When a defendant does not question the court’s jurisdiction over a case, it means it has submitted itself to litigation. However, it was the argument of the insurers that they were not yet bound by the jurisdiction, hence, the disobedience towards court orders. The court affirmed and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that petitioners were subject to personal jurisdiction under the applicable sanction.

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