Earlier this month, I was a panelist on a webinar on Personal Jurisdiction From E-Communications: Social Media, Email, IM and Cloud Computing along with Mark McGrath of Sheppard Mullin.

Our panel focused on the evolving landscape of personal jurisdiction in the online world starting with the advent of the internet to leading up to the world of cloud computing.

We started with a discussion of how the Supreme Court’s core decisions still provide useful guideposts for this fact-intensive inquiry, even as the cases shift from the physical to the digital world. The discussion started with International Shoe, which was heralded as a watershed decision in its day in 1945, decided at the dawn of interstate commerce with individuals and goods traveling farther and faster than ever before, leaving a trail of disputes in their wake. From there, we took the audience on a brief tour of Worldwide Volkswagen, Asahi, McGee International, Calder v. Jones, and Burger King – all of which still affect the ways litigants frame their position and way the courts analyze the issue in terms of minimum contacts, foreseeability, and purposeful availment (among others). Continue Reading Reflection on Personal Jurisdiction in E-Communications

The Second Circuit’s decision in MacDermid, Inc. v. Deiter, No. 11-5388-cv (2d Cir., Dec. 26, 2012), highlights the fact that where an email goes can be as important as what it says. The court found that an employee’s knowing transmission of an email via a computer server located in Connecticut was a sufficient basis for a Connecticut court to exercise personal jurisdiction over that employee under the state’s long-arm statute. The decision suggests this is true regardless of the lack of other contacts with the forum state. The court’s analysis raises serious considerations in a world where data storage in the “cloud” is becoming increasingly common for individuals and businesses. Individuals transmitting electronic communications via servers located in far-away states—such as through Gmail®, Twitter®, FaceBook®, Yahoo®, wireless providers, and employer networks—could find themselves subject to personal jurisdiction in those states depending upon their respective long-arm statutes. The court did not have occasion to address whether the same principle would apply to a corporate defendant, but the court’s analysis suggests that companies with network or “cloud” servers located in states with which those companies otherwise have no significant contacts could find themselves subject to the jurisdiction of courts in those states. Continue Reading Cloud Computing, Social Media, and Other Internet-Based Data Transmissions Could Give Rise to Personal Jurisdiction in Distant Forums