New England Legal Foundation Opposes Massachusetts Court’s Exercising of “Personal Jurisdiction” Over Non-Resident Auto Manufacturer in Product Liability Claim by Non-Resident Who Purchased a Car in New Hampshire and was Injured in a New Hampshire Auto Incident
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1-19-2023
CONTACT: Burt Peretsky, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 781-696-5579
BOSTON – The New England Legal Foundation (NELF – www.newenglandlegal.org) has filed an amicus brief in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in Doucet et al. v. FCA US LLC, opposing a Massachusetts court’s exercising of “personal jurisdiction” over a nonresident auto manufacturer with the respect to the product liability claims of the plaintiff, a resident of New Hampshire who purchased a used Chrysler car in New Hampshire and subsequently suffered an injury in New Hampshire resulting from an auto accident in New Hampshire.
The NELF amicus brief written by Senior Staff Attorney Ben Robbins says: “The central question in this case is whether a court of the Commonwealth can exercise personal jurisdiction” in such a case, and “the short answer is no, because this fact pattern connects the plaintiff’s claims with his state of residence, in this case New Hampshire, and not with the forum state of Massachusetts.”
In particular, Robbins explains, “The fact pattern of this case fails the test for exercising personal jurisdiction over a nonresident business under both the Massachusetts Long-Arm Statute (G. L. c. 223, s. 3(a)), and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution (as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court). This is because the plaintiff’s claims do not arise from or relate to the auto manufacturer’s Massachusetts connections, whatever they may be. All of the key alleged facts of the plaintiff’s claims occurred in New Hampshire, not in Massachusetts.”
NELF President Dan Winslow added, “Businesses face a wide array of impediments to success in the marketplace. The last thing we need in our economy is judicial jurisdictional mission creep that opens another front against free enterprise and jobs.”
About the New England Legal Foundation
The New England Legal Foundation (NELF – www.newenglandlegal.org) is the leading non-profit public interest law firm in the region dedicated to addressing policy and constitutional concerns related to economic freedom. NELF’s ongoing mission is to champion free enterprise, property rights, limited government based on rule of law, and inclusive economic growth. NELF challenges actions by governments and special interests which would unreasonably intrude on the economic freedoms of individuals and business enterprises in New England and the nation. We believe that free enterprise is a foundational value of a democratic society and the best opportunity for people to lift themselves to prosperity.