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MISSOURI LAW DEVELOPMENTS
The City of St. Louis Circuit Court , 22nd Judicial Circuit recently entered an order denying a defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Daimler decision. James Kologenski v. The Adel Wiggins Group, et al., City of St. Louis Cir. Ct. No. 1622-CC00427 (Div. 29; September 6. 2016) ( Order.pdf). The circuit court ruled that the defendant, Genuine Parts Company (GPC), had not only a certificate of authority to transact business from the Missouri Secretary of State, but also owned real property including retail automotive parts stores in Missouri, had employees there and maintained a registered agent for service of process in Missouri. The court held that even though GPC had significant contacts and operations in the state, it had consented to jurisdiction in Missouri by maintaining a registered agent to accept service of process in that state.
This decision appears to go against the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling which clearly stated that the appropriate inquiry is whether a foreign corporation’s affiliations with the state are so ‘continuous and systematic’ as to render [it] essentially at home in the forum state.” (Citing Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915 (2011). The Court even clarified that “As International Shoe itself teaches, a corporation’s “continuous activity of some sorts within a state is not enough to support the demand that the corporation be amenable to suits unrelated to that activity.” International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 318 (1945). The Court stated that “Plaintiffs would have us look beyond the exemplar bases Goodyear identified, and approve the exercise of general jurisdiction in every State in which a corporation ‘engages in a substantial, continuous and systematic course of business.’ (citations omitted). That formulation, we hold, is unacceptably grasping.” Whether that decision will ultimately be appealed remains to be seen.